Microsoft Backtracks on Disabling Adobe Flash

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has changed its mind about phasing out support for Adobe Flash, which is used to help web browsers view multimedia. Both Internet Explorer and the current edition of Edge browsers will continue to support the technology by default until the end of 2020, in contrast to other browsers.

Adobe says it's ditching Flash at the end of next year, largely because it's become redundant with website designers now preferring to create multimedia and interactive elements in HTML 5, rather than with Flash. HTML 5 works in modern browsers without the need for plug-ins like Flash.

Chrome and Firefox Disable Flash

Google's Chrome has already switched off Flash by default and now requires users to actively confirm every time they want to run Flash on a page. Mozilla's Firefox will do the same in an update due out this month. In both cases, the change is largely driven by security concerns, with Flash a regular major offender on lists of commonly exploited bugs.

Microsoft had said it would follow suit with both its browsers, Internet Explorer and Edge, which would have taken effect about the same time. It's now decided it will only make the change in an upcoming new version of Edge, which is based on the same code that powers Chrome. (Source:

It's confirmed that the "current experience will continue as-is through 2019," but hinted there will be no changes next year either, stating that: "Specifically, we no longer intend to update either Microsoft Edge (built on EdgeHTML) or Internet Explorer 11 to disable Flash by default." (Source:

Older Browsers On Way Out

Exactly why Microsoft has made the change isn't entirely clear. One possibility is that it wants to completely downplay these older browsers in favor of the new edition of Edge. That might mean it plans on making as few changes and updates to them as possible, effectively letting them die out.

There's also an argument that Microsoft is being irresponsible as a result of its decision, as continuing to support Flash by default gives web site creators an incentive to continue using the technology, rather than ditch it right now. However, with Internet Explorer and Edge each estimated as being only used by around five percent of all web users, it probably won't make much difference.

What's Your Opinion?

Is Microsoft right to keep enabling Flash by default on these browsers? Do you notice how often you use sites with Flash? Is there a chicken-and-egg situation with browsers and web site creators phasing out the technology?

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n7mpj's picture

I do a lot of online gaming which requires flash, ie....Stormfall: Age of War(Plarium) and Farmville2(Zynga). I have to do the "enable flash" trick every time I log into my games and it is frustrating to no end that new programming has to disable older programming.

I had to buy an official disk for "Bejeweled Twist" because Microsoft decided that my graphics card on both computers were too old. They crashed one computer and I am currently using my laptop which hasn't been crashed by Microsoft, YET. Older games are trashed because of Microsoft. I have a back up computer I can set up but I want to see if my new graphics card and Windows 10 restore software will revive the desktop computer that crashed. Fingers crossed, all of my computer repair has been self taught since 2002.