Flash haters, rejoice! Microsoft releases tool to let you nuke Adobe's security horror before support ends

Why not get in early before official 31 December demise?


If you'd like to exact righteous vengeance on Adobe's Flash, Microsoft has given us all a tool to expunge the software from Windows ahead of time, to some degree.

Adobe announced the death of Flash in July 2017 after admitting the software had been overtaken by open standards. Left unsaid was that apps implementing those open standards were not sources of endless bugs and security risks, unlike Flash, which for years was leakier than the Trump White House and only marginally less dangerous.

End of support for the rightly reviled software happens on 31 December 2020. Major browser makers have all announced that their wares will stop running the Flash plugin the same day.

Existing Flash Player installs on an operating system will, however, continue to work. And there's every chance miscreants have a zero day or two up their sleeves to use once support ends.

Enter Microsoft with an advisory advertising the existence of a Flash-removal update for Windows. This will banish the player that's baked into Windows from your computer; you will still have to remove any extensions and standalone players by hand and/or wait for your browser to disown them.

Microsoft also warns: "After this update has been applied, this update cannot be uninstalled."

"We are releasing this removal update in advance of end of support to help customers test and validate their environments for any impact that might occur by the removal of Adobe Flash Player," Microsoft said, adding: "If another security update for Adobe Flash Player is released, customers who take this removal update will still be offered the security update."

Flash will, however, survive a rollback to a Windows restore point. The update is available here in versions that work on Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows Server releases from 2012, 2016, and 2019. ®

Editor's note: This article was revised after publication to clarify the extent to which the removal tool works.


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