Microsoft today said that it will finally end support for Adobe Flash Player in its web browsers by January 2021, confirming a coordinated announcement made together with Apple, Adobe, Facebook, Google, and Mozilla in July 2017.
Adobe says that Flash Player will no longer be updated and distributed after December 31, 2020.
The decision was taken because of the dwindling numbers of people still using Flash Player, and due to more secure and better-performing open tech such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly.
“In keeping with this plan, Microsoft is ending support for Adobe Flash Player on Microsoft Edge (both the new Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Edge Legacy) and Internet Explorer 11 at the end of 2020,” Microsoft program manager Suchithra Gopinath said today.
According to Microsoft’s schedule of changes, Adobe Flash removal is going into effect with the release of Microsoft Edge v88, at the same time that it will happen in the Chromium project, in Google Chrome v88.
Disabled by default starting with January 2021
“After December 2020, you will no longer receive ‘Security Update for Adobe Flash Player’ from Microsoft that applies to Microsoft Edge Legacy and Internet Explorer 11,” Gopinath added.
“Beginning in January 2021, Adobe Flash Player will be disabled by default and all versions older than KB4561600 released in June 2020 will be blocked.”
In the Fall of 2020, the company will publish an ‘Update for Removal of Adobe Flash Player’ via Windows Update, WSUS, and the Microsoft Update Catalog that will completely and permanently remove Flash from all Windows devices.
Customers who want to remove Flash support before its official end of support will be able to use the update after downloading it from the Update Catalog and running it on their systems.
Users won’t be able to uninstall the update once deployed on their computers — at first, it will be optional during early 2021, with Microsoft to start recommending it during the following months.
During the summer of 2021, the update will start rolling out to users who haven’t yet installed it as a Cumulative Update or a Monthly Rollup update.
Microsoft will also remove Flash-related downloadable resources from all its download platforms once Flash reaches its end of support.
In Summer of 2021, all the APIs, group policies, and user interfaces that specifically govern the behavior of Adobe Flash Player will be removed from Microsoft Edge (legacy) and Internet Explorer 11 via the latest “Cumulative Update” on Windows 10 platforms and via “Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer 11” or “Monthly Rollup” on Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard.
To live on as an Edge plug-in for enterprise users
According to an Adobe announcement, enterprise users who still use internal business systems requiring Flash Player commercial licensing and support to function can reach out to the company’s official distribution licensing partner, HARMAN.
Microsoft also says that customers will still be able to run such software solutions in an enterprise environment with the help of dedicated Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer plug-ins.
“To aid such customers, Microsoft Edge will allow Adobe Flash Player to load as a plug-in via the IE mode feature,” Microsoft said.
“Inherently, Internet Explorer 11 will also allow this. Once you make the switch from Microsoft provided Adobe Flash Player, it will be treated as any other third-party plug-in and will not receive Customer Support from Microsoft.”