Adobe Flash is expiring soon. Here’s how to make your computer safe

Question: With Flash expiring soon, what should I do to make sure my computer is safe?

Answer: Adobe’s multimedia platform known as “Flash” was an instrumental tool in the evolution of the internet that brought animation and video capabilities to a text-based world.

Some of the most amazing interactive experiences in the early days of the internet were made possible by Flash – it was probably how you played your first web-based games –but in today’s world, it’s a huge security risk.

It was so popular that many scams focused on tricking users into “updating” Flash to see salacious videos, which was nothing more than a ploy to sneak malicious code onto your computer.

Because of security concerns, most major browsers disabled or blocked Flash content while the industry migrated to the more secure HTML5 standard for multimedia coding.

Adobe’s support for Flash will end Thursday, and the Flash Player utility will block Flash content after Jan. 12.

The major browsers will completely disable Flash from running after the end of the year, so for all intents and purposes, it’s a dead technology.

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Though there may still be some websites that you visit that require Flash to properly function, these should be older websites that probably haven’t been updated for years and probably won’t ever be updated.

If you own a website that relies on Flash to properly render, you’ll need to update the code to reflect the standards if you want it to be relevant to the rest of the world.

Uninstall Flash Player

Depending upon how old your system is, you may have the Flash Player utility installed, which should be removed for security purposes.

A quick search of your system for “Flash Player” should tell you if the program is installed on either a Windows or macOS computer.

If you find it on your Windows-based computer, you can properly remove it by downloading Adobe’s Flash Uninstaller utility for Windows from this website.

For macOS users, the uninstall tool will be based on the version of Apple’s operating system that you’re using, so you’ll want to start by determining which version you are running.

To do this, click on the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner, then on “About This Mac” to show the exact version in numeric form (example: 10.14.6).

Once you have that, you’ll need to download the uninstaller that’s designed for your version here.

Blocking browsers

You really don’t need to do anything in your browser unless you know you manually made Flash available, as they’ve been blocking it by default.

In coming updates, the actual Flash plugin will be completely removed from your browser, so make sure you get the latest updates when they are made available.

Old Flash-based games

One of the few remaining uses of Flash/Shockwave was to play old-school web-based games developed back in the day.

Fortunately, there’s a safer way to play these classic games using BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint web-based game preservation project.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services, Ask any tech question at or on Twitter @TheDataDoc.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Adobe Flash Player is expiring, how to uninstall it, block browsers