How To Enable Flash In Firefox Portable

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 19, 2010
Updated • Nov 22, 2012

The portable version of Firefox comes with no plugins preinstalled, and while it may make use of system wide plugins, it can still be that some necessary plugins are not available in the browser, especially if they have not been installed on the system. Adobe Flash is one of the plugins that may not be available because of this.

Firefox users who want Adobe Flash to view videos, play games or access other Flash based contents do not need to install Flash for that functionality. There is an easier and safer way.

The following guide works for Windows based portable Firefox versions. The process has two steps. The Flash plugin needs to be downloaded first, before it can be added to Firefox. Adding in this case means making it recognizable by the browser without installation.

Open another web browser or download manager and download the Flash plugin from the official Macromedia website. The plugin comes in a format that Firefox would prompt to install instead of download. Downloading it in another web browser is therefor the best solution.

The next step is to unpack the flashplayer-win.xpi file. Most unpackers like 7-Zip will have no problems unpacking the file. Users who encounter troubles should consider adding a .zip extension to the file, before trying to extract the files to the local computer system.

Locate the dynamic link library NPSWF32.dll in the extracted files, and move it to the Data > Plugins directory of the Firefox installation. Restart the browser, and check the plugins section to see if the Flash plugin has been recognized.

This is done by going to Tools > Add-ons, and switching to the Plugins tab in the new window. Another possibility would be to visit a Flash powered site to see it in action. Users should not encounter any difficulties if they have followed the instructions to the letter.

The only drawback of this method is that Flash needs to be updated manually whenever a new version becomes available.


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  1. Steve said on June 18, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Why Adobe messes up with installers due browsers need particular plugin in right directory and why inst this included in browser and why doesn’t things update inside browser ! Portable versions almost looses functionality and some things can not be resolved ! Nasty nasty nasty ! And now i have the knowledge of browser developer to do their job or what ??? I have not been seeing browser that is god enough ! Always some nasty troubles ! Why ?

  2. sgr said on April 23, 2012 at 2:43 am

    or u can grab this: gcswf32.dll from \PortableApps\GoogleChromePortable\App\Chrome-bin\18.0.1025.162\gcswf32.dll rename to NPSWF32.dll and place it here : \PortableApps\FirefoxPortable\Data\plugins that’s it.

  3. babak said on September 24, 2011 at 9:54 am

    thanks for tip , i did it all and still have problem with flash videos in some web sites like facebook !!! i tried all ways but no result , please help

  4. ilev said on August 20, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Each browser uses a different flash dll file, so in order to download the appropriate plug-in , usually one need to browse to Adobe’a site with that browser. IE uses an activex, Firefox uses a plug-in (chrome doesn’t need a plug-in any more, it is build-in). Other browsers that are IE clones like Avant.. use IE activex.

  5. sulasno said on August 20, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I would have thought that Avant use a different file

  6. jasray said on August 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Nice tip, thanks. Same type of thing happens if one Thinstalls applications; FF Portable is sometimes blocked on severely locked down machines, so I went with Avant Portable. Same file, I assume, I will have to place somewhere?

    1. Martin said on August 19, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      I suppose that is possible, yes.

  7. sulasno said on August 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I downloaded flashplayer-win.xpi and extracted the contents; the file is an old version

    1. Martin said on August 19, 2010 at 7:04 pm

      Old version compared to what?

      1. sulasno said on August 20, 2010 at 3:20 am

        compared to the version found at C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\NPSWF32.dll;
        the size is also different

  8. sulasno said on August 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    can I simply copy
    “C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\NPSWF32.dll” to portable Firefox?

    what other plugins do I need?

    1. Martin said on August 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      That might work as well, but then again, if it is installed Firefox might recognize it automatically.

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