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Manually Update Adobe's Flash Player

Download and save the installer to use over again.

mbr stamp
When a browser prompts you to install Flash, or an Adobe dialog box appears and informs you that an update is available, the download and install or reinstall will be done automatically in the background and you may not be able to find an installer file that can be reused. If you want to do another install or update of Flash in a cloned or restored image of your operating system then you will have to go through the same online install process over and perhaps over.

Adobe does not make it easy for the average user to acquire the stand-alone full installers and even when you do manage to navigate to their 'Alternative' download page where it looks like you can get the complete installer, all you get is a small file that will initiate the online install, which as it turns out has an even worse sting in the tale. Unless you are observant enough to notice the crapware included by default (fig:1) and uncheck the appropriate tick box you can end up with an unwanted toolbar or virus scanner, or worse still an obnoxious piece of scareware.

Fig: 1
Flash Install Screenshot


Getting the Full Installer.
If you go to this Adobe webpage www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/distribution3.html you can get the latest complete installers that can be saved and reused as many times as required. Pick the version for your operating system and browser type and download the relevant installer (fig:2). For Windows opt for the EXE Installer over the MSI one, unless you specifically want the features of the MSI installer. If you are a business or corporate user you should of course take notice of the licensing terms if you are going to be installing Flash on various machines. If this Adobe web page is unavailable the full installers can often be had from many file download sites. At time of writing a quick search turned up these links...... Softpedia - Majorgeeks - Brothersoft - Download.cnet - Filehippo

Fig: 2
flash download options


Two Versions of Flash for Windows.

It should be noted that there are two different versions of Flash for Windows and it depends on which browser you are using. If you have Internet Explore then you want the ActiveX version, for almost all other browsers such as Firefox, Opera and Safari you need the version of Flash that is suitable for Plugin-based browsers. If you use two browsers of different types in the same Windows install then you will need to download and install both versions of Flash. The Google Chrome browser comes with Flash included and is updated when the browser itself is updated. Similarly IE10 in Windows-8 also now includes Flash, which for the average user it seems can only be updated through Windows Update. Trying to do it with the downloaded installer produces an Adobe dialog box informing us of such.

Determine Version Information.
If you want to know which version of Flash is currently installed in an OS, or you want to check to see if there is a newer version available to the one in use, then you can do both of these things at the same time by visiting the Flash version checking webpage. If there is a difference between your current Version Information and the latest Player Version (fig:3) then it is time for an update. If you are using two browsers of different types in Windows then you will have to visit the version checking page from both of those browsers.

flash applet iconAnother more direct way to check which version or versions you have installed is to open the Flash Player Settings Manager, which in Windows you will find in the Control Panel. On the Advanced Tab the currently installed update numbers for both the ActiveX and the Plug-in versions will be displayed (fig:4). If you don't have Flash installed or you have a version that is older than 10.3 then you won't have a Control Panel applet.

Fig: 3
flash version installed

Fig: 4
flash player settings manager

Yet another way to determine the currently installed Flash version is to look at the list of installed plug-ins or add-ons in a browser. Here are screenshots of where to find this information in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera

IE thumbnailGparted
Internet Explorer
Firefox thumbnailPwizard
Opera thumbnailPwizard

At the end of the normal install and update process there is now a dialog box (fig:5) giving us some options on how we would like updates to be provided. This is a long overdue and welcome addition for those of us who don't like interruptions and would rather apply updates to our own schedule. The same options can be reached through the Flash Player Settings Manager shown in fig:4 above.

Fig: 5
flash update options



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