How to change Flash Player update settings


Updated: June 10, 2013

This sounds like a trivial topic. But it is not. Once in a while, you get that new flash Player dark gray popup that tells you there's a new update available. You install it, and then you are asked how you want to configure notifications. You can choose to auto-update the player, receive messages without installations, or received no update at all. What happens if you select the wrong option? The popup goes away, your action will be retained, but now you changed your mind. What happens next?

In this tutorial, I will show you how you can easily tweak your update regime, switching between modes as it suits you, even after that lovely gray popup notice goes away. This will help you retain full control of your Flash Player, without compromising on security or convenience. Or both. Follow me.

Update notice

Flash Player update

Since version 11, Adobe Flash Player gives you notifications, usually on every logon into your Windows box. On Linux, this does not apply, as you receive patches through your package manager.

So you do your due diligence, and then you accidentally select the first option - automatic updates. Since, you've changed your mind, but there will be no more prompts. You begin to panic. Then, you try to be smart. You try to figure out how this update is invoked, and you learn it's done using a scheduled task on logon. You explore the task, you find the exact command that is run, but trying that manually does nothing. So you seem stuck.

Task Scheduler

You also try using the online Settings Manager. But it makes no difference.

Flash Player Settings Manager

How to change the update regime

Simplest solution, and this was suggested by a reader named Gord, thanks! Anyhow, you can access the Flash Player settings in the Control Panel. Under the Advanced tab, you can change the Updates regime. Click on the Change Update Settings button, accept the UAC prompt and then select the desired option. And that it's, simple and elegant.

Flash Player settings in Control Panel

If you want to try something else, then here's the rest of my article, as originally posted. Do not skip, as the stuff below is an important exercise in dabbling with configuration files, and working under da hood. Emphasis on the word da, to make it sound leet.

Then, you remember we dabbled in the Protected Mode in order to resolve performance issues in Flash. And you begin to understand how it needs to be done. You will have to copy the mms.cfg configuration file out of its installation directory, make a desired manual change, then place the file back where it belongs. It's all outlined in the article above, step by step. In our particular case, we want the SilentAutoUpdateEnable directive.

mms.cfg configuration file

If you want automatic updates, set it to 1:

SilentAutoUpdateEnable=1

If you do not want, set it to 0. And then, you will get your prompt the next time the scheduled task launches the update, and there's one available for you. You can disable the checks altogether by editing the first directive. And that's all, really. Magic.

Conclusion

Nothing is irreversible. Nothing needs invoke panic. Well, not quite nothing. If you happen to spill hot coffee into your tower case, then there might be some reason for fear and worry, but software configuration changes are usually always fully reversible. The important thing is not to lose your senses and proceed carefully.

In this particular case, it seems as if there's a gap between the visual prompt and the actual work in the background, but it's really quite simple. No matter what choice you make when the prompt comes up, you can always change it. Well, I guess this ought to be quite useful. You learned yet another dandy trick. And we revisited the idea of working step by step, analyzing the problem, and we also got somewhat more familiar with the scheduled tasks, the Flash Player configuration file, and refreshed our memory regarding the online Settings Manager. All in all, a worthy ten minutes of your time. Enjoy.

Cheers.

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