If you are running Adobe Flash 11.3.300.x or higher and use Firefox as your web browser, you may experience an annoying behavior as of late that is removing focus from the web browser when you relaunch Flash contents. This has been tested under 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and may affect other versions of the operating system as well. To reproduce the steps, you would visit a website that is displaying Flash contents. When you do, you will notice that three new processes are displayed in the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl-Shift-Esc): plugin-container.exe from the Firefox browser which is used to separate plugins from the core browser, and two FlashPlayerPlugin_11_3_300_xxx.exe processes.
When you now close the page with Flash contents and wait 180 seconds, you will notice that the three plugins get killed automatically in the browser. Visiting any page afterwards that is making use of Flash will remove the focus from the Firefox web browser so that you need to click on the browser window to regain focus. This can happen multiple times throughout the day if at least 180 seconds pass between the accessing of Flash contents.
If you have been typing while a page was loading in the background, you may have lost a couple of words, or sometimes even more, depending on how often you look at the monitor when you type.
Further analysis reveals that focus is given to an invisible, top level Windows edit control owned by the sandboxed Flash process.
According to notes on Adobe's official Bugbase, the issue is fixed in Flash Player 11.4 which is currently available as a beta version. If you install the beta version on your system you will however notice that the fix is less than ideal, as Firefox is still losing focus when this is happening, only to regain it automatically after a second or so.
A viable workaround at the time of writing is to keep a page with Flash contents open all the time so that the three processes do not get killed automatically after 180 seconds of inactivity. You could alternatively disable protected mode but that is not recommended as it is removing Flash's sandbox protection from the system.
The bug status is set to fixed and closed, and it is not clear if Adobe will reopen it to address the issue to the satisfaction of all users.
Have you been noticing issues with Flash lately in your browser of choice?Advertisement
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
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.