Adobe Flash, the multimedia software platform that ran as many animated videos before YouTube as Homestar Runner, is officially ancient technology. As of December 31, 2020, Adobe stopped supporting the software, and now Microsoft is telling every Windows 10 user that it’s time to dump it if they have not already done so.
A new Windows 10 update from Microsoft, currently available through it Update directory, permanently removes Flash from the operating system according to Windows Last, but only for Windows 10 versions 1903 and earlier, and multiple versions of Windows Server. The same update will roll out over Windows Update over the next month, and will be available via the Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) sometime in early 2021. (The update will also be available for version 1909, but it is unclear why that version update does not appear on the Update Catalog page.) First the update will be optional, but then it will be moved to the recommended updates a few months later.
Using the update only removes the Adobe Flash Player that was installed by your version of Windows – not if you installed it manually from another source, says Microsoft. Once the update is applied, Adobe Flash will be removed from the control panel and Windows 10 users will not be able to roll back the update. Users can also uninstall Flash via Adobe website.
If you absolutely must reinstall Flash, you must reset your device to a previous one system restore point. If you do not have a restore point, be sure to create one before using the Flash removal update.
By the end of the month, Microsoft will also have removed Adobe Flash Player from the new Edge browser. “As of January 2021, Adobe Flash Player will be disabled by default and all versions older than KB4561600 released in June 2020 will be blocked. “Downloadable resources related to Adobe Flash Player hosted on Microsoft sites will no longer be available.” at Microsoft.
Microsoft Edge Legacy and Internet Explorer 11 users should also have received their latest Adobe Flash security update on or before December 2020. Google Chrome has already dropped Flash along with Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari. Safari stopped supporting Flash in September 2020 with version 14. If you try to download the Flash plugin from the Adobe website, your browser will now prevent you from doing so.
In addition, Adobe will block Flash content will run in Flash Player from January 12, 2021 to “secure users’ systems”, it says. Since macOS and Windows will no longer receiving Flash security updates, it makes sense to do so given that it is now a discontinued piece of technology.
First developed by FutureWave before being acquired by Macromedia and then Adobe, Flash was the best way to put fancy animations, video players and video games on websites in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It paved the way for completely immersive, interactive websites that are the norm today. But the proliferation of larger and better platforms such as HTML5, OpenFL and Unity slowly began to make Flash feel outdated. Adobe renamed its Flash authoring environment as Adobe Animate in 2015 to expand support for HTML5 and encourage developers to build with new web standards instead of Flash.
Most of what you come across on a website today is not Flash, but HTML5 or another open standard that takes much less time to render web pages. Not only are modern authoring environments dramatically less CPU-intensive, but something like HTML5 does not need a browser plugin to work, unlike Flash. HTML5 works naturally with all browsers, and it is also SEO-friendly.
Adobe will continue its support for Animate – and in case you were wondering, Homestar Runner is still alive and kicking. Also, the The Internet Archive has already been preserved over 1000 flash items, including classics like Badger, Your entire base belongs to us, and Peanut Butter Jelly Time. I did not see it Salad fingers on the list, but there are already a bunch of episodes on David Finch’s YouTube channel.