Recently there has been a lot of confusion regarding Adobe Flash. With more of the internet going to HTML5, is it still a required app on all systems? Is it installed in Windows already or is there an add-in for browsers? How do I patch it? To help answer some of these questions, below I breakdown the various Flash components we typically include in desktop deployments, whether or not they are still needed, and why.
First, let’s start with Adobe Flash ActiveX. Historically this was installed so that Windows and IE would have a version of Flash to use for any required content. Starting with Windows 8, however, Microsoft included Flash ActiveX with the operating system, so installing it separately was no longer required. This has continued with Windows 10. Unless a firm is still running Windows 7, deploying Flash ActiveX is no longer required.
Next, let’s discuss the Adobe Flash Player Plug-in, the other commonly deployed Flash component. Historically, this plug-in was used with third party browsers like Firefox and Chrome. Just like Microsoft, Chrome now includes an embedded version of Flash within the browser. Firefox does not. If a firm is deploying Chrome as an alternate browser, there is no need to deploy the Flash Player Plug-in. If a firm is deploying Firefox, however, it still needs to deploy the Flash Player Plug-in. Lastly, if a firm isn’t using an alternate browser, there is no need to deploy the plugin as IE uses the ActiveX component discussed above.
Don’t forget that Chrome needs to be upgraded if there’s a call to patch Flash for security or other reasons. If you need to patch it and your firm does not allow Chrome to auto update, you will need to push out a new version of Chrome, which will come with a newer version of the Flash plugin.
Hopefully this clears up some of the confusion surrounding Adobe Flash on modern desktop deployments. Send us your Adobe Flash questions if you have more or leave a comment below.