Out-of-date Flash ActiveX controls to be blocked starting on October 11

Microsoft, SmartScreen

For some, Flash cannot die soon enough. When it was first introduced, Flash served to make the internet as whole more interactive. Flash brought animations, video, transitions, and a whole host of neat features to a predominately 2D web experience comprised of bland web pages only sparsely decorated with low-resolution jpegs.

Now Flash serves as either the annoying ad conduit for garishly pushy marketers ultimately dragging the internet experience to a crawl or amateur web designers stuck in a late 1990’s user interface class for the web. Either way, Flash has seemingly run its course for most web users, and Microsoft is taking note.

The Microsoft Edge development team is now issuing a note to users that:

Starting on October 11, 2016, we’re expanding the out-of-date ActiveX control blocking feature to include outdated versions of Adobe Flash Player. This update notifies you when a Web page tries to load a Flash ActiveX control older than (but not including):

  • Adobe Flash Player version 21.0.0.198
  • Adobe Flash Player Extended Support Release version 18.0.0.241

On top of the warning of loss of support for Flash ActiveX controls for casual users of comes the more substantive mention of how Microsoft plans to handle Flash ActiveX in the more commonly used commercial sector.

Remember, out-of-date ActiveX controls aren’t blocked in the Local Intranet Zone or the Trusted Sites Zone, so your intranet sites and trusted line-of-business apps should continue to use ActiveX controls without any disruption.

If you want to see what happens when a user goes to a Web page with an out-of-date Flash ActiveX control after October 11, 2016, you can run this test:

  • On a test computer, install the most recent cumulative update for Internet Explorer.
  • Open a command prompt and run this command to stop downloading updated versions of the versionlist.xml file:
  • reg add “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\VersionManager” /v DownloadVersionList /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

As much as the internet would seemingly like to be done with Flash, it must be noted how pervasive the technology had become. As it stands, it’s taking a much longer and more concerted effort to evolve the internet beyond the crutch of Flash and, hopefully, Microsoft’s newest efforts can help turn the tide of ‘necessary’ Flash support.

For more details on what this means for customers running Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 or to see how to test .xml files, visit the Microsoft Edge Developer blog.

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