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flash player reinstalls automatically after uninstall

New Here ,
Dec 21, 2020 Dec 21, 2020

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I am trying to remove Flash Player from Windows 10. If I use the uninstaller on the app list, the program is removed, but upon restart, it reappears in my app list. The same thing happens if I use the Adobe uninstaller. And I have used the Microsoft uninstall they pushed out a few weeks ago.

 

The program is listed in my apps list as Adobe Flash Player 28 PPAPI.

 

To be clear, I am not talking about the Flash embedded in browsers, but the Flash program on my computer.

 

Any advice? I'm guessing there is some instruction in there somewhere telling adobe to install.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 21, 2020 Dec 21, 2020

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Where do you see this "app list" exactly? Please show a screen shot. Flash Player is not actually an app. It is NOT a program on your computer at all. Flash Player is ONLY a browser plug-in. There may be Flash-related apps but uninstalling the browser plug-in won't affect them.

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New Here ,
Dec 21, 2020 Dec 21, 2020

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Windows calls programs apps. I'm not uninstalling a browser plugin. Here is a photo of Windows 10 showing it on the program list.

 

 

clairea76016796_0-1608566972076.png

 

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New Here ,
Dec 21, 2020 Dec 21, 2020

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I can uninstall it directly from this installed programs list. But it reappears after restart.

clairea76016796_0-1608567170322.png

 

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New Here ,
Dec 21, 2020 Dec 21, 2020

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And there lotsa files:

clairea76016796_1-1608567570475.pngclairea76016796_2-1608567611156.pngclairea76016796_3-1608567676051.pngclairea76016796_4-1608567817824.png

 

 

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New Here ,
Dec 21, 2020 Dec 21, 2020

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OH!!!! I have learned that the Flash Player software program is connected to Adobe Reader which uses it. When Flash is discontinue at the end of the year, a patch will be sent out to update Reader and remove the Flash program files.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 22, 2020 Dec 22, 2020

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Where did you read this, Claire? Acrobat Reader CAN make use of Flash to show some kinds of PDF files. However, it has not included Flash program files for many years, so there is nothing to remove.

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New Here ,
Dec 22, 2020 Dec 22, 2020

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I was able to contact Adobe support and this is what I was told. I quizzed the person extensively about this and he assured me over and over that if I would wait until after the end of the year, Flash and all of its files tucked everywhere would be removed and any Adobe products, such as A. Reader, would be updated. This morning Adobe sent me this note: 

Please refer this article below if you face any issue while removing the Flash Player from your computer after 31th December.

https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-windows.html

Of course, I have read the contents of this page many time before, tried to follow the instructions, and know that I somehow do not have the authorization on my computer to change or delete ANY of these files or change the permissions. That is what I have been chasing.

to follow these instructions:

Delete all the files in C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash
C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash
%appdata%\Adobe\Flash Player
%appdata%\Macromedia\Flash Player

and set these mms.cfg values to 1 (which I THINK disables them)

AutoUpdateDisable=0
SilentAutoUpdateEnable=0

 

I guess I will wait to see what happens. And if Flash continues to live on my computer, I can try to get through to Adobe again. 

I am not a programmer or computer expert of any sort. I'm a simple rube trying to understand and take the action to get this fixed.


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Adobe Employee ,
Dec 22, 2020 Dec 22, 2020

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The FlahUtil_Activex files are associated with Microsoft's embedded Flash Player in IE/Edge.  The standalone uninstaller does NOT remove these and never has.  Microsoft has released an update, https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4577586/update-for-removal-of-adobe-flash-player, to remove the embedded Flash Player ActiveX.  The update is currenetly optional and once executed completely removes the embedded Flash Player ActiveX.  If you encounter issues running this update to remove the embedded Flash Player ActiveX Control please contact Micrsoft for assistance as this is their update, not Adobe's.

 

The FlashUtil64_Version_pepper files are Flash Player for Chromium-based browsers.  The standalone uninstaller, https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-windows.html, should remove these files.

 

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New Here ,
Dec 22, 2020 Dec 22, 2020

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I have used both of uninstallers without any problem. Yet the Adobe Flash Player 28 PPAPI reinstalls itself upon restart of my computer, hence my post.

 

I spoke to Microsoft support yesterday about this. I was told that must speak to Adobe about the files that are on my computer. So I did. As i mentioned in my post above, I was told to wait until after the end of the year (EOL), and then Flash and all of its files tucked everywhere in my computer would be removed and any Adobe products, such as A. Reader, would be updated. This morning Adobe sent me this note: 

Please refer this article below if you face any issue while removing the Flash Player from your computer after 31th December.

https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-windows.html

 

Of course, I have read the contents of this page many time before, tried to follow the instructions, and know that I somehow do not have the authorization on my computer to change or delete ANY of these files or change the permissions. That is what I have been chasing.

to follow these instructions:

Delete all the files in C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash
C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash
%appdata%\Adobe\Flash Player
%appdata%\Macromedia\Flash Player

and set these mms.cfg values to 1 (which I THINK disables them)

AutoUpdateDisable=0
SilentAutoUpdateEnable=0

 

------------------------

 

Does this match up with the knowledge you have?

