As many of you have discovered by now, Microsoft surreptitiously added the Flash player in an update well after the upgrade to Windows 10. It isn’t possible to remove it using the standalone uninstaller from Adobe as in previous versions as this is now baked into Edge, Microsoft’s new browser… almost.
It is possible, to remove the plugin, but it requires a fair bit of manual labor to do so. First, go to Edge and select options (the . . . ) and follow the steps to make sure the Flash is turned off.
Now the fun part
Microsoft has set ownership permissions for all the files we need to delete so that none of them can be removed without changing them first. The files we need to delete are located in the following places :
In each of these directories, you should see these files :
You may also see FlashInstall.log. Trying to delete these will give you a permission denied error. To change that, follow these steps. Be advised that you’ll have to follow these steps for each of those files individually as Microsoft has made it very difficult to collectively apply the same permissions by inheritance.
You’re now the owner of the file to delete, but that’s not enough. You need to change the principal access.
You’ll get a warning dialog. Just click “OK” on it and click on “OK” on the permissions box too. You can now delete that file.
Cleaning the control panel
You’ll still see the FlashPlayer utilty in the control panel so to remove that, go to C:\Windows\SysWOW64 and delete:
Keep in mind, however, that there’s nothing preventing Microsoft from installing Flash on your system again. You don’t own proprietary software. Yes it’s your computer and you may pay for it (well, Windows 7, since this is a free upgrade), but you don’t own it if you can’t control what’s on your system how it gets there. Further, Windows 10 is as close to Software as a Service as you’ll get while still having something installed. It’s the most invasive in terms of your privacy as well, but there are mitigations you can take.
For your next operating system, may I suggest Linux Mint?
Nice to hear from you again. There is one important step you missed that would save all this trouble: avoid Windows at all costs! ;-)
Especially Windows 10. Don’t install it. Don’t upgrade to it. And yes, format the hard drives and install Linux. Nothing as insulting as having to pay for what is not yours to begin with. Thanks, but no thanks Microsoft, aka TrustedInstaller NOT!
Hey Steve! Yes indeed, we’ve been away for a long time ;)
I’ve been trying to stave off an upgrade at work, but it looks like most of my concerns are falling on deaf ears. Unless we can be sure there’s a way to lock it down, I’d avoid Windows too.
I don’t have to worry about that at work – they are still on XP! Not that I care what they do with their computers mind you ;)
While 8 and 10 are horrid in many ways, Windows 7 is aces. So no, I’ll stick with 7.
You can do all of the above instructions at the folder level (For instance, “Flash” folder). Then delete the Flash folder. It will delete all the files in it.
OMG this worked, thank you very much!
After my yahoo account was hacked, probably via flash, I decided to remove flash. But I couldn’t believe how ridiculously difficult this was on Windows 10. I don’t know what went wrong with windows (wasn’t it based on a good DEC operating system?) but I hate it so much now. Thanks for the instructions.
Unfortunately, this makes installing some new windows updates impossible.
Did you try running wuauclt.exe /detectnow /updatenow from the command line?
I’ve already moved away from Windows 10, so I can’t verify that. Sometimes that works without further issues. Of course, that might still cause partial installations, but that has to be taken in a case-by-case basis.
Copied the files back and delete again after Update
The following batch needs admin rights and does everything after deactivated flash in Egde
# take ownership
takeown /f C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash\*.*
takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\Macromed\Flash\*.*
# extend access
cacls C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash\*.* /E /T /G %UserDomain%\%UserName%:F
cacls C:\Windows\System32\Macromed\Flash\*.* /E /T /G %UserDomain%\%UserName%:F
del C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash\*.* /Q
del C:\Windows\System32\Macromed\Flash\*.* /Q
Awesome, thank you
Thank you very much! :)
Microsoft should really add a removal option (Flash Is Not Essential Anymore :)
You will also have to search-and-remove related entries (“Adobe”, “Flash”, “Macromed”) in the registry and WinSXS folder and Windows Update components for thorough and complete removal. Otherwise the Windows Update service may still detect the Flash component and decide that your system needs Flash-related security updates, which may cause trouble.
