Resolving Flash Problems and Memory Leaks

Adobe Flash was for a long time the dominant platform for animation and quick video and audio publishing on the web. The advent of Microsoft Silverlight and similar technologies hasn't changed that much, despite Flash's well known problems: high resource utilization and security holes. The many Flash updates can result in a situation where multiple Flash versions coexist on your system, resulting in security holes and memory leaks. In this article, we are looking at how to identify and resolve such conflicts.

In my case, I noticed that after upgrading to the latest version of Flash, I could no longer open the same number of tabs in Opera (my favourite browser) and the system would become sluggish and unresponsive. Other known symptoms of problems with Flash include:

  • Youtube error message 'Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Macromedia's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player'.
  • “Check the version of Flash Player installed on your PC“
  • Flash Player installation errors

Though there might be other ways to resolve the problem, the easiest is

  1. Adobe Uninstallclose all browsers and anything that might be using Flash (like a software encyclopaedia etc)
  2. forceful uninstall of Adobe Flash using Adobe Flash Uninstaller
  3. reinstall of the latest Flash version (preferably the non-IE version)

Optionally, if you are using only Internet Explorer you may perform the following steps, though it is largely unnecessary:

  1. Start Internet Explorer and from the menu click Tools-Internet Options.
  2. Click the General Tab, followed by the Settings button about half-way down the window on the right.
  3. Click the View Objects button. You should see an option called 'Shockwave Flash Object'.
  4. Right-click on the file and choose Properties.
  5. Click the Version tab.
  6. Go to Adobe's version check (see link below).
  7. Do the two version numbers match and are they the latest version? If yes, you should be OK to view content. If not - or there is still a problem - use the Flash Player uninstall tool (see also below, or the steps outlined above) and try reinstalling the player.

Secunia PSI Insecure ResultsPerhaps the best way to check for other instances of Flash as well as insuring that you are using the latest versions of other programs as well is to download and run Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector (link below). The program will quickly scan your system and show you the programs with security problems, of which 2 tabs will require attention: Insecure (i.e., programs that need to be updated to the latest, more secure version) and End-of-Life (i.e., programs abandoned and no longer maintained with known security holes, usually replaced by other programs). Your results should be similar to the nearby window capture.

Good luck, and quash your bugs! Bug

Sources / More info: secunia-psi, adobe-uninstall-flash, adobe-flash-support, adobe-install-flash, adobe-flash-ie, adobe-flash-ff, fix-flash-install, mozdev-flashplayer-faq, technibble-flash-unistaller, adobe-uninstall-howto,

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