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A Google search for "flash problems" yields five hundred million hits. By means of comparison, there are 350 million people in the U.S.
Having been somewhat distracted recently (recuperating, healing, staying alive — small things like that), I haven't been too active in the video scene. When I did jump back in, I promptly ran into four problems. Some sites that had a Flash video were locking up in Firefox, I was getting a "This video is currently unavailable" message on most YouTube vids in both browsers, DownloadHelper (a Firefox add-on that downloads vids) had stopped working on YouTube, and, on top of all that, when I reinstalled Flash, I started getting Windows melt-down messages every time I went to a Flash site. Welcome back, Doc!
I reported on some of the problems a while back, but since I've now solved the last of them, I thought I'd compile the whole mess into one post.
General Flash Probs / Pages Locking Up
There are three steps to start off with:
1. Go to this page and use the Adobe program to uninstall Flash.
2. If using Internet Explorer, make sure you're using Version 9 and that your Windows Updates are up to date. In Firefox, go to Help menu, 'About', click on the button to make sure you have the latest version. They recently had an update (16.0.2) which appears to have addressed some of the Flash problems.
3. Go back to the Adobe site and install the latest Flash.
If that doesn't resolve the problem, here are some other things to try:
— Clear the entire cache. (Note that clearing the entire cache means sites you go to that normally require a name/password will require you to re-log in.) In IE, go to Tools menu, 'Internet options', click 'Delete'. Uncheck the top box, check all the rest, click 'Delete'. In Firefox, to to Tools menu, 'Clear Recent History'. Make sure it says 'Everything' at the top and every box is checked. Click 'Clear Now'.
— Make sure there isn't a conflicting plugin or add-on. RealMedia Player has caused problems with some people. In IE, go to Tools menu, 'Manage add-ons'. Disable everything. For some reason, there isn't a Flash entry in mine. If there is in yours, don't disable it. In Firefox, go to Tools menu, 'Add-ons', 'Plugins', disable everything except the Flash entry.
— In Firefox, try a new 'Profile'. Go to Start Menu, 'Run'. Enter "firefox.exe -p", hit Enter. In the box that pops up, click 'Create Profile' and call it 'Test'. After the test, do the same routine to get back to your 'Default' profile.
— Also in Firefox, go to the Help menu, 'Troubleshooting Information', click the 'Reset Firefox' button. This'll do its damnedest to set everything back to stock.
— Turn off 'hardware acceleration' in two places. In Firefox, go to Tools menu, 'Options'. Click on the 'Advanced' panel, uncheck 'Use hardware acceleration...' Then go find a Flash vid, right-click on it, select 'Settings', uncheck the box.
— Some people think the probs started a while back when Flash introduced a new security measure called 'Protected Mode'. To disable it, go to C Drive, Windows folder, System32 (or 64, depending) folder, Macromed folder, the Flash folder, then load the "mms.cfg" file into Notepad. Add "ProtectedMode=0" (no quote marks) to the file, save, reboot.
If any of these work, please let me know in the comments and I'll mention it in the post.
If none of that helps, try this:
1. Uninstall Flash
2. Install this older Version 10 of Flash. You won't be able to see some of the latest vids (because they're made with an updated Flash), but older stuff should play and pages won't lock up.
If things seem to be working okay (except newer vids don't display), try going to the Flash site and updating to the latest. As I'll mention next, that's what worked for me.
Windows Error Messages
This actually shouldn't work, but it seems to. First, uninstall Flash as above. Then put in Version 10, above. When you get to a site that either says you can't play the video without upgrading, or at least recommends it, click on the link and put in the latest Flash without removing Version 10 first. That's what fixed things on my system. Apparently, the latest Flash doesn't delete all of the Version 10 files, and the system likes whatever's left over.
The 'Currently Unavailable' Message
This takes place not only on the actual YouTube site, but with YouTube vids embedded on other sites.
As it turns out, this is YouTube's fault. In an apparent effort not to pay Adobe their Flash licensing fees in the future, YouTube is making an 'experiment' with a player called 'HTML5', and if your browser is HTML5-ready (latest IE and FF qualify), you're automatically made part of the experiment. Then (and I'm guessing here), in an effort to retain their fees, the latest Flash updates keep the HTML5 from working and we end up with the 'Currently unavailable' message.
The answer is to opt out of YouTube's little experiment. Go here and click on the link at the bottom.
If you use the excellent DownloadHelper program for downloading vids via Firefox, they changed something on YouTube a while back and it stopped working. It probably has to do with their grand little 'experiment'. First, go to Tools menu, 'Add-ons', 'Extensions', remove the old version of DownloadHelper. Grab the update here. If you haven't used it before, it needs some tweaks to work its best. My page on it is here.
Any additional suggestions, lemme know in the comments.
I would add that occasionally you should clear Flash Cookies. Regular cache clearing doesn't get those. Here's the link: http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager06.html
Very interesting. Never looked at that option before. From what I can tell, it semi-cleared the cache, reset every option back to default, and stripped out any add-ons. I'll include it in the post, and thanks for the feedback.
I forgot to mention that the reset also creates a folder "Old Firefox Data" as a back-up on the desktop in Win XP. Though if addons etc. are needed I'd think a new install of them might be better tp get the latest version.