Thursday, September 06, 2012

Should I remove Adobe Flash from my computer

Yesterday I attended a client. They were concerned their screen had changed and perhaps they had done something wrong. They were notified of an update for Flash which they installed. The problem is the update also installed Google’s toolbar which they didn’t expect.

I consider the packaging of software from other companies such as Adobe does with Google products to be a mistake by Adobe. All you need to do is to start confusing users and people will ask, “do I really need this software on my computer?”, which is the question I am now faced with. At that point Adobe starts to lose customers and that is a bad business decision.

I checked my logs for one of my sites (which is mostly Australian users) and based on the statistics, around 18% of people access my site don’t have Flash installed. With Apple’s anti-Flash stance, mobile devices and tablets now generally don’t support Flash.

Until now I would have said keep Flash installed. However this week installing the Flash update myself I found by default the Flash update would have installed Google Chrome. If you don’t want to install Google Chrome you need to take action to deselect the option and a lot of people don’t read the additional information on the screen. A day later a client is confused as a result of the Flash update installing other software. People shouldn’t be confused as a result of an update. In some cases because of the confusion the update is costing people real money because they require support. Support to remove software they didn’t want or need.

In the near future I suspect people will start to remove Flash by default. That way there will be one less update they get prompted for and an update which is now updating their system with unwanted software. I’m going to remove Flash from my system for use with Internet Explorer and see what the impact is. You remove the software via Control Panel. There is often two versions of Flash installed. Adobe Flash Player Plugin and Adobe Flash Player ActiveX. The ActiveX version is for Internet Explorer. The Plugin version is for other browsers.

Remove the ActiveX version and Flash will be removed from Internet Explorer. As a backup you may wish to have a second browser installed (for example Opera) just in case you wish to view pages that require Flash.

If you find you can’t live without Flash, then you can go to the Adobe site and reinstall Flash.


If you go to a page which requires Flash you’ll get prompted to install Flash. So you don’t keep getting nagged every time you visit a page you can select additional options and select the option “Never install software from Adobe Systems Incorporate”.

Longer term however it would appear Flash will have a limited life. The problem is people now regularly use both mobile and desktop versions of browsers. Mobile use is increasing and mobile devices don’t generally support Flash. Adobe have stated they won’t be support mobile versions of Flash. A business with Flash on their web site means already over 18% of potential Australian users can’t use their site as designed and this number is increasing.

If you have a site designed using Flash, then you may wish to consider redesigning the site to remove Flash. Not catering for 18% of potential users is a bad business decision and this number is only going to grow. Tourism sites in particular should move quickly. I’ve already been impacted by tourism sites and when mobile if you can’t access a business’ site, you’ll pick another business to use.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you require computer support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

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