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Flash plugin now a windows system plugin?

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lost soul
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Post Posted April 19th, 2007, 5:24 am

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but it seems the latest downloadable mozilla/opera/netscape compatible Flash installer (9r45) no longer puts the Flash plugin in the plugins folder of Firefox or SeaMonkey (or K-Meleon) folders under C:\Program Files, but rather puts it in C:\Windows\System\Macromed\Flash as some kind of Windows-wide global installer. The Flash plugin also now appears under Add/Remove programs, which it never did before unless it was the ActiveX (IE) version. As recently as 9r28, the non-activeX version did not do either.

(9r45 still puts the Flash plugin under the plugins folder under \Program Files\Opera\Program\Plugins, however (using Opera 9.02 here). You can verify this by watching the install window. The install window shows it also going under \Windows\System\Marcomed\Flash, and \Program Files\Opera\Program\Plugins, but not under the plugins folders of any Mozilla browser.)

Unfortunately, what this insidious, weaselly little trick does is globally install Flash on all my gecko based browsers -- Firefox, SeaMonkey, and K-Meleon. I can't uninstall it in one or more of the browsers via the browsers' plugins folder. I like to keep at least one browser around w/o Flash installed (IE doesn't count as a real browser anymore, other than for M$oft updates). I suppose I could disable Flash in one or more browsers, but that doesn't always seem to stick permanently (based on experience w/ Acrobat Reader.)

With the 9r28 installer, it would install to every compatible browsers' plugins folder automatically, but you could fix that by simply removing the 2 .dll files from the plugins folder of the browser you wanted Flash free. (It also did NOT appear in Add/Remove programs.) This was a pain compared to the 7rXX installer, where you could actually select which compatible browser(s) you wanted Flash to install to, but this new Adobe Flash trick is a nasty, micro$oft-like infestation. The 7rXX installer also didn't plant anything in Add/Remove Programs, IIRC.

I suppose what I could do is copy the two .dll files for Flash into the FF, SM, or K-M plugins folder, then remove Flash via Add/Remove Programs (which, btw, doesn't remove Flash from Opera's plugins folder, even though the install program put them there. Anyone know if there are problems with this approach, other than it being a major pain in the backside??

What if I go the route of clicking on the "Get Plugin" from the individual browser window, rather than downloading the installer to run later?? Will that install only in the gecko-based browser I'm using at the moment, i.e., in its plugins folder, not in that [apparently] global \windows\system\macromed folder?? (I couldn't get it to install when I tried it; either there was a long delay from Adobe's site, or having pop-up blocking turned on interfered with it.)

What the hell is Adobe doing? Seems to me Adobe is progressively going backwards from Macromedia's flexibility to the "We don't care. We don't have to. We're [Micro$oft, Adobe]. Do it our way" attitude.

(FYI, in re: the above queries, using W98SE (w/ patches), FF 1.5.11, SM 1.0.8, K-Meleon 1.02, Opera 9.02.)

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Post Posted April 19th, 2007, 6:21 am

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dickvl

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Post Posted April 19th, 2007, 7:55 am

The difference maybe that you used the .xpi installer: http://plugindoc.mozdev.org/windows.html#Flash

That one installs globally and sets a registry key and the normal .exe installer tries to detect the browsers program folder and install it there.

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Post Posted April 19th, 2007, 10:46 am

Alice opened the Flash installer xpi and discovered the install.js file is what's writing to the Windows Registry:
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic ... 71#2175271

Without reading that posting I would be tempted to 'trust' the xpi package over the installer exe to do the least "destructive" installation, but it looks like that isn't the case.


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dickvl

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Post Posted April 19th, 2007, 11:42 am

At least the xpi installer also makes the Flash plugin available for trunk and nightly builds that don't show up in the registry (zip installs).
Every time you install a new version clean then you need to add (install) the Flash plugin if you want to use it.

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Post Posted April 19th, 2007, 3:47 pm

dickvl wrote:At least the xpi installer also makes the Flash plugin available for trunk and nightly builds that don't show up in the registry (zip installs).
Every time you install a new version clean then you need to add (install) the Flash plugin if you want to use it.

There is something to be said for backing up one's plugins and search plugins.
Actually, I install Firefox from a zip file rather than using the installer for Windows, and I clear out most of the directory first, but leave the plugins, the searchplugins, and the chrome\icons\default directories alone. That way, I keep the customized stuff.

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Post Posted April 19th, 2007, 3:56 pm

"and I clear out most of the directory first, but leave the plugins, the searchplugins, and the chrome\icons\default directories alone. That way, I keep the customized stuff."

Yeah I do that too or just copy the plugins from another version of Firefox for a new installation.
The Fx 3.0 alpha versions unfortunately do not have a zip version and the exe installer always messes with registry keys.

lost soul
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Post Posted April 19th, 2007, 4:04 pm

Thank you all for your suggestions.

