February 1, 2005

Firefox to the rescue at work

One of the computers at work, for whatever reason, refused to have Macromedia Flash working in Internet Explorer (Exploiter). It looks like it would install, but would refuse to load any Flash files. IT took a look at it, tried many things, but was unable to fix it. This was at least a month ago. The need for this particular computer to view Flash came up again, and last night as I was playing around, I noticed that Firefox used a different download for Flash than IE. I installed Firefox on this computer, then Flash, and it played Flash files just fine. Needless to say the user for this computer was pleased. I was pleased to see Open Source software once again succeed where proprietary software has problems (in case you were wondering, ask about my adventure in formating my brand new hard drives when I first got my current computer).


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got it squared away, but the original symptom is usually solvable directly too... here are the most common ways I've seen to get "won't play in IE/Win" these days:

(a) blocking software is installed, and forgotten (this is hands-down the most frequent cause of similar descriptions these days)

(b) Macromedia Flash Player was already installed, but damaged, and replacement was impossible (the technotes advise "uninstall and install clean" to catch this scenario)

(c) an old player was installed, and an update attempted, but the system-level ActiveX Control was in use and could not be unregistered to allow its replacement to be used (this is the cause of that occasional "must restart" dialog)

(d) security settings were high and not adjusted to allow installs (in Service Pack 2 the interface to this changed a bit)

And yes, you're right about that "different download" in Firefox... Netscape introduced a browser extension mechanism via Netscape Plugins, and most every browser uses this mechanism today. IE/Win, however, chose system-level ActiveX Controls for its extension mechanism. It's the same Macromedia Flash Player in both browsers, but the wrappers differ between Netscape Plugins and ActiveX Controls.

John Dowdell
Macromedia Support

Steve said...

Hi John,

Thanks for the suggestions. No blocking software was on the computer (that we know of, at least - unless it is one that can get installed with only user rights, only a select few of us can install programs and we communicate with each other). No Flash Player was on the computer already - we had tried doing the uninstall as mentioned on Macromedia's site and doing a fresh install - both trying the download from Macromedia's site and through a downloaded copy that IT has. Our security settings were not at high (still on Windows 2000).

An odd fluke, one that probably would've been solved by reimaging the machine, but we didn't want to go to that level. Thanks for the post and thanks to Macromedia for the great programs they make.