How to Disable, Stop or Uninstall Flash

Guide to Disabling or Uninstalling Flash


How to (temporarily) Disable, Stop, Uninstall, or Un-install Flash

See also: Email bookmarklet



#1 There are several nice commercial and shareware products that let you toggle flash on and off. My personal favorite: Popupcop. Others: jTFlashManager. Let google guide the way!

#2. I believe Opera and Netscape browsers have this feature (disabling/toggling Flash) built-in. And perhaps the new Mac-only browser, Safari(?) It's only Internet Explorer that doesn't let you turn Flash off...

#3. Windows XP seems to be particularly unfriendly with respect to removing Flash. Perhaps this means that jtFlashManager will not work? If so... Popupcop will definitely work. (see below!)

#4 -- The "best method yet" for Win 2000 and Win XP Flash blocking!(?)
Almost, but not quite. POPUPCOP is still the easiest and most flexible technique for most users. In addition to blocking popups, it has an option for blocking flash from "auto-playing". Just click to play. Otherwise, you don't see it! Perfect!!! No more flashing ads!


Since Macromedia Flash seems to currently be used to show distracting flashing ads (advertisements, advertising) on the web (www), and IE (Internet Explorer) and Netscape have no way of turning it off and on easily...

Here's how to temporarily disable or uninstall it (Windows only). If you know how to do this on Macintosh (Mac, MacOS) or Linux, or have any other comments, please let me know!

The nice things about this method for blocking flash is that...

	1. If, in the future, you want to be able to see a flash presentation
	(sometimes sites have flash-based "take the tour", many car company
	sites require flash, etc.), all you need to do is rename the name in
	part 1 back to what it was originally!  Easy!!!

	2. No scary things to install or uninstall or registry-editing

I took this 2-step process from 2 separate pages about how to block flash.
It's a mixture of them both.

1. First, prevent IE from finding flash!

	Rename the swflash.ocx file to swflash.ocx2.  (On Windows 2000, the file seems
	to be named Flash.ocx.  So rename it Flash.ocx2)

	(Find it using SEARCH or FIND FILE on "flash.ocx".  Oh, you'll need to quit IE
	first before WINDOWS will let you rename the file, since it's "in use".)

	Excellent, but not done yet.

2. Prevent the "Do you want to install Flash?" dialog from appearing...

	So, we still need to stop IE from asking over and over if you want to
	install Flash again when you view a page that has embedded flash! (Why
	do we have to do this?  Because IE and NN don't have options for
	disabling and re-enabling flash, the sneaky buggers!!!)

	So, add this line to your "Hosts" file using notepad (hosts is in the
	c:\windows\ directory in Win 98)... it's probably slightly different for 2000
	or others.  It often has the line " localhost" in there already...
	In my case, it didn't exist (only Hosts.sam, a sample file).  So I created
	it.  No extension.  Just "Hosts".  No sure if capitalization matters.

	(It seemed like I had to reboot for #2 to take affect.  If this still doesn't
	work, perhaps try a separate line for each mapping...)


So, enjoy! Yahoo (for instance) puts up GIF versions of their flash ads.  They're
still big (400x400) but at least not quite as distracting.

I used to use ad-blocking software (from, but stopped
because it seemed to slow things down.  Maybe I'll try it again.  I
also had a nice program that I used to use on the Mac, called WebFree.
Both are free.  Guidescope used to cause frequent javascript errors
because many of the ads it was blocking were in JS code.  But I
figured out how to stop IE from warning me about JS errors all the
time, so that was ok.

Also, I've heard some good things about Proxomitron if you really want to
go crazy with customized filtering of advertisements, cookies, etc.

Let me know how it goes!