To clarify, originally I downloaded "install_flash_player.exe" (currently 9r45) from Adobe's site, then ran it off line. It is what installed Flash 9r45 globally via the registry. It seems to work the way someone described the .xpi version working. The 9r28 and earlier installers didn't do that. I've always installed Flash via downloading the installer and installing off line. Didn't have this problem before.

What's worse, there seems to be no way to disable this "global" Flash from w/i individual gecko browsers that I've tried so far, though I've mostly been trying to turn it off in SeaMonkey. (K-Meleon at least has a "kill flash" button, but it isn't always obvious when to use it, or if you have to use it multiple times for multiple flash boxes on a webpage.) I'm reading the various links folks provided and other documentation I found so far, but w/o luck. I was looking for something simpler than the Plugin_scanning link alterging all.js method provided by trolly, like a enable/disable setting in something like about:pluings w/i the browser(s), but I may end up going that .js modifying route.

While I agree with dickvl this global install "feature" can be nice for his need w/ nightly builds, it's terrible for me. I have a dial-up line (DSL not available out here in the low-income suburbs), so I like having no Flash plugin available when randomly surfing the web; it stops those idiotic, bandwidth-wasting Flash ads and Flash popups. I can use another browser that is Flash-enabled when I want to look at something on YouTube.

I think what I'm going to try is copying the needed Flash plugin files from \Windoze\System\Macromed\Flash to the FF and K-Meleon browser plugin folders, then remove Flash via Add/Remove programs. Opera 9./02 seems to work this way outside of the Registry, as did earlier versions of the Flash installer vis-a-vis FF and SM. Anyone have any thoughts, caveats or warnings on this method?? It seems to be the way Flash used to work...

Thanks for any input.

lost soul
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Post Posted April 19th, 2007, 4:15 pm

dickvl wrote:"and I clear out most of the directory first, but leave the plugins, the searchplugins, and the chrome\icons\default directories alone. That way, I keep the customized stuff."

Yeah I do that too or just copy the plugins from another version of Firefox for a new installation.
The Fx 3.0 alpha versions unfortunately do not have a zip version and the exe installer always messes with registry keys.

Yes, I do similar things to keep customizations, too, and do clean installs on new FF/SM/Opera/K-M versions. It seems the new Flash install method will override (or conflict) with what you keep in your browser plugins folder; reviewing the install log I see Deletes of items in browser plugin folders. Then the new stuff isn't installed in the browser plugin folders, but some system folder instead. I was just trying to update Flash for security. Another reason I like to keep at least one browser available w/o Flash -- security.

lost soul
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Post Posted April 24th, 2007, 2:45 pm

Don't know if anyone is interested in this thread on dealing w/ the "global" install of the Flash plugin anymore, but copying these 3 files -- flashplayer.xpt, NPSWF32.dll, NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe -- from \windows\system\macromed\flash to the plugins folder of FF or K-M (and probably SM), then removing Flash via Add/Remove Programs does what I wanted it to do -- have Flash work in selected browsers only, not automatically picked up by every non-activeX browser. The Add/Remove Programs remove just removes Flash from the Registry and \Windows\System\Macromed\Flash, not from the individual browser plugins folders. (This is with Flash 9r45 and W98SE. I assume it would be similar with W2000/WXP. These machinations were not necessary under 9r28 and earlier Flash installers, when Flash just went into the browsers' plugins folders, not the Registry and \Windows\System.)

The above notes might useful for people with dial-up lines who don't want Flash wasting a lot of time downloading ad crap while web surfing, but do want to have Flash in an alternate browser for those occasions when Flash is desireable (not often). Might also be useful for those who DO want Flash automatically picked up, such as nightly build testers.

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Post Posted April 24th, 2007, 4:52 pm

lost soul,

Is there is a specific entry for Flash 9.0 r45 for Netscape/Mozilla browsers? I only have Flash 9.0 r28 installed which still uses the old style method of installing the Flash files to each detected browser's plugins folder. My Add/Remove Programs entry just has "Adobe Flash Player 9 ActiveX" which would be the entry to use to remove Flash 9 for Internet Explorer.

Also, I didn't copy NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe to my zipped build of Gran Paradiso 3.0a3 (Firefox 3) ... only NPSWF32.dll and flashplayer.xpt .... and Flash still works... at least the http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/about/ and http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/welcome/ test pages work. Anyone know what NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe does?
Alice Wyman

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Post Posted April 25th, 2007, 1:53 am

Alice wrote:lost soul,

Is there is a specific entry for Flash 9.0 r45 for Netscape/Mozilla browsers? I only have Flash 9.0 r28 installed which still uses the old style method of installing the Flash files to each detected browser's plugins folder. My Add/Remove Programs entry just has "Adobe Flash Player 9 ActiveX" which would be the entry to use to remove Flash 9 for Internet Explorer.


I didn't look through the registry, but in Add/Remove Programs with 9r45, yes there is a separate entry for the Netscape/Mozilla browsers -- it doesn't say "...ActiveX" in the entry. The one that *does* say "...ActiveX" is, as you say, for Internet Explozer. With Flash 9r28, there was *no* "global" install of Netscape/Mozilla Flash, only directly into the browsers' plugin folders.