I have done it all manually (which is very tedious) and haven’t had any issues with subsequent updates.
Someone at Adobe/Microsoft MUST provide a proper uninstaller.
You might also just install “Take Ownership: the just right click on the folder and delete everything. http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/add-take-ownership-to-explorer-right-click-menu-in-vista/
Work perfect for me! Thank you!
W10 was not the first. W8 shipped with Flash, too.
Thanks for this info!
!!!!!!!!!!!”Someone at Adobe/Microsoft MUST provide a proper uninstaller.” !!!!!!!!!!!!
>For your next operating system, may I suggest Linux Mint?
Hahahahahahaha, Mint has been compromised and is the laughing stock of the entire open source community. Don’t use Mint, it’s really insecure.
Thank you so much for this blog post – incredibly helpful.
It is ridiculous what Microsoft is doing to Windows 10 – the steps that you outlined to delete Flash are beyond absurd. Thank you again for taking the time to do this.
After removing this, I’m now getting an error from the recent Windows update, which included a security patch to the built-in version of Flash. It says it can’t install the update (naturally!)… any ideas on how to get rid of this update from showing in the Windows Update list?
I already Have Linux Mint. Windows 10 is getting wiped today.
(Windows 10 and The Twilight Zone)
Do not attempt to adjust your computer
…WE control the programs
…We control the settings
…DO NOT attempt to uninstall anything…
all you should do is a command:
dism /online /remove-package /packagename:Adobe-Flash-For-Windows-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~10.0.14393.0
and the world is clean now. the package name depends on the version of win10 (10.0, 10.1, 10.2…)
I had Windows Update getting upset as well. It was happening for almost a month before I noticed it.
After much investigation, it turns out that Linda’s almost right – the DISM removal scheme is very easy (compared to manually changing folder permissions) but it won’t work without changing some registry keys first. (This is true at least on my 64-bit Win 10 Pro machine.)
See https://deploymentparts.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/remove-builtin-apps-from-windows-10-reference-image/ for the full info – scroll down to the section “How to really remove the system apps” for the four required registry changes which basically are taking ownership of the registry key, changing Visibility, adding DefVis, and (crucially) removing the Owners list. I know that at least the first and last of these are crucial as it was failing with “Access denied” until I changed the permissions, and then “Only package owners can remove package” until I found that web page and then I just made the final three changes in one hit. Obviously you’ll want to substitute Adobe-Flash…. where that particular paragraph uses Microsoft-Windows-ContactSupport… – the package name you’ll want is the full name you’ll see under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Component Based Servicing\Packages. (I can’t remember the full name on my machine and I can’t see it any more cos it’s gone :-D)
NB: because I had already manually removed the f***ing files using this page as a guide, the DISM removal failed the first time through. But (hilariously) it automagically rolled back the whole transaction and REINSTALLED the files for me. So… yes, the second time it worked beautifully! No more Windows Update errors.
(To be honest, I only really gave a toss about the errors initially because I believed that they were preventing ALL updates from working. I now realise that wasn’t true but hey wth, it’s gone now, I learned lots of fun crap about Windows Component Based Servicing, and I um, wasted some hours of my life…)
PS: how confident am I that it will never return? Hmm…
unfortunately, right-clicking on the files no longer gives you access to ownership. MS removed the security tab from the properties dialog
No. They didn’t.
Or you can run the uninstaller: https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-windows.html — retarded that an uninstall of the software doesn’t actually fully uninstall flash player. Adobe needs to be erased from the face of the Earth.
Can Linux Mint run steam and most games without complications/wasting many hours on setup?
thats a big nope
here’s the rub: windows 10 wastes many hours right out of the box just wrestling control of the OS back into your own hands
Pingback: Remove Flash from Windows 10 - Strangely Perfect
If you keep getting the error messages on your computer screens and saying cannot find the flash ocx file don’t worry now you are able to find your missing flash ocx files .
you are the best…finally it worked, I was able to delete it.
Pingback: Packaging / Extracting Windows 10 Native Flash Player - Boot Panic
If there is an issue with the DLL files you can download DLL files over the internet and can also find the method to install the DLL file in the system.