How to force Flash updates in Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 15, 2017
Google Chrome

The following guide walks you through the steps of checking the installed Flash version in Google Chrome, and forcing it to update if an outdated version is used by the browser.

All versions of the Google Chrome web browser ship with Adobe Flash installed natively in the browser. While Chrome does not support classic NPAPI plugins anymore, Chrome is still supporting PPAPI plugins of which Flash is one.

This is good usually for users who require Adobe Flash. The main reason why that is the case is that users don't have to worry about the installed version of Adobe Flash too much, as Google takes care of the updating.

How to force Flash updates in Chrome

While this works fine most of the time, usually before or at the time Adobe releases updates for Flash, it may happen that Google is late to the party when it comes to pushing the updated version of Flash to Chrome installations.

This has the effect that Chrome users run an outdated version of Flash, and that should be cause for concern as that goes along with a truckload of vulnerabilities usually.

adobe flash ppapi download

Downloading and installing the latest Flash Player from Adobe won't help in this case, as Chrome relies on the PPAPI version of Flash and ignores the NPAPI version that is installed from Adobe's site.

Adobe offers Flash PPAPI versions for download, and that is one option that you have to update Flash in Chrome and Chromium. But, there is another option, one that is more comfortable than having to visit Adobe's website, downloading the new Flash installer from it, and running it on devices that you want to update.

We talked about Chrome's chrome://components/ page back in 2012 for the first time, and hinted at the possibility of using it to check for updates.

force-update adobe flash player chrome

Basically, what you want to do is the following to check for, download, and install Flash updates in Chrome:

  1. Load the internal chrome://components/ page by pasting it in the address bar and hitting the Enter-key (or typing it).
  2. Locate Adobe Flash Player on the page. You can check the version right then and there, or hit the "check for update" button underneath it right away.

This runs an update check. If Google has released an update, but not yet delivered it to your device, it will be downloaded and installed.

It is certainly a possibility that Google has not yet made available the update for Chrome's Flash plugin. The check for updates fails in this case, and your only option is to head over to the Adobe website to perform the manual update instead. (via Computerworld)

Tip: you may disable Flash in Chrome entirely as well if you don't need it.

Closing Words

Google is usually pretty fast when it comes to Flash updates in Chrome. But if you notice that Adobe released an update for Flash, and Google did not yet push it to your device, you may use the method to try forcing the update. (thanks Ilev, via Computerworld)

Now You: Do you use Flash at all anymore?

How to force Flash updates in Chrome
Article Name
How to force Flash updates in Chrome
The following guide walks you through the steps of checking the installed Flash version in Google Chrome, and forcing it to update if an outdated version is used by the browser.
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  1. Ryan Cooley said on March 7, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    There are several components in there that need updating from time to time, not just Flash. File Type Policies, for instance, may also cause embedded YouTube videos to not play.
    Recently, I came across this idea while searching for the reason these videos weren’t playing I ran an update check on all the components. The only components that needed updating were the Signed Tree Heads, File Type Policies, and CRLSet.
    It is also possible the CRLSet could do this since it seems to me it may have something to do with Certificate Revocation Lists. These lists determine whether you certificate is valid for your site. If Chrome thinks it’s been revoked, it will not load something that might be embedded that originates from a separate site.
    Signed Tree Heads also have to do with certificates and signed actions. Again, if it isn’t valid, it won’t run/load.
    My concern is that these components are not updated often enough and without user intervention. So if you run into problems, check for updates on all the components.

  2. kubrick said on April 14, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    why did google not update its flash player like this from the beginning.Usually 45mb of data would be downloaded just to update the flash player.

  3. TA said on March 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Hi, I have a similar problem in Chrome. I have installed flash player (ppapi), but a certain site needs it to play music, and says that I have to download flash player, when I do that, I get this message “Adobe Flash Player is already installed, but disabled. Click here for more information.”. Its driving me crazy, Ive been searching on a lot of sites for a solution, no one found. Ive uninstalled Chrome without any luck. So if you have any suggestions on what to do, Im willing to listen:-)

    1. Brandon said on March 16, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      I have found that if you go to the chrome://settings/content under the Flash option there is an option to allow sites to run flash. Even with that selected there are still some issues so I have to add some sites to the ‘manage exceptions’ option and manually enter sites.

      Secondarily there ‘should’ be an option in your url, the flash symbol should appear there with a tiny red X, that will allow you to enable flash for that site. I have noticed that it is a one time exception however, upon returning to that site I have had to reenable the flash in the url.

      Chrome: 57.0.2987.98 (64-bit)
      Flash component:

  4. Vincent Magnus said on February 28, 2017 at 5:44 am

    what theme do you use in windows, Martin?

  5. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I believe the flash portion in the chrome://components link is missing in version 57+, same with chrome://plugins. Moved to chrome://settings/content for management.

    1. ilev said on February 15, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      I have updated version of Flash in my Chrome Version 57.0.2987.37 beta (64-bit) and Flash is listed under /components.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 15, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      I still see Adobe Flash Player listed under Components in Chrome 58.

      1. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm

        Thanks, I will try again, this version 58.0.3013.0 (64-bit) has it missing

  6. Sylvio Haas said on February 15, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Hello, Martin

    No method brought an update for Adobe Flash.
    1. I downloaded and installed the update from Adobe’s site but nothing happened, the version is the same I had before.
    2. Google Components page. There it stated “Component not updated” and when I clicked on Check for Updates the result was the same: “Component not updated”.

    Does this mean that I cannot force an update and have to wait until Chrome decides to update?

    Thank you.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Sylvio, it appears that way. Do you block connections to Google by chance in Chrome?

      1. Sylvio Haas said on February 16, 2017 at 10:49 pm

        Thank you for answering. No, I don’t block connections to Google, unless I do it and am not aware of it! Where should I look??? Thank you.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 17, 2017 at 4:34 am

        Sylvio, it seems unlikely that this is the cause then. Which version of Flash is installed?

  7. Netguy101 said on February 15, 2017 at 11:46 am

    You forget to mention that the Adobe flash version is updated only for that user account. So, someone would have to go through all user accounts and update flash via that Chrome://components address.

    Also, I hope there is a way to automate this, so that Adobe flash is constantly checked for updates at the browsers’ startup.

  8. ms said on February 15, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Only for a certain browser game or two, and a streaming site that haven’t moved towards HTML5.
    Its going the way of the dodo bird!

    1. Brandon said on March 16, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      I work in the education field, and therefore inherently 10-15 years behind the curve. Over 90% of the websites and applications that our students and staff use utilize Flashplayer, sometimes even requiring older versions and wont run on current updated versions.

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