How to Fix a Flash Player

By Aaron Parson

Many websites use Adobe's Flash Player to display animated content, including videos, games and interactive menus. Though many sites now offer alternate platforms because many mobile devices don't support Flash, it remains a staple of desktop Web browsing. If Flash Player doesn't work correctly, you might need to adjust your Flash settings or update the plugin. If nothing else works, you can try uninstalling Flash completely and reinstalling it from scratch.

Using Hardware Acceleration

Hardware acceleration in Flash utilizes your computer's graphics hardware to take some of the load off your processor. Usually, enabling this option improves performance, but occasionally it can cause problems. As a first step in troubleshooting, try toggling the option to the alternate setting to check for any improvement. Right-click on a Flash object, pick "Settings" and open the leftmost tab. Check or uncheck "Enable Hardware Acceleration" and see if your problem is resolved.

Checking Global Settings

Flash offers a few settings that, if set incorrectly, can cause certain websites to not work. Open the Flash Player Settings Manager from within the Windows Control Panel. On the "Storage" tab, choose to "Allow" sites to save data or to "Ask" for each individually -- blocking all local storage makes many Flash objects work incorrectly. If you're having trouble with a webcam or microphone, make sure you don't have them blocked on the "Camera & Mic" tab.

Updating or Reinstalling Flash

Updating to the latest version of Flash can resolve problems caused by bugs in the software. Updates also contain important security patches, so using outdated versions can put your system at risk. Check your version number against the latest version by visiting the Flash Player test page (link in Resources). If you have an old version, follow the link on the test page to download an update. Note that Chrome includes its own version of Flash that updates automatically and does not require manual installation. Normally, you can install the newest version of Flash on top of existing versions, but if your problem still remains, try uninstalling Flash from the Programs and Features Control Panel and installing it again.

Changing Flash Versions in Chrome

If Flash Player won't work properly in Chrome, try forcing Chrome to use the regular Flash plugin in place of the built-in version. First, install Flash as normal from Adobe's website, then open Chrome and enter "chrome:plugins" without quotation marks into the address bar. On the Plug-ins page, click "Details" and scroll down to find Adobe Flash Player. You'll see two entries for Flash: Click the "Disable" link under the entry that has a location ending in "pepflashplayer.dll" and restart the browser, and Chrome will use the regular version of Flash.

Version Warning

Information in this article applies to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or operating systems.