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 04, 2021 Jan 04, 2021

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Flash Player is EOL at this point.  While I have a couple theories about what may be going on (my strong suspicion is that Windows is trying to auto-resume the installation, because newer Win10 versions try to resume windows that were open at shutdown/reboot, and I can see competing Windows Updates and Flash Updates in this kind of race condition), they're basically moot at this point. 

 

Here's the Windows uninstaller:

 

Uninstall Flash Player - Windows:

https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-windows.html

 

If you uninstall and reboot and still get the PPAPI installer launching, it's definitely not us doing the launching.  The uninstaller removes all the automatic update infrastructure (and even in that instance, we'd be running a silent installer or would give you a notification dialog that you'd need to click before launching the installer). 

 

I'm guessing that the installer that's getting launched lives in either your Downloads folder or Desktop.  Deleting it should solve the issue.  You might get an error message about the file not being found on next boot, but it will be a useful clue in determining what's actually causing it to launch.  I'm pretty confident that it's something external to us -- either Windows, or if you're a member of an enterprise domain, something getting deployed automatically to you that's not working like it should (your IT team should be able to suss that out, though). 

 

Here's a little guide I found on turning off the auto-resume feature in Windows:

https://www.winhelponline.com/blog/stop-auto-reopen-programs-restart-windows-10/

 

If that doesn't help, you might be able to find a clue in the Event Viewer around start-up time.

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New Here ,
Jan 04, 2021 Jan 04, 2021

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Thank you for your advice! Oh, how I miss having an IT department, one of the disadvantages of being retired.

 

This Flash program continues to live on my computer, despite the nice man from Adobe phone support telling me it would be removed automatically after 12/31. And after downloading the uninstaller again today and uninstalling it. Upon restart, it reappears (with some lag) on my program list.

 

I have long ago turned off the auto-resume, several weeks ago I deleted all the downloads and there's nothing on my desktop.

I have disabled the Adobe Udater Startup Utility in Task Manager. 

I looked in the Event Viewer, but I don't know where to look or what to look for.

 

I'd like to be able to execute the instructions (as posted below) on the Adobe Uninstaller webpage you posted-- I think they would solve my problem, but I am unable to get my computer to allow me to do this even though I am signed in as administrator:

adobe instructions.JPG

   

This is a screen shot of my C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash

 

 

Any more advice?

 

 

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New Here ,
Jan 04, 2021 Jan 04, 2021

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Also, i have tried to change the permissions on the Flash folder, but everything is grayed out.

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 03, 2021 Feb 03, 2021

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Was this a Windows 7 machine that was later upgraded to Windows 10?

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 03, 2021 Feb 03, 2021

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Just so you don't have to wait, here's what I'm thinking about...  

 

You're definitely into weird IT territory.  It would have given the helpdesk person something to chew on.  🙂

 

One of the earlier versions of Win10 would bring the Win7 installation of Flash along during the upgrade, and then because the folders were managed by Microsoft, you ended up stuck with this vestigal copy of Flash that you couldn't delete.  Upgrading to the latest version of Win10 should solve that if that's what is going on.

 

The reinstallation thing is spooky, and I'm wondering if all the DLLs and .exe files in those directories are actually signed by Adobe and have valid code signing certificates. 

 

It's possible that there's an application on the machine that is bundling a copy of Flash Player (Flash 28 is pretty old).  If it is, it probably launches on startup, and when it notices that Flash Player isn't installed, kicks off the bundled installer.  This kind of redistribution (sans explicit license from Adobe) would be in violation of our EULA, so I'd expect that it's something pretty niche -- software from a shop that's too small to have developers or lawyers that know better, or aren't worried about it because it's not commercial and they just needed to knock something out for a niche use-case and wanted to make sure it didn't generate support calls.  It's pretty weird that it's 32-bit too.  All the modern browsers are 64-bit (unless this is a 32-bit Win10 machine, which would be possible but weird) -- the large/sparse memory address space really helps with security.  Hopefully that might ring some bells.


That alternative is that it's malware, and if those files are modified, the code signing signatures would fail.  If you want to hide something on a machine, you'll pick files that most people have.  Impersonating Flash is a good way to hide in plain sight.  I'm assuming that it's probably just the naive case, but it wouldn't be unheard of to see malware impersonating Flash.

 

Also, "ppapi" denotes the Pepper Plug-In API, which is the browser plug-in model for Chromium-based browser like Opera.  Both Google Chrome and modern Edge use PPAPI, but they keep their files elsewhere.  Our uninstaller should delete that, so I'm thinking that this is specfically what keeps getting resinstalled, and it's something on the machine that kicks it off.

