back to article Microsoft drives an Edge between Adobe and the web: Flash ads blocked

Microsoft will disable Flash ads by default in new versions of its Edge browser. The Redmond software peddler said the upcoming Anniversary Update to Windows 10 will introduce a switched-on setting that disables some Flash content, requiring users to specifically activate Adobe's plugin. If you have the Windows Insider preview …

  1. Christoph

    I have had Firefox set to require activation for Flash for ... months? Years? A long time anyway.

    1. joed

      It's not like anyone else but MS that installed Flash (and likely Windws 10) for you. Now they are looking for fixes. Morons.

    2. Lee D

      Opera had the option for a decade.

      Sad that it's now just a Chrome-clone.

      I'm so used to click-to-play that I honestly can't use other browsers still.

    3. Jess

      Re: Firefox set to require activation for Flash

      I've gone one better - the plugin isn't installed on Firefox

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And I thought that was ofcom!

      And I thought that was ofcom, preventing me using BTWholesale Speedchecker to see how really slow my Broadband is at peak times.

      Seriously ofcom, why is the outdated BTWholesale Speedchecker still using Adobe Flash FFS.

      On one hand Gov regulators like ofcom expect people to use Antivirus, on the other they allow BT to continue using bug ridden tools such as this for customers to check the network.

      1. illiad

        Re: And I thought that was ofcom!

        problem is, BT just contracts out many things, and does not bother checking 'quality'... :(

        A good range of tools are here... :)

  2. JeffyPoooh

    " in the center of the page will be loaded as usual..."

    Guess where the video ads will be moving.

    Game Theory 101. So predictable...

    1. joed

      Re: " in the center of the page will be loaded as usual..."

      to the Start Menu?

      1. JLV

        Re: " in the center of the page will be loaded as usual..."

        Nah, in Charms, where no one can find them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: " in the center of the page will be loaded as usual..."

          "Do I smell Charms?"

  3. redpawn

    Why change now?

    Was flash secure in the past? Did users ever want random content flashing and moving across the screen?

    1. Tom 79

      Re: Why change now?

      Adobe moved all development offshore way back in 2005. Offshore resources were just maintenance developers. Flash comes from the desktop era where software inefficiencies didn't matter. We are now in the mobile era where software efficiencies do matter. Maintenance developers can't really rewrite a product from the ground up to make it as efficient as required in today's environment. HTML5 filled that niche after Adobe couldn't in 5+ years. You know you're bad when you get beat to the market by a consortium.

      Microsoft is now in the mobile market with the Surface line. Flash is a slow, obsolete relic with little benefit. Microsoft, looking for everything to make their mobile products improve, cut the negative benefit Flash by blocking ads while keeping the little-benefit Flash by trying to predict where the desired content is located on the page.

      Apple went this direction in 2010 with the iPad and the tech media threw a hissy fit.

      1. BitDr

        Apple decision in 2010

        That hissy fit was in 2010 when there was no HTML5 and Flash was everything. Six years later HTML 5 is here and Flash can be superseded with minimal fuss. The cheese has been moved.

        1. illiad

          Re: Apple decision in 2010

          EXCEPT for many 'cheap' web sites... BBC is a strange exception, flash needed on windows, but NOT on apple computers! ???

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Why change now?

      Did users ever want random content flashing and moving across the screen?"


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward




    1. zarvus

      Re: BBC

      What do big black cocks have to do with this?

      1. psyvenrix

        Re: BBC

        Updoot'ed for being a cheeky bugger

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BBC

        The BBC is the British Broadcasting Corporation, though some merkins thought it was the Bums and Boobs Channel as it had more risqué programmes that the US ones.

        As for your comment, are you a merkin?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC

      Aha a downvote, must be a BBC employee!!, took them long enough. ROFL

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: BBC

      Two things really - really - annoy me about the BBC News website:

      1: the "breaking news" pop-up that can't be prevented from popping up at the foot of every tab that happens to be open

      2: the "autoplay next video" feature that can't be permanently disabled


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BBC

        "2: the "autoplay next video" feature that can't be permanently disabled"

        The breaking news doesn't bother me too much but the autoplay is just bizarrely ridiculous. I can't understand why anyone thought it was a great idea, can't see any reason for it at all.

        It's not as though they have advertising on the BBC News site for their key market so forcing extra videos down people's throats is unlikely to be to do with ad revenue. And just the premise that after watching one news video (news: etymology new things) you are likely to want to watch another news video which may not be news but olds.

        It doesn't remember your autoplay:off setting. I can't believe any user of their site likes the autoplay feature.

        1. Boothy

          Re: BBC

          I gave up using the BBC News web site some time ago.

          I still read the BBC news, I just use the Phone/Tablet app instead, a far nicer interface than the web site.

    4. illiad

      Re: BBC

      BBC is ok on ipad etc, no flash... but not windows! >:(

  5. jamesb2147

    Reg's a changin'

    The ads, that is. For five years or so, I've used a Flash-blocking plugin in Chrome as a poor man's ad blocker. It's served me well enough. I don't actually desire to deprive my news sites of revenue, I just hate the distracting and patently ridiculous nature of autoplay ads with fucking sound (yes, I've now noticed your product, now FUCK OFF!!! -- IBM used to be great for these).

