back to article Flash haters, rejoice! Microsoft releases tool to let you nuke Adobe's security horror before support ends

If you'd like to exact righteous vengeance on Adobe's Flash, Microsoft has given us all a tool to expunge the software from Windows ahead of time, to some degree. Adobe announced the death of Flash in July 2017 after admitting the software had been overtaken by open standards. Left unsaid was that apps implementing those open …

  1. Maelstorm Bronze badge

    SWF for Single White Female?

    It almost sounds like a ploy on a dating site. In all seriousness though, it stands to reason that something will break. It always does. The question is can one live without the program that broke? Developers have had 3 years to update their code to a different environment. The plus side is no more flash based security bugs and cookies to track you everywhere you go. On the down side, people's flash based porn collection will go into the bit bucket. And with that, I'll grab my coat and exit, stage right.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: SWF for Single White Female?

      I've been actively avoiding the thing since it was called ShockWave Flash. It's not all Adobe's fault, but they must shoulder the burden of perpetuating the abomination.

      Developers have had far more than 3 years to escape the flash ecosystem. Personally the last flash creation I made was around 20 years ago. Back then it was pretty much the only way to include video on a webpage.

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: SWF for Single White Female?

      For them and all of the great flash games from the past.... I have a stand-alone flash player.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SWF for Single White Female?

      > it stands to reason that something will break. It always does

      At my current gig, that'll be all the mandatory training - those training systems just love flash. What's worse is it's all from a 3rd party and externally hosted. No security issues there.

      > The question is can one live without the program that broke?

      No more mindless refresher courses on anti money laundering? I think I'll survive.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SWF for Single White Female?

      A disk search on *.swf will show files that are probably flash videos - as a confidence check in removing that capability.

  2. haiku

    MS late to the party

    Adobe gave me the option to remove Flash - on my Windows 7 box, conspicuously ignored by Microsoft - last month

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: MS late to the party

      Yep I noticed that on my mom's Windows 7 PC last weekend when I set up a new printer for her, and removed it while I was waiting for the printer software to download.

  3. redpawn Silver badge

    Flash, You'll be Missed

    NOT!!! Nice of Adobe to blame standards compliant software for the failure of code so bad only outlaws and malware riddled porn sites could love.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now for an app that will remove WINDOWS...

    1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge


      FORMAT C: /Y

      1. Ochib

        Re: App

        DISKPART just to be sure

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: App

          DISKPART just to be sure

          Ah yes, the "nuke the entire site from orbit" option...

  5. LDS Silver badge

    "was that those open standards were not sources of endless bugs and security risks"

    No? How many bugs we've see in media libraries, browsers, javascript engines, web frameworks and their plug-ins?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: "was that those open standards were not sources of endless bugs and security risks"

      Expected return is probability multiplied by value.

      What is the expected return from discovering a bug in a media library, browser, JavaScript engine, web framework or plug-in given that all are so numerous that neither of us can be bothered bogging ourselves down in listing them?

      During its imperial phase, what was the expected return from discovering a bug in Adobe Flash, the single failure point propagated across so many platforms and browsers?

  6. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Flash! Bang! Wallop!

    (Courtesy of England's first teen idol and rock'n'roll star, Tommy Steele, Instagram-ready in 1956.)

    All lined up in a wedding group

    'Ere we are for a photograph

    We're all dressed up in a morning suit

    All trying hard not to laugh

    Since the early caveman in his fur

    Took a trip to Gretna Green

    There's always been a photographer

    To record the 'appy scene

    'Old it, flash, bang, wallop, what a picture

  7. LenG

    The curse of flash

    OK, who's the joker?

    I clicked on the link to read the advisory. Then I hit the back button ... again and again and again. Turned out I had 10 backlinks before I reached El Reg.

    The MS article was harder to get rid off than Flash!

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: The curse of flash

      I've noticed that happening more and more, my suspicion is that it's a way to force people to stay on a website, on first loading the page it redirects to itself multiple times, so filling the 'Back' list with the same page. I end up menuing on Back and finding the real previous page from the list.

  8. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    On Windows 7, you didn't have to have Flash installed. Windows 8 was, I think, the same.

