Remove Adobe Flash (End of Life)

On 31st of December 2020, Adobe Flash is officially EOL (end of life). Flash was truly ahead of it’s time when it was launched back in 1996, and more than 20 years later I still found myself to have a bit of nostalgia and go to miniclip.com to play some Flash games.

However, when a product meets its EOL, it is highly recommended that you shouldn’t have it on your machine (or use any websites/3rd party tools which rely on it) anymore.

But to completely remove Adobe Flash from a Windows machine, there are actually two steps that must be performed:

  1. Uninstall Flash Player using the uninstaller from Adobe website
  2. Apply a KB from Microsoft website

So why is there a need for these two steps? Well, Adobe Flash was indeed a software that you could download officially from Adobe website, and that plugin would be applied for browsers like Firefox.

But Windows 10 comes with Flash preinstalled on the machine and it’s included with Microsoft Edge (pre-chromium) and Internet Explorer. It made life much easier for non-experienced Windows users who didn’t know what Flash is or how to install it. That is why, the second KB must be installed.

Uninstall Flash plugin

The steps to uninstall the Flash plugin (installed from Adobe website) are quite easy:

  1. Download the uninstaller from here
  2. Double-click the downloaded file and follow the instructions
  3. Delete files from the following folders:
  • C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash
  • C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash
  • %appdata%\Adobe\Flash Player
  • %appdata%\Macromedia\Flash Player

Uninstall Flash from Windows OS

Although it might sound tricky, it’s really not that difficult to uninstall the Flash which came with the OS. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click on Start and type winver.exe (press Enter)

  1. See what OS version you have (in the screenshot above, it’s version 2004)
  2. Go to the Microsoft Update Catalog
  3. Although the KB number is the same (KB4577586), the update media is different depending on your OS version. Search in the Title for the corresponding OS version and architecture of your system. In my case i downloaded Update for Removal of Adobe Flash Player for Windows 10 Version 1903 for x64-based systems (KB4577586) because my system architecture is 64 bit, and OS version is higher than 1903.
  4. Run the downloaded MSU and follow the steps

As a quick note, once you applied this update (KB4577586), the only way to get back Flash is to revert to an old snapshot, or install Windows 10 again and don’t apply the update again.

Unfortunately, this update is not yet available in WSUS and it cannot be found in SCCM. For the moment, only by a manual import it can be added in SCCM. A very good guide on how to achieve this can be found on Anoop’s Blog.

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