    That all changed yesterday when El Reg started having HTML5 animated ads that were super annoying. I've now joined the horde of angry AdBlock+ users. Thanks, El Reg!

    1. Gerhard Mack

      Re: Reg's a changin'

      I use the "Disable HTML5 autoplay" Chrome plugin. It blocks things from annoying me until I either click on whatever it is that wants to run or whitelist the site.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Reg's a changin'

      Er, as an experiment, I completely unblocked El Reg since April Fool's. I haven't noticed ANY animated ads at all, as I planned to complain to the staff about them.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best budds

    I assumed that Microsoft and Adobe (being what they are) would be real tight when it comes to this kind of thing. Isn't that why MS has not taken this step before? What changed?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Best budds

      What changed? Probably the money. Can Flash be removed from Win10?

      1. joed

        Re: Best budds

        Nope. Neither can be Edge.

        I'll have to now check if LTSB was missing not only Edge but Flash (besides Cortana and all the Windows Store crapware). This looks like the only usable version of 10 (though some telemetry and privacy settings still required manual tweaks).

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Best budds

          Edge can most certainly be removed from windows 10. I have two builds being tested for the network, one with edge and one without. W10 LTSB doesnt auto incremental update either.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Memory and Procesor Use

    "Microsoft noted that the change will help conserve memory and processor use by disabling the auto-run features some pages use for Flash ads."

    If they actually cared about system resource use, they would not have bundled the invasive unwanted service which is Cortana.

    1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      If [Microsoft] actually cared about system resource use...

      ... they would ship Linux instead of the pile of poo called Windows.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If [Microsoft] actually cared about system resource use...

        Go away. We're talking to girls.

    2. joed

      Re: Memory and Procesor Use

      Set your country to %place MS didn't care for% or install LTSB (activation prompts at login are too easy to ignore) and be done with Cortana.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Memory and Procesor Use

        Take control and rename microsoftedge.exe and microsoftedgecp.exe to stop them working. You'll find them in the systemapps folder.

    3. Down not across

      Re: Memory and Procesor Use

      If they actually cared about system resource use, they would not have bundled the invasive unwanted service which is Cortana.

      But then they'd lose all that juicy data.

      For what its worth Cortana does appear to require you to sign in with MS account. So it seems like easiest way to stop Cortana from running is to not bother with MS account.

    4. Mr Dogshit

      Re: Memory and Procesor Use

      My dad had a Ford Cortana.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Memory and Procesor Use

        Funky ford cortina

  8. John Sanders

    They had their opportunity...

    Both Adobe and Macromedia.

    I they had published flash as an open source player, they would own the interwebs.

    But alas they were short-sighted, like many other (Blackberry comes to mind not releasing an Android phone 2 years earlier) they tried to choose fast and painless at an ATM but what they got instead was a suicide booth's "Slow and painful".

    Microsoft is telling them: "You're dead, have a nice day"

  9. Ole Juul


    Flash has caused so much grief for so many people. It is clear that sites that make heavy use of it have a lot to answer for.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: irresponsible

      "Flash has caused so much grief for so many people. It is clear that sites that make heavy use of it have a lot to answer for."

      Yes, especially considering that people with phones and certain kinds of intarweb service PAY FOR BANDWIDTH OVERAGES one way or another (either speed throttling, or extra $ paid to telco) so those IRRITATING ADVERTISEMENTS are AS BAD AS E-MAIL SPAM, as if your weekly advertisement dead-tree junkmail was ALL! SENT! WITH! POSTAGE! DUE!!!

      So Microsoft "grew a clue" today. Good. Job. <slow clap>

      (if advertisers could do it, they'd reach out of our monitors and rub our noses in the ads)

      1. Code For Broke

        Re: irresponsible

        @bombastic bob: Downvote for the Tourette's-emulating use of caps. We apparently should expect no less, based on your handle, but they have medicine now for your condition.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: irresponsible

          Flash rarely worked on most mobiles anyway.

  10. Dean Clemmons

    If only

    If only they would also disable the glut of annoying, distracting and nearly hateful animated GIFs that seem to clog the Internet I might actually use it...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: If only

      You didn't tick the "play once and be done with it" option?

    2. illiad

      Re: If only

      try this!

  11. Innocent-Bystander*

    Security at Last!

    This should make the global user base of Edge very happy.

    All three of them.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So all this time Steve Jobs was right

    Remember the wailing and outrage when Steve Jobs announced Flash was evil and would never be on the iPhone all those years ago?

    1. Youngdog

      Re: So all this time Steve Jobs was right

      I don't remember anything of the sort. Even with all his faults and the mess Apple is heading towards I, and a great many others, knew he was bang on the money and grateful for it!

  13. regadpellagru

    this is telling

    "Microsoft will disable Flash ads by default in new versions of its Edge browser."

    Geez, MS in 2016 disabling ads because of Flash ... The situation of Flash seems largely beyond fixable !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: this is telling

      Remove Flash from Premises!