    On Windows 10, on the other hand, it came bundled with the system and wouldn't let you remove it*. A strange decision and I really have no idea why they did that. Better late than never, I suppose, but it's Microsoft's habit - never fix a bug until users have been screaming about it for eighteen months.

    * Various workarounds existed, but they usually either broke Windows Update in some way or another, or made it nag you forever, which is more or less the same thing in my book.

  9. steviebuk Silver badge

    All grab those Flash games while you can. Someone has released a MASSIVE torrent of them all in an attempt to preserve their history.

    Back in 2008 we used to play a kerbab van game at work when bored. You had to server people quickly at lunch. Was actually quite good for a short play.

    1. overunder Silver badge

      Yeh, everyone is forgetting that for nearly a decade Flash/Shockwave was all we had for browser games. It's true that Adobe, as always and forever, didn't care about improving security or performance after buying Macromedia. However, even left in that perpetual sluggish state, it was all there was and it did work.

      There's a lot of hate for Flash in its later years but in its early years, it literally had 0% competition and was left on its own as the only easy method of interactive webpages (although the 100% Flash based webpage was always a horrible look). Anyhow, I'm not sure how things would of turned out it Flash hadn't trailblazed all those years. Maybe those who rightfully hate Adobe should still give thanks to Macromedia.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        I guess Adobe bought Flash too early and with insufficient attention to give it the PageMaker treatment — throw out a few maintenance releases and work rapidly on the greenfield replacement. I don't really know how it's doing nowadays but InDesign was a very good thing twenty years ago. Quark certainly didn't see it coming.

        Alas that is the only example I can think of in which Adobe didn't just cling on desperately to an existing codebase.

      2. steviebuk Silver badge

        Fantastic Contraption, the original Flash version is one we played a lot as it was actually good.

  10. Howard Sway

    "After this update has been applied, this update cannot be uninstalled."

    The rock solid, 100% reliability of all previous updates released by Microsoft surely prove that this is a great idea.

    Alternatively they could finally get the message into their concrete skulls that you ALWAYS need a way of rolling back in case of unforseen problems. But I don't think that good technical practices can ever overcome the culture of corporate arrogance within that company.

  11. Sleep deprived

    Does my Win10 laptop have Flash?

    I bought a Win10 Pro laptop this summer and in the Control Panel/Programs, I don't see Flash. And if I did, what would prevent me from removing it? Is a Microsoft tool required for that?

    1. Sleep deprived

      Re: Does my Win10 laptop have Flash?

      I just checked with Adobe's Flash test page and it's not installed.

  12. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Win 10 ver 2004?

    That's what I'm running and it isn't in the list of available updates.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Win 10 ver 2004?

      You need the version for 1903 or later, either x86 (32bit) or x64 (64bit).


    2. Thomas Duffin IV

      Re: Win 10 ver 2004?

      It's on Page 2 of the list

  13. heyrick Silver badge

    Flash is still a thing?

    I must have exorcised that about a decade ago.

  14. naive

    VmWare VCenter users should hurry

    Since most VCenter 6.5 versions rely on Flash to work.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Was the snide anti-Trump aside really necessary? Was it Simon Sharwood or El Reg who decided it was fine to alienate a large section of its readership like that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      "alienate a large section of its readership"

      Lewis Page started it. Or do I mean that Orlowski chap, I forget.

      Speaking of aliens and motherships, where am I going to get my dose of the Radiophonatron now? Help!!

    2. redpawn Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      Large really?

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      That was my thought too. Does ElReg have SUCH a bug up it's bum it has to flog the far-left agenda?

  16. Joe Gurman

    Oh, k3wl

    Now Windows users can be where Mac users were a decade ago.

  17. Ribfeast

    All good unless you have a network switch, SAN, or other device that has ceased vendor firmware support, and requires flash in order to manage the damn thing...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flash! Ahaaaaaaa!

    Infector of the universe....

  19. Ian 55

    It'd be great if they could release the source code and its history

    Then we could see how many times there were things like

    if intvar > maxint then ..


    // if InputOutOfRange() then Reject() ; // removing this made the routine 0.001% faster!

    in the code.

    I always wondered if the authors were responsible for Microsoft's Stacker clone, which wrote to the real disk and then just assumed the write had been successful because that saved a microsecond over actually checking that it had.

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