Before I tell you how to delete Adobe Flash Player 20 NPAPI, there are a few important things you need to know:
What does Flash Player do?
“Adobe Flash Player is a plugin that allows browsers such as Firefox to display Flash media on web pages. Flash is often used for animations, videos and games. This article explains how to install Flash.
When you visit a webpage that uses Flash and the plugin is missing, you will see the message “A plugin is needed to display this content” for parts of the page that require Flash (if at all)..”
That’s a quote taken directly from the Mozilla website. But what does it mean in practical terms? It means that animations created in Flash need Flash Player to work. This often means parts of certain websites that use Flash for bling won’t work…but only ‘parts’. It also means that browser games created with Flash need Flash Player to work. Get rid of Flash Player entirely and those things will no longer work. As far as I know, many of the browser games available via Facebook [?] use Flash. So if you play them, be warned [of course you don’t have to use this version of Flash Player!]
But…having just completely deleted Flash Player from my computer I can tell you that nothing I use on a daily basis has been affected. And by nothing I mean:
- Youtube works fine [for music videos, haven’t tried anything else]
- Jigsaws work
- WordPress works [obviously]
- Soundcloud works
- My internet banking works [Bendigo Bank]
- And my MMOs work
In fact, everything seems to be loading faster, not just Firefox, but that could just be a weird kind of digital placebo effect.
Why delete Adobe Flash Player 20 NPAPI in the first place?
In a nutshell, the latest version of Mozilla Firefox uses this version of Flash Player, but the Flash Player is crap. Mozilla Firefox whined until I updated Flash Player and I’ve regretted it ever since. Despite being a supposedly agile little browser, Firefox became slower and I noticed that crashes increased in frequency. These crashes were preceded by a sudden massive slowdown – as if I were typing each letter of a word with a sip of coffee in-between. And then, instead of getting better, it would completely freeze to the point where I would have to do:
CTRL + ALT + DEL to open Task Manager and then manually END PROCESS on Firefox and Flash Player.
The reason is that this version of Flash Player gobbles up RAM [short term memory for your computer]. I suspect there is a memory ‘leak’ responsible, but Adobe isn’t admitting to it, yet.
Anyway, when your computer runs out of ‘memory’, it’s like a car that runs out of petrol – it stops. The latest version of Firefox isn’t that great on memory either, but I might save that for a future post. For now, if you use Firefox [which uses Flash Player] and you experience ‘freezes’ then check your Task Manager to see if Flash Player is using oodles of memory.
[Note: as knowing how to use Task Manager is a great computer survival skill, I’m including it below]
How to open Task Manager in Windows 7
- On your keyboard, press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys all at the same time.
You will see a pale blue screen with just a few options on it.
- Click ‘Start Task Manager’.
[Note: it’s not possible to take a screenshot of the blue screen as it seems to be ‘outside’ the Windows environment]
After you select ‘Start Task Manager’, the following screen will be displayed:
The default tab [Applications] only shows which programmes are currently open. You can close programmes from this window but it’s easier to do it from the Processes tab where you can also see how much memory they are using.
- Click the Processes tab to open it.
I can’t show you the Flash Player memory usage because I didn’t think to take a screenshot before I deleted it completely. Mea culpa. Anyway, this is the current list of processes on my computer and will do in order to show you what to do next. So you should now be looking at your version of the Processes tab:
In order to see which programmes [i.e. processes] are using the most memory [RAM]:
- click the column heading for ‘Memory [Private Working Set]’. This will sort everything in that column. If you don’t get the largest usage up the top, click the heading a second time.
Now a word of warning – unless you know what you’re doing, don’t go shutting down processes willy nilly. Some of them use a lot of memory BUT THEY’RE MEANT TO! All you want to shut down at this point is the process for Flash Player and the one for Firefox.
[Note: As a rule of thumb, only shutdown processes which bear the user name – ‘user’. NEVER shutdown anything belonging to ‘SYSTEM’]
- Click the line that holds information about firefox.exe *32 so it’s highlighted,
- and then click the button down the bottom that says ‘End Process’.
