Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Turn Off Adobe Flash

About a year ago I disabled Adobe Flash on my browser.  At the time I was having problems with the product, it was causing my browser to lock-up, so in frustration I just turned it off.  To my surprise I started enjoying my internet experience a little more.   

The first thing I noticed was how many ads disappeared.  Any ad requiring flash was now displayed as a black rectangle.  The constant barrage of internet advertising became a little less annoying.  Also, by eliminating the need to load bulky flash modules, some web pages displayed faster.  But what I was really hoping to achieve did happen, my browser became more stable, it locked-up less frequently and just ran more smoothly. One additional factor that I had not considered was that by disabling Flash my PC became less vulnerable to Flash-based malware attacks.

Some people might ask, don’t you miss the flashy graphics and videos.  No, I do not.  Most animation is so poorly designed it is more annoying than interesting. I can still play the videos if I want to, but now it is my choice to make.

Most browsers have a setting to deactivate Flash, that still allows you the option to activate it in specific situations.   

On Firefox this option is called “Ask to Activate”.   “Ask to Activate” deactivates Flash, but allows you to turn on Flash for specific pages and your browser will remember to use Flash on these pages or you can turn Flash on for a page just for that one time.   Click TOOLS > ADD ONS > PLUGINS: Set Shockwave Flash to “Ask to Activate”.  Now whenever Firefox displays a page containing Flash a prompt will appear asking if you want to activate Flash.

For Internet Explorer the best way to turn off Flash is by turning on ActiveX Filtering. Since Flash uses ActiveX this allows you to control when Flash is invoked.   In the upper right corner of your browser click the gear icon > SAFETY > FILTERING ACTIVEX.   Now you'll see a circle with a line though it in the address field of your browser.  Just click this circle if you want to activate Flash on any web page.

Native Chrome does not provide the fine level of control over Flash like Firefox and IE.  The best way to control Flash on Chrome is by using an extension like FlashControl. The extensions are usually free from the Chrome Webstore.

Flash is not a bad product, but now you have the choice of when to use it.   Best of luck...

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