How to run Flash in 2021: Flash Player EOL Workarounds!

How to run Flash in 2021: Flash Player EOL Workarounds!

On January 12, Adobe activated their End-Of-Life Killswitch, disabling Flash Player on millions of machines worldwide. Needless to say, not everyone is happy with the decision.

Many members of the Flash community have come up with workarounds to continue to run .swf files in the post-EOL era. Read on to find a workaround that best suits you!

Do you still use Flash Player? Data Horde is conducting a survey to see how frequently people continue to use Flash Player even at the very end of its lifespan. It would mean a lot to us if you could spare 5-10 minutes to complete a very short survey.


Emulation:

It’s still possible to run Flash Media (.swf files) without actually using Flash Player. Two mature Flash Player emulators are Ruffle (ActionScript 1&2) and Lightspark (ActionScript 3). Ruffle even has an online demo if you’d like to see it in action before installing.

You can find a more thorough list of emulators in the Flash Player Emergency Kit.

Chrome Flags:

If you’re using any version of Google Chrome, up to and including Google Chrome 87, you might not have to install anything at all! You should be able to continue to use an older version of Flash Player which was immune to the effects of the EOL Killswitch.

Simply run Chrome with the --allow-outdated-plugins flag:

# On Windows:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --allow-outdated-plugins

# On Mac:
/Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome --allow-outdated-plugins

# On Linux
google-chrome --allow-outdated-plugins

# For instructions on how to specify flags on other systems see http://www.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/run-chromium-with-flags

Downgraded Firefox:

In addition to the EOL killswitch, Adobe have gone out of their way to remove downloads for previous versions of Flash Player from their website. That being said, there are ways to acquire a past versions of Flash Player, immune to the EOL killswitch.

An out-of-the-box solution is to install Waterfox, a modern fork of Firefox which also supports a lot of legacy features including Flash Player. Another option is Basilisk, up to version 2020.11.25 anyway.

If you would rather stick to a more traditional approach, u/Cifra85 made a Reddit post on how to install a portable Firefox Browser which comes bundled with an older version of Flash Player:

If you’re concerned about incompatibility, another option is Firefox 78 ESR (Extended Support Release) which will continue receiving updates until September of this year.

Modify Configuration File:

Edit:

Adobe has made it no secret that they intend to offer a killswitch workaround for enterprise customers, via their partner HARMAN, starting February. Leave it to the online Flash community to discover it in January!

Edit 5 May 2021: Consider installing FlashPatch, a tool which greatly simplifies the steps described below.

Spider, an Adventure Quest fanatic, was one of the first people to discover that all it took was a couple of modifications to a configuration file!

Note that AllowListUrlPattern should take whichever domain you want to be able to access

If you’re not on Windows, mms.cfg goes in /Library/Application Support/Macromedia on Mac and /etc/adobe/ on Linux. For more details on mms.cfg see Flash Player 32’s manual (page 41).

Flash Player Projector:

Using the Flash Player projectors, it’s possible to run .swf’s outside of a browser, with some minor limitations. Strangely projectors for Windows, Mac and Linux have not been removed from from Adobe’s website and are still available.

Flash Player projectors can be downloaded from Adobe’s Flashplayer Debug Downloads Section, and mirrors can be found on the Wayback Machine and the Internet Archive.

Alternative Ways of Running Old Versions of Flash:

Another unique solution is to use the Cloud Browser Puffin, which can render Flash content remotely. Do note that Puffin is not free on every platform.

As a final workaround, you can try running an old version of Flash Player outside of a browser. Although there are a number of third-party archives out there, setting these up can be non-trivial.

Instead we would highly recommend Bluemaxima’s Flashpoint, a Flash game/animation Browser of sorts which comes with a built-in older version of Flash Player.


We hope you were able to find a solution that works for you. If you have any comments or suggestions let us know at datahorde@gamingalexandria.com.

Now go on and spread the word! Tell all your friends and family how they can continue to use Flash Player even in 2021!

14 Comments

  1. hugo santana

    excelente opcion del Firefox portable

  2. Anonymous

    The portable Firefox worked great! Thank you!

  3. Anonymous

    lol this is capppppp

    lol im kiddin, it’s great idiots :))))))))

  4. gra

    portable option just gives me a black screen. i clicked option allow but nothing happens 🙁

  5. Erick

    Portable version works for me! Thanks a lot!

  6. Luis Bracamontes

    Thank you so much for the portable Firefox! It worked on an old VMware cluster that needed flash to run!

  7. nicholas chua

    dear sir,

    What if I am using OCX, where shall I change it? I wrote a dot net program to access this OCX without going through browser.

  8. Anonymous

    The flash player projector is the only thing that actually works offline without any third party crap. Thank you for being basically the only tech site to include it.

    • themadprogramer

      I don’t believe there is any other no-third party option at all. Besides the projectors, the next best thing is to hack your browser (which is probably already installed) but that too comes with a bit of overhead.

  9. Zach

    I’m getting the message, “This plugin is vulnerable and should be updated.”

  10. K.C. Cooper

    Anyone know how to fix the “download failed” error that happens in Chrome on Mac?
    I accidentally allowed Chrome to update past 87, but even after uninstalling it, reinstalling version 87, and blocking Chrome updates, the error persists. It seems like the Chrome update left something behind that stops Flash Player from working.

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