December 14, 2016 10:00 am

Extending User Control of Flash with Click-to-Run

Adobe Flash has been an integral part of the web for decades, enabling rich content and animations in browsers since before HTML5 was introduced. In modern browsers, web standards pioneered by Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Apple, Mozilla, and many others are now enabling sites to exceed those experiences without Flash and with improved performance and security. Starting in the Anniversary Edition of Windows 10, we began to give users more control over Flash by selectively pausing certain Flash content, like ads, that were not central to the page.

In our next release, we will extend this functionality and encourage the transition to HTML5 alternatives by providing additional user control over when Flash content loads. Windows Insiders will be able to try an early implementation of this feature soon in upcoming preview builds. The user experience will evolve as we move towards a stable release in the Windows 10 Creator’s Update next year.

Sites that support HTML5 will default to a clean HTML5 experience. In these cases, Flash will not even be loaded, improving performance, battery life, and security. For sites that still depend on Flash, users will have the opportunity to decide whether they want Flash to load and run, and this preference can be remembered for subsequent visits.

Screen capture showing an Edge browser window with a dialog from the address bar which reads "Adobe Flash content was blocked. Do you want to allow Adobe Flash to run on this site?" The options are Close, Allow Once, and Allow Always.

Sample of the user experience when the user clicks on a blocked Flash control.

We are deeply aware that Flash is an integral part of many web experiences today. To ease the transition to HTML5, these changes initially will not affect the most popular sites which rely on Flash today. In the coming months, we will actively monitor Flash consumption in Microsoft Edge and will gradually shorten the list of automatic exceptions. At the end of this process, users will remain in control, and will be able to choose Flash for any site they visit.

We advise web developers to migrate to standardized content delivery mechanisms like JavaScript and HTML5 Encrypted Media Extensions, Media Source Extensions, Canvas, Web Audio, and RTC in the coming months.

This change will provide all users improved performance, greater stability, and stronger security. These changes are similar to updates coming from our friends at Apple, Mozilla, and Google. We look forward to continued work with these partners, and with Adobe, to improve the capabilities and security of the web for all users.

― John Hazen, PM Manager, Microsoft Edge
Crispin Cowan, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge

Updated December 15, 2016 9:55 am

Join the conversation

  1. Nice move, but before you freeze the feature, test enabling flash on element-by-element, not on page-by-page basis.

    Typical scenario is somehow useful Flash content in the center of the page and Flash Ads (or Flash Malware injection) on the sides.

  2. What I really want is for the control to only load flash when I decide. I don’t want Microsoft to produce a list of exceptions for me, I want to start with an empty list of exceptions.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I would love to be able to personalize the updates that are available or have options on what the updates can offer and chosre the option I feel works bet for me on my PC

  3. Got this feature now with the 15063 build of Windows 10, but there is a problem: Some websites recognize the non-flash-capability and deactivate the plugin on the code base (with no other substitute at all) – and so Edge does not ask anymore to enable Flash because there is no flash anymore. Is there any possibility to edit the white list manually?