  14. davcefai

    So Bill Gates has caved in to Trump. MS have "switched off part of the Internet"!

    (Joke Icon if it were available, which it is not)

    1. Mephistro
  15. illiad

    TL DR.... I have heard that BBC has got a BETA HTML5 addon... so something is happening!!! :)

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Flash ads haven't foisted themselves onto my Mac for over a year, since I completely uninstalled Flash on all my browsers. And neither have any other ads, thanks to Adblock Plus and Ghostery.

  17. I Like Heckling Silver badge

    But when......

    It's nice that MS are doing something about annoying autoloading crap that no one wants.

    But when are they going to apply that to their Windows 10 malware crap?

  18. IGnatius T Foobar

    Microsoft FAIL

    As if anyone is really using the bastard-stepchild-of-IE known as Edge. This change affects almost no one ... unless Mozilla and Google had been using Flash on their browser download pages, no one will ever know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft FAIL

      "As if anyone is really using the bastard-stepchild-of-IE known as Edge. "

      75% of the 275+ million Windows 10 users do apparently...

  19. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    So many phones and tablets don't support flash, our if they do you have to make the choice to install it anyway. As such are flash ads really that much of an issue any more?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Under the stare of the cleaner's Ray Bans

      "No longer an issue"


  20. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    we're introducing a change to give users more control over ...

    ...the power and resources consumed by our attempts to force Windows 10 down people's throats.

    Could this be their next press release?

  21. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Procter & Gamble

    Are they OK about their adverts being blocked?

  22. Christian Berger

    Good, but the next head has already grown

    It's good to see that Microsoft finally tries to slay the dragon's head that's Flash, however it's ugly replacement heads have already grown in the form of miss used Javascript.

    We already have lots of web sites that require _megabytes_ of Javascript to run just to display a quasi-static page.

    The problem is that, during the browser wars days, there was the idiotic idea that you should be able to design a web page, just like you could design what is on a piece of paper. This has lead to thousands of features which allow you to specify how a page should look like instead of just specifying your content and letting the browser decide. Today with different screen sizes this adds the added complexity of designers having to "respond" to different screen sizes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good, but the next head has already grown

      Most web developers (or at least the tools they use) seem to create pages to fit an A4 size tablet screen in portrait mode, rather than the more usual wide screen in landscape.

      And it's not like this is new, with the advent of tablets, this was being done years before mobile browsing was a thing!

      This portrait design, often results in underutilised bands down the side of the pages, and then forcing people to scroll down to see the bottom half of the article, when the whole thing could likely have fitted on to one screen, if they'd have used the width better (i.e. dynamically like web pages should do).

      It's as if people are using MS Word or Publisher to create their web sites!

      I often read the Reg via it's mobile site, even on a desktop, as it makes better use of the screen, has less clutter, and usually has the longer articles as a single page, whereas the desktop site splits these up into multiple pages for some reason?!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice bit of camouflage..

    In a move that resembles Google's push for encryption, Microsoft's blocking of Flash is mere distraction. It's like banning fat people from the higher part of the tower of Pisa; it does nothing to address the fundamental security problems this platform has to cope with*.

    Worse, as they will soon have people on subscription, the last incentive disappears to ever fix it.

    Too little, too late, too futile.

    (*) Traditionalists can use the deckchairs & Titanic analogy.

  24. Dieter Haussmann

    I am tired of Flash aren't you?

    We are living in the first year of the post-Flash era - doesn't it feel great I know I feel great.

    We need to kick out Flash and make the internet great again.

    Users are calling me up all the time and do you know what they are saying? they are saying thank you for uninstalling Flash from my computer it runs great now.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Edge disables Flash

    It's always amusing when Microsoft anounces something that's been around for ages as if it was some brand new innovation only coming out of Redmond, in this case flash blocking.

    "One of our top priorities in building Edge has been that the web should be a dependably safe, performant, and reliable place for our customers"

    The web isn't the problem, it's the innovative desktop on the other end that isn't.

    "To that end, we're introducing a change to give users more control over the power and resources consumed by Flash"

    Thank you Microsoft for allowing me to switch off flash videos on my computer.

  26. Flashfox

    The problem is that there still are a very large number of sites that require FLASH. So turning off Flash is fine (did this) but you then realize that you are locked out of many sites. So either turn on FLASH or move elsewhere... but if it's a site you need to access,what are your choices?

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something we should really thank iOS/Android for, the demise of Flash.

    If it wasn't for the vast array of iOS/Android devices coming to market, Flash would probably be a lot more prevalent today than it is. The BBC were slow to catch on what a wretched platform it is, proving content providers are still king over technical common sense.

    Steve Jobs rightly called this one, long before it Bill Gates / Ballmer ever did, at the time it appeared somewhat protectionist, but time has come to show it was a rational, calculated decision by him. It was a good call by Jobs, whether you like Apple or not.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flash still being taught!

    My GF is currently doing a two year networking and cyber security course at the local college.

    They throw a few other bits into the course, like specing up a server, and also include a few lessons on computer animation.

    They use Adobe Flash to teach this part of the course!

    Whoever sets the curriculum, needs taking out back and putting out of their misery, along with Flash.

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