How to remove Flash from Windows 10

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.

edgsettings

Edge > Options > Settings

Scroll down and click on

Scroll down and click on “View advanced settings”

Make sure Flash is turned off.

Make sure 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 :

  • C:\Windows\System32\Macromed\Flash
  • C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash

In each of these directories, you should see these files :

  • activex.vch
  • Flash.ocx
  • FlashUtil_ActiveX.dll
  • FlashUtil_ActiveX.exe

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.

Right click > Properties > Select the

Right click > Properties > Select the “Security” tab. Click “Advanced”.

Note on top how the current owner is

Note on top how the current owner is “TrustedInstaller” (the biggest oxymoron in software if there ever was one).
Click on “change” to take ownership.

You'll be presented with the familiar user selection box. Click

You’ll be presented with the familiar user selection box.
Click “Advanced”.

flash4

…and “Find Now”.

Select your username and click

Select your username and click “OK”

...and then

…and then “OK” again on the user box.

You’re now the owner of the file to delete, but that’s not enough. You need to change the principal access.

Select the

Select the “Auditing” tab and click “Add”.

Click

Click “Select a principal”. We’ll have to do the same user selection song and dance we did before (“Advanced”, “Find Now” etc…)

But now we can check

But now we can check “Full control”.

Once you've done this, click

Once you’ve done this, click “OK” and then back at the “Auditing” tab…

...click

…click “Apply”.

You'll see a security dialog saying you'll need to close and reopen the security properties. That's fine (it's the least of our worries at this point). Click

You’ll see a security dialog saying you’ll need to close and reopen the security properties. That’s fine (it’s the least of our worries at this point). Click “OK” on the dialog and back at the “Auditing” tab and move on.

Close all the dialogs. Right click on the file again and select

Close all the dialogs. Right click on the file again and select “Properties” and select the “Security” tab as before. Click on “Edit” and you’ll see this.

Now you should be able change the permissions by selecting your username and checking

Now you should be able change the permissions by selecting your username and checking “Full control”

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.

Whew!

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:

  • FlashPlayerApp.exe
  • FlashPlayerCPLApp.cpl

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?

Advertisements

No such thing as an obsolete browser or OS IV

This is a little update on Steve‘s suggestion. You can view past updates for OSes in 2008, browsers in 2009, OSes and browsers in 2009, and in 2011. And just as before, we still have a few hits from IE 2.0. Though in what seems to be common trend across a lot of sites out there, Safari and Firefox are far ahead of Internet Explorer. Don’t know if this will change with the proliferation of Windows phones and Safari most likely includes a sizable number of iPhones.

On the OS front, Windows is still ahead with XP having the same usage share of Mac OS X. I believe “Windows NT” includes Windows 7/8 and Server 2008.

Browsers visiting eksith.com in September

Operating Systems hitting eksith.com in September

 

Nostalgia: A History of Windows Startup and Shutdown themes

You know you’re a child of the 80’s when your nostalgia includes memories of the Windows OS, specifically the startup and shutdown themes. I have to say that Windows 95 and 2000 had the best startup music of the entire series. A few of the betas also had great music, but it’s a shame they never made it to the final release.

If only these OSes had the same creativity and care when it came to the internal plumbing and security, Microsoft would have left the greatest legacy in the computing world.

Nginx + PHP + MySQL on Windows in 6 minutes

The last time I posted a tutorial on Nginx, there wasn’t a native port of the server available. Riez Opuz posted a link to his Xenstack project on that post that prompted me to write the rest of what I’ve been putting off. It’s a good way to tweak the stack to your own needs.

I tried to leave this as “in 5 minutes”, but then I remembered how long it would take to download MySQL… Even on broadband.

Kevin Worthington had very kindly provided a Cygwin build that ran on Windows, however Nginx now has a Windows build that we can use and this time, we can add MySQL to the list as well. To keep everything compatible, we’ll be using the 32 bit versions for all downloads.

Once you’ve also downloaded Nginx (0.8.53 at the time of this post), head on to the PHP libraries and remember to download the Windows Libraries only (5.3.3 as of today) and select the thread safe version. The first steps are the same with the exception of the download link to MySQL and we need the no-install download.

