Opera Software introduced out of process plugins in Opera 12.00 to increase the browser's overall stability when plugins were used to display contents on web pages. The basic idea behind out of process plugins is to move plugins in their own process so that they do not affect the web browser itself when they crash, freeze or cause other issues.
If you have been experiencing stability issues like crashes or freezes in Opera 12.0x recently you may want to try and disable out of process plugins to see if it resolves the issue when using the browser. A recent Opera Desktop Team blog post reveals that Opera Software noticed an increase in Opera freezing on pages with plug-in content on the Windows platform.
The out of process plugins feature seems the culprit, and Opera recommends to disable the feature in the browser for the time being until a proper fix is released in one of the future versions of the web browser. The issue is only affecting Windows versions of the web browser, with Mac and Linux users not experiencing the issues in their versions.
Whenever you open a web page with plugin contents, you will notice the opera_plugin_wrapper.exe process pop up on your system. It is this process the plugins are running in.
There does not seem to be a way to disable out-of-process plugins in the web browser directly. I could not find a setting to do so in the regular options nor under opera:config.
The only available fix as of now is a new Opera 12.02 snapshot build in which the developers have disabled the out of process plugins feature. Please note that this is only true for the 32-bit version under Windows. The reason why the feature is not deactivated in 64-bit versions of Opera is that these versions require the feature to run 32-bit plugins.
So, if you run a 32-bit Windows version of Opera and experience crashes or freezes, you may want to download and install the snapshot build to see if it resolves the issue. Keep in mind that it is a development build and not necessarily suitable for productive environments.
You can alternatively try and enable on-demand plug-ins in Opera. Click on Opera > Settings > Preferences to open the configuration window. Switch to Advanced > Content and check the enable plug-ins only on demand option there. This may block some plugin content on websites, advertisement for instance, which in turn may reduce the chance of Opera freezing or crashing because of the issue.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.