 

Electron.js is a cross-platform application development toolset that uses PPAPI plug-ins, so if someone built a desktop application that used Flash, and they bundled a Flash installer inappropriately, there's a good chance that it's an electron app.  Probably something built in the last couple years.  Not sure if that helps narrow it down at all.  🙂

 

The fact that the Microsoft update for Flash Player removal didn't remove Flash.ocx is weird, and if it was an installation from Win7 or below, it would have a version in the filename like Flash_32_x_x_x.ocx.  The fact that it's missing indicates that this is the file that Microsoft shipped.  There were a number of choices for that removal update.  Maybe you grabbed the wrong one?

 

If you can just delete C:\Windows\System32\Macromed\Flash and C:\Windows\Syswow64\Macromed\Flash, that might work, but I'm guessing that you lack permissions to do that.

 

You might run the disk checker and see if the filesystem is in good shape.  That could inject weirdness.  At that point, I'd run the Microsoft System File Checker.  That may clear up weirdness with Flash permissions that were preventing the update for Flash removal from deleting them.

 

These instructions look reasonable:

https://www.techjunkie.com/fix-hard-drives-chkdsk-windows-10/

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/using-system-file-checker-in-windows-10-365e0031-36b1-60...

 

Also, booting into safe mode and then running the uninstallers might be a good trick.  If something is firing up at start-up and keeping Flash in-use such that you never get a free window to delete it, booting into safe mode with prevent that from happening.  Once complete, you can check to see if those folders are empty and reboot back into normal mode.

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/start-your-pc-in-safe-mode-in-windows-10-92c27cff-db89-8...

 

 

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New Here ,
Feb 13, 2021 Feb 13, 2021

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New Here ,
Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021

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no

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New Here ,
Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021

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Thanks for your great post!
1) I have a computer that came with window 10

2) Today I tried all the suggestions you provided, with no luck. I'm going to check with Malwarebytes to see if they can help. I noticed that HP's Solution Center doesn't work anymore b/c it used Flash, so this means whatever is on my computer, is not making Flash work.

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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Yeah, malwarebytes seems like a good next step.  

 

Out of curiosity, did it launch the Flash installer when you booted into safe mode (it shouldn't have)?  If not, what's in your list of startup programs?

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/change-which-apps-run-automatically-at-startup-in-window...

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New Here ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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The installer did not launch in safe mode.

Perhaps of interest. . . I went in and out of safe mode once without having deleted AFP 28 PPAPI first. So I repeated the safe mode after deleting the app using the Adobe remover. It was not there, but upon restart, there was an error and my computer had to collect some files to reopen. Does this signify anything?

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New Here ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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this is a screen shot of the top list of apps in safe mode.

BTW, several weeks ago when I was fruitlessly trying to modify the permissions on some of the files, this same thing happened to me. I don't remember now which files I had modified.

I just repeated the uninstall, safe mode, restart and got the same error.

 

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New Here ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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Also, the CHKDSK analysis was not able to be completed. It was running in the fix range when it quit.

 

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New Here ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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I think in fix, anyway. It was when I last looked at it.

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 17, 2021 Feb 17, 2021

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If the Windows disk checker tool is crashing while it's checking the disk, that's not a good sign.   It's definitely time to back up anything important if you haven't done that already.

 

I get that this might feel like a cop-out, but I think you're beyond the point where I can offer you a surgial solution for dealing with Flash.  If I were doing tech support for a living, at this point, I would point you to HP -- especially if the machine is under warranty.  All signs point to a problem at the disk.

 

If it was my personal machine, at this point, I'd skip the frustration of convicing tech support that the disk was dying, replace the hard disk with a nice SSD for $150-250 and reinstall Windows.  You could maybe format the disk (or on Win10, refresh/reset the OS) and hope the disk continues to work, but it's unlikely that it's just a software-level issue or poorly timed shutdown.  The modern filesystems are super reliable.  My experience says that it will start acting weird again on some other front within a couple weeks (assume the disk doesn't just abruptly die on you first) and you'll have to do the whole thing again.  I've done that one too many times myself, and it's enough of a hassle to reinstall and reconfigure everything that I don't want to do it twice.

 

If it didn't have a solid-state disk in it already, I'd take the opportunity to upgrade.  They're a little more expensive, but faster and more reliable, and the modern ones have a much longer lifetime than the first generation SSDs. 

 

Windows installation disks don't come with computers anymore, so there's usually a way to make a bootable USB key that reinstalls everything.  You'll want a big-enough, virus-free USB key to do that with, and you'll want to do that before replacing the existing disk. 

 

This might not be the right guide for your computer, but it generally maps to what I would expect: 

https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c04731185

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New Here ,
Mar 15, 2021 Mar 15, 2021

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I ran chkdsk c: / f / r / x again it ran through the whole routine, no problem.

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