Make sure to follow this directory structure!

Extract the Nginx files to C:\nginx
Extract PHP to C:\nginx\php
Extract MySQL to C:\nginx\mysql

First, let’s configure MySQL

MySQL no-install is a freakin’ huge download so feel free to delete mysql-test, Embedded, sql-bench and folders named debug once unzipped. If you want to minimize the folder even more, you can optionally delete any .pdb files. This would come in handy if you want to deploy the whole ensamble on a thumb drive or package it for a demo application and are really penny-pinching the available storage space.

Once the cleanup is complete, copy my-medium.ini in C:\nginx\mysql\ into my.ini. I think the medium configuration takes care of most uses and, for a moderately busy site, it fares pretty well.

Always try to copy exising files before making changes instead of outright renaming them. This way, if something goes wrong with the new configuration, we still have the original handy to start over..

Open up the newly copied my.ini file and change the [client] block to match the following.


[client]
#password	= your_password
port		= 3306
socket		= c:/nginx/mysql/tmp/mysql.sock

Note the Unix style forward-slashes.

Now in the [mysqld] block in the same file, change to match the following :


[mysqld]
port		= 3306
socket		= c:/nginx/mysql/tmp/mysql.sock
basedir		= c:/nginx/mysql
datadir		= c:/nginx/mysql/data
bind-address	= localhost
enable-named-pipe
skip-external-locking
key_buffer_size = 16M
max_allowed_packet = 1M
table_open_cache = 64
sort_buffer_size = 512K
net_buffer_length = 8K
read_buffer_size = 256K
read_rnd_buffer_size = 512K
myisam_sort_buffer_size = 8M

Now let’s try and run our MySQL server

Start a new command line window…
Note: If you’re running Windows Vista or above with UAC enabled, you need to right click on the command line link and select “Run as administrator”.. If you get a message saying “Install/Remove of the Service Denied!” when trying to start MySQL later on, then you probably have UAC running, so this step is very important.

Navigate to C:\nginx\mysql\bin\ and run :

mysqld --install-manual

There should be a slight delay followed by a “Service successfully installed”. We then must run :

net start mysql

…And if there are no errors noted, then Congratulations!

Before we proceed, we need to run some housekeeping operations. In the same command line window, run :

mysqladmin -u root password newpassword

Where newpassword is your new MySQL root password. This is an important step toward securing your installation.

Now that we’ve changed our root password enter the following :

mysql -u root -p

Which will give you a password prompt. Enter your newpassword created before. Once you’re logged in, you’re at the MySQL console.

If you need to change your root password at a future date, run mysql as above type the following :

update mysql.user set password=PASSWORD('new-newpassword') where user='root';

Note that passwords are encoded before storage in the database, so we need to run the PASSWORD function on our new-newpassword. Once that’s done, be sure to run :

flush privileges;

Now we need to remove all the junk that came with the server.

Delete the test databases and anonymous users (Always remember the semicolon at the end!) :

delete from mysql.user where user='root' and host!='localhost';
drop database test;
delete from mysql.db where db='test' or db='test\_%';

And finally flush privileges and quit :

flush privileges; quit;

Now if we need to, we can stop MySQL by running the following (in C:\nginx\mysql\bin\ as an Administrator of course):

net stop mysql

And if we need to remove it from our services entirely, run the following :

mysqld --remove

Onward to setting up PHP

Photo Gallery / Picture viewer doesn’t work on the Desktop

This annoying little problem started quite recently. Probably due to some unknown update that installed itself overnight. Double-clicking on any image from PNG to GIF gives no results whatsoever. The photo gallery doesn’t even start.

The solution is to get rid of all the web links / URL shortcuts on the desktop (delete them or move them to a folder) and viola! You can double-click on images again.

I have no idea why this started this week. I’ve never run into anything similar with XP.

P.S.

I’m really buried in a project lately, which is why I haven’t been posting very much. But I have a new set of Sites and Movies of the week coming up.