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Any - Adobe Flash Player - Disabling automatic software updates

Any software title released for Windows. Articles are posted in "Windows Version - Software Title - Subject" format.

Any - Adobe Flash Player - Disabling automatic software updates

Postby lmmtux » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:45 am

Adobe enables automatic updates for the Flash Player by default. While this is good for security, sometimes in enterprise environments and for other reasons it makes sense to disable these updates. The updater prompts the user and if that user does not have administrator permission on the system, they will not be able to install the update. The automatic update assumes administrator permissions are held by the user and is mostly targeted at consumer (home use) PCs.

To disable Flash Player automatic update on a PC:

There are many documented ways to disable the Flash updater once it is enabled on a PC, which includes deleting registry entries, etc. However few of them work. The proven method is to simply remove the updater .exe files from the PC. This prevents them from running and therefore gets rid of the update prompts. However after installing a new or upgrade to Flash, these update .exe files may be placed on the disk once again and these steps need to be repeated. A workaround for this is to download the .msi file and edit the file with a utility such as Microsoft Orca to disable the automatic updates from being enabled when Flash is installed (see below).

  1. Locate the following files and remove them:
    • c:\windows\System32\Macromed\Flash\FlashUtil*Plugin.exe
    • c:\windows\Syswow64\Macromed\Flash\FlashUtil*Plugin.exe
    • c:\windows\Syswow64\Macromed\Flash\FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe

To disable Flash Player automatic update during installation:

Adobe documents steps to disable automatic updates by passing parameters (such as "autoupdatedisable=1") to the installers. However, most of the time the automatic updates are enabled regardless and the methods posted do not work properly. The steps below will ensure automatic updates are always disabled after installation.

  1. Download the Adobe Flash Player MSI installer file from the Adobe Flash Player Distribution website.
  2. Download and install Microsoft Orca. Microsoft only bundles it with the Windows SDK for Windows. A web search may provide an alternative download for the Orca utility itself.
  3. Run Orca, and go to File / Open, and select the .msi file you downloaded above to open it.
  4. On the left side pane, click on the "Property" table.
  5. Locate the following entries, and remove them (right-click on each, and select "Drop Row"):
  6. Search for additional entries in the .msi file for the word "update" (using the Edit menu / Find option). If any of them deal with product updates, automatic updates, or similar, remove them. Please note: Unfortunately, Adobe changes the installers with every version, so many entries are added and removed, so there is no clear cut method to locating these additional entries. The bad news is that there is no way to test the automatic update prompt since it appears to run at random times.
    orcamsisearch.JPG (52.33 KiB) Viewed 8092 times
  7. Once you are done removing the update entries, save the .msi file in Orca.
  8. You can install Flash now, using the .msi file you saved and it should never prompt to automatically update Flash.
  9. You can also use the .msi file to deploy the Flash software in an enterprise environment by using the silent install command:
    Code: Select all
    msiexec.exe /i install_flash_player_11_active_x.msi /qn /norestart

    Note: Be sure to substitute the actual .msi file name in this command above as it may change with each version of Flash.
  10. If you have already installed Flash Player on a PC, then use the installer above to upgrade, automatic updates may still be enabled from the previous installation. You may still need to apply the step in the first section of this article to disable the automatic updates. However future installations using the methods here should keep automatic updates disabled.
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