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Microsoft drives an Edge between Adobe and the web: Flash ads blocked

Annoying stuff paused by default in upcoming version

Microsoft will disable Flash ads by default in new versions of its Edge browser.

The Redmond software peddler said the upcoming Anniversary Update to Windows 10 will introduce a switched-on setting that disables some Flash content, requiring users to specifically activate Adobe's plugin. If you have the Windows Insider preview build 14316, then you already have the feature.

"One of our top priorities in building Edge has been that the web should be a dependably safe, performant, and reliable place for our customers," Microsoft said in announcing the feature.

"To that end, we're introducing a change to give users more control over the power and resources consumed by Flash."

With the new setting, Flash-based ads and animations in the browser window will not load by default. Things like video in the center of the page will be loaded as usual, but peripheral stuff will be frozen by default.

Microsoft noted that the change will help conserve memory and processor use by disabling the auto-run features some pages use for Flash ads. It will also help improve security by disabling malicious ads that exploit combinations of Flash and JavaScript vulnerabilities to inject malware into PCs.

That should, in turn, help to reduce the popularity of Flash as a target for "drive-by" exploits and malware downloads, at least amongst newer Windows systems that have switched over to Edge from Internet Explorer.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is urging developers and publishers to move away from Flash and towards HTML5 for rich web content. Google is also trying to hoof people off Flash ads.

"This transition to modern web standards has benefited users and developers alike," Microsoft said. "Users experience improved battery life when sites use efficient web standards, lowering both memory and CPU demands."

As always, make sure you have the most recent Edge security patches installed to keep ahead of exploits targeting Microsoft's browser. ®

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