Turning Flash Off By Default in Microsoft Edge

Adobe’s Flash has been making news lately. Browser vendors have been in the process of purging Flash from the web for nearly a decade now. Flash served a purpose by providing a platform designers could build rich user experiences before HTML, CSS and JavaScript could deliver that same experiences. Today however it is a performance bottleneck and primary attack vector for hackers. I would also state a majority of crashes Internet Explorer experiences are Flash related, not Internet Explorer.

Adobe Flash

Recently Microsoft Edge announced they are disabling Flash by default, but allowing you to turn it on if you like. They go on to offer development alternatives for sites still using Flash:

“We encourage the web community to continue the transition away from Flash and towards open web standards. Standards like Encrypted Media Extensions , Media Source Extensions , Canvas , Web Audio, and RTC offer a rich way to deliver similar experiences with increased performance and security. We will continue to work within the W3C to ensure standards unblock all developers to fully transition away from Flash.”

While browsers are working to reduce the impact Flash has on user experience and security vulnerabilities you can simply turn it off and rid yourself of the issues. Microsoft Edge makes this easy. Edge allows you to disable Flash in Advance Settings.

To open the Advanced Settings you need to first open Settings.

Open Edge's Advanced Settings

Then scroll down to the bottom of the options and locate the Advanced Settings button.

Disable Flash in Edge's Advanced Settings

This opens the Advanced Settings options. The third choice is ‘Use Adobe Flash Player’. Change the selection to ‘Off’.

Now when you visit a site using Flash it will not instantiate the player. Sometimes you will get a warning from the site letting you know:

Your Browser Does Not Support Flash

In this example the site has videos, but does not use the HTML5 Video element, a clear sign the site has many other issues.

Disabling Flash by default is probably a good idea. It improves your browser’s performance, user experience and reduces the amount of CPU load and thus battery drain. But more importantly it shrinks the attack surface hackers have to compromise your computer.

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