In the example shown below, I’m ending the process for MSPaint instead of Firefox so I can keep working on this post – because, of course, WordPress only works within my browser. But you knew that, right? 🙂
Now do exactly the same thing for Flash Player and then exit from the Task Manager.
How to uninstall Flash Player for Windows XP, Vista and 7 only
If you’ve used Windows a lot you’ll know that uninstalling programmes via Control Panel doesn’t always get rid of all those pesky bits and pieces that end up as programming debris. Unfortunately, that programming debris can keep having an effect on whatever you install afterwards, so this is how to get rid of absolutely EVERYTHING belonging to Flash Player.
- First, you will need to go to the Adobe page below and download the uninstaller.
The page looks like this:
- Click ‘Uninstaller’ as shown in the screenshot above.
You will be asked to either run or save the uninstaller. I suggest saving it to somewhere that you’ll be able to find it again. On my computer, I have a special folder called ‘Software downloads’ and everything I download off the internet goes there first. Then I scan it with my anti virus software before I actually install it.
- Next, find the uninstaller – the file is called ‘uninstall flash player.exe‘ – and double click to make it run. If you get a message asking if you really want to do this, click yes.
All done? Okay, we have now uninstalled Flash Player from the main areas of the computer, but there are still some leftovers to get rid of. This is not hard, but if you have not done anything like this before, it can feel a little scary. Just take it slow, check each step and generally do NOT go messing with anything else. At least not until you know what you’re doing. 😀 [I learned that the hard way]
How to find the leftovers
Now you will navigate to 3 different locations on your computer, deleting Flash files and folders in all three.
- Click on the Start button and
- type the word ‘run’ into the search box as shown above:
Windows displays the closest matches to your search word and displays the Run command at the top of the list.
- Click the Run command as shown.
With the Run dialogue box displayed:
- Click inside the box as shown and type the following EXACTLY:
The colon is a colon, not a semi-colon. The slash is a backslash [found under the Backspace button on most keyboards] and THERE ARE NO SPACES.
When you are sure you have typed the address in correctly [it’s an address on your computer rather than the internet],
- click the OK button.
At this point you’re just driving to your destination. Nothing will happen if you take a wrong turn! If all went well, you should now be looking at a screen similar to this:
Essentially, the Run command we used simply acts as a shortcut to the folder we want to delete – i.e. Flash.
How to delete a folder
Now that we’ve arrived, we’re going to delete the whole Flash folder, including whatever is still inside.
Make sure the Flash folder is selected – i.e. click on it to highlight the folder like so:
Next, RIGHT click on the Flash folder. This will cause the context sensitive menu to be displayed. One of the options on this menu is Delete. Click the Delete option to delete the Flash folder:
Just two more folders to delete and we’re done!
**Go back to the Start button and type Run into the search box as before. But this time when the little dialogue box opens,
- type in the following:
% does mean the percent sign on your keyboard! And don’t forget to use the backslash under the Backspace key. Your Run dialogue box should now look like this:
- Click OK.
Again, the Run command will take you directly to the folder we need to delete. In this case it’s called ‘Flash Player’. Click on it to make sure it’s highlighted, then RIGHT click on it to display the context sensitive menu. Select the Delete option to delete the Flash Player folder.
Repeat all the steps from ** above but this time, the Run dialogue box should contain this :
The Run dialogue box should look like this:
- Click OK.
When you are looking at the Macromedia\Flash Player folder, RIGHT click on Flash Player and select Delete from the context sensitive menu.
And that’s it. Flash Player is completely gone from your computer. At this point, you are ready to install an earlier, less buggy version of Flash Player, safe in the knowledge that there are no leftovers to screw things up. Or, you can do what I’m going to do, which is to leave Flash Player off entirely.
If anyone is truly desperate to put a version of Flash Player back on, please let me know in comments and I’ll put together a separate how-to for that.