Also, I didn't copy NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe to my zipped build of Gran Paradiso 3.0a3 (Firefox 3) ... only NPSWF32.dll and flashplayer.xpt .... and Flash still works... at least the http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/about/ and http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/welcome/ test pages work. Anyone know what NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe does?

Don't know. I wonder if that is the old "GetFlash" with a new name...
I only copied what I saw Add/Remove Programs and the Flash install window play with, and verified by comparing that to what the installer put in Opera's plugins folder (Opera 9.02 apparently doesn't pay attention to the "global" install of Flash; Opera 9.02 needs it in its Plugins folder).

Also, and this might be important, I did *NOT* have the ActiveX version of Flash installed when I moved things around. I have no idea if the ActiveX Flash component goes into the same system folder that the "new" 9r45 installer places the Mozilla/Netscape componets in.

Another thing will be if doing it my way to get what I want will require me to manually remove the Flash plugin from the browsers' plugins folders in the future, or have a conflict. With the 9r45 installer at least, there was a delete command as part of the scripted install to get rid of the old components in the various browsers' folders. Not sure that will be there in the future.

In any case, I don't like this new style installer, even if it was an advantage to another poster in this thread. It reduces my flexibility. As I said before, I liked the v. 7 installers that allowed you to choose EXACTLY which browsers you wanted to add Flash to, if, like me, you have multiple browsers on your system.

lost soul
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Post Posted April 25th, 2007, 1:58 am

Oops. Sorry Alice, that last post was me. Forgot to sign. I suppose I should break down and officially join the forums. Then maybe I'd get off this island, and wouldn't be "Lost" anymore... ;-)

-- lost soul

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Post Posted April 25th, 2007, 6:33 am

lost soul,
Thanks for letting me know about the separate entry in Add/Remove programs for "Adobe Flash Player 9" to uninstall Flash 9.0 r45 in Mozilla browsers.

I think that the global installation has it's good points, since all Mozilla browsers, including zipped builds, will find the plugin through the PLID registry scan. I guess you could disable the PLID plugin scan for any Mozilla-based browser that you don't want to detect Flash 9.0.r45 by changing the preference plugin.scan.plid.all from "true" to "false" in about:config as described in the plugin scanning article. However, that would also disable the PLID scan for Real Player and possibly other plugins so you would need to copy those plugins to the browser plugins folder as well. Your uninstall solution is good for people with Flash 9.0 r45 (or who used the XPI install method) and don't want the Flash plugin enabled in certain browsers and would rather not use a "Flash block" add-on.

lost soul wrote:I have no idea if the ActiveX Flash component goes into the same system folder that the "new" 9r45 installer places the Mozilla/Netscape componets in.

Yes, The ActiveX version of Flash for Internet Explorer installs files to the Windows system folder. On my Windows XP system, they go in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\Macromed\Flash folder.

On NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe and GetFlash.exe, both files are now included in my various Firefox/Mozilla/SeaMonkey browser plugins folders, placed there by the Flash 9.0.r16 and 9.0. r28 installers:
GetFlash.exe, Adobe Flash Player Updater 9.0 r16
NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe Adobe Flash Player Helper 9.0 r28.

I've also installed Flash ActiveX versions 9.0.r16 and 9.0 r28 for Internet Explorer and the corresponding files are placed in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\Macromed\Flash folder. Since I've never installed Flash 9.0.r45 or used the XPInstall method, that folder only includes the Flash files for IE, which include:
GetFlash.exe, Adobe Flash Player Updater 9.0 r16
FlashUtil9b.exe Adobe Flash Player Helper 9.0 r28

Whatever it does, this "Adobe Flash Player Helper 9.0 r28" has a version for Mozilla and other non-IE browsers (NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe) and an ActiveX version for IE (FlashUtil9b.exe).

P.S. I didn't have much luck searching on on the first file but I found the following when searching on FlashUtil9b.exe: http://www.adobe.com/go/4da116d3
With Flash Player 9.0.28.0 and later, the utility file FlashUtil.exe is installed with Flash Player in the C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash directory. FlashUtil.exe includes functionality required by Windows Vista and by the auto-update notification process. The previous utility (UninstFl.exe) is no longer required by or installed with Flash Player.

The utility is versioned with the control. For example, FlashUtil9b.exe is installed with the control Flash9b.ocx. FlashUtil.exe also contains several options that developers can use to switch between player versions and between debugger versions during testing.
Alice Wyman

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Post Posted April 25th, 2007, 11:00 am

lost soul wrote:Thank you all for your suggestions.
While I agree with dickvl this global install "feature" can be nice for his need w/ nightly builds, it's terrible for me. I have a dial-up line (DSL not available out here in the low-income suburbs), so I like having no Flash plugin available when randomly surfing the web; it stops those idiotic, bandwidth-wasting Flash ads and Flash popups. I can use another browser that is Flash-enabled when I want to look at something on YouTube.

For Firefox, at least, there is a remedy for stopping the flash ads. Get the Flashblock extension. Flash will not load until you click the little icon.

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