How To Install Flash Player Without Admin Rights

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 6, 2010
Updated • Nov 21, 2012

Lets say you are currently working on a computer where you have standard user rights. This means that you cannot install software that requires elevated privileges, nor that you can perform operations that require admin rights. Many software programs for instance require administrative privileges during installation.

Adobe's Flash Player needs elevated rights during installation, if the user has only standard rights it cannot be installed; At least not the standard way.

Lets assume you have access rights to use a computer at school, work or a public place, maybe on a company laptop or at a school library. A web browser is available but the Flash plugin is not installed so that you cannot access Flash based content sites such as Youtube.

Please note that this method works perfectly fine if Firefox is the web browser used on the system. It is unlikely that Chrome or Opera are installed on the system, but workarounds exist for these browsers as well.

If you are a Firefox user and want to use Flash but do not have administrative privileges do the following:

  • Download the latest version of the Firefox Flash plugin from the official Macromedia website. Your best option is to right-click the download link and select Save As.
  • Extract the contents of the downloaded file to a folder on the local system. You may need to change the file extension to zip if you have only access to the standard Windows unzipper.
  • Move the two files NPSWF32.dll and flashplayer.xpt into the Firefox plugin directory. The plugin directory is located in the root directory if you are using a portable version of Firefox, if Firefox is installed is is located in the profile folder. Easiest option to find out where the folder is located is to enter about:support in the address bar. This works for Firefox 3.6 and up.
  • If no Plugins folder exist create the folder and move the two Flash Player files into the folder.
  • You can now enjoy Flash based contents. Be aware that the plugin is not auto-updating itself. You need to make sure to keep it up to date manually.

You have a few additional options that you may want to explore. If you can run portable software, you may want to consider using Google Chrome portable, since the browser ships with the Flash Player plugin natively.

The same is true for other portable browsers. Just configure the browser at home so that it includes the Flash plugin and run it from the computer where you have limited access rights.

I'm not sure if there is a way for Internet Explorer as well. If anyone has some insights let me know in the comments.


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  1. Fadi R said on December 21, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    FYI, linux users also need to do the installation in root and you can avoid that by downloading the binaries in as tar.gz, extracting and sticking it in ~/.mozilla/plugins (which you can create if it doesn’t exist already).

    Thought I’d share that. Thanks for the guide.

  2. Kepler said on December 20, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Thank you very much. I was lucky that the admin did not lock out my root drive. Thank you very much.

  3. Nigel T said on December 21, 2012 at 5:27 am

    This helped me a lot

  4. SDSUCKS said on September 13, 2012 at 10:42 am


  5. KFP1 said on November 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    This is great if you can copy to the Firefox plugin directory – mine at work is on drive C:, where I have to rights apart from reading…

  6. JP said on September 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    PL thanks very much for the reply, but that download link only contains the ‘NPSWF32.dll” file. Can you provide the ‘flashplayer.xpt ‘ file as well please?

    1. PL said on September 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      I think you didn’t read the entire content of the link I submitted to you.
      You don’t need to download the xpt file.
      Please re-read the method how to use the downloaded NPSWF32.dll file; that’s only what you need to update FP.


      1. JP said on October 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

        There must be something else going on that I don’t have control over, even after going through the steps you provided flash wasn’t loading.

  7. JP said on September 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    The files provided on the adobe website doesn’t come as one that you can change to a zip file, are the CURRENT files available anywhere else?

    1. PL said on September 17, 2011 at 6:19 pm
  8. XCDA said on February 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    This really works :-) Thanks

  9. MentorLog said on November 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    This is really useful in corporate environments.. I have tried most of the application installing in separate folder on different drive. Some applications prompt’s for admin rights only when we install on “c” drive.

  10. DanTe said on November 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks. This is useful. Especially at IT shops that updates ONCE A YEAR. Yes, there are such Idiot Twits (IT) shops out there. Enough so that I run into them once in a while.

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