Microsoft started to distribute the Windows update KB4577586, designed to remove Adobe Flash Player from Windows devices, yesterday evening. The update will be downloaded and installed automatically on devices with automatic updates enabled.
The update is labeled option at this time, but it is still downloaded and installed automatically when administrators activate the "check for updates" button on Windows 10 devices. A reboot is required to finalize the installation.
Once the update is installed, it cannot be removed anymore from the system short of restoring a backup or resetting the PC.
Microsoft released the update to uninstall Flash in October 2020 officially. The company released it on its Microsoft Update Catalog website at the time only, and not via Windows Update.
It has been offered for Windows 10 version 1809 and newer, and Windows 8.1. Windows 7 is not included, as Flash was not offered as part of the operating system.
The update is offered in a controlled rollout, which means that it is not offered to all devices at the same time. If you run Windows 10 version 20H2, it is called Update for Removal of Adobe Flash Player for Windows 10 Version 20H2 for x64-based systems (KB4577586).
It has the same KB ID for all versions of Windows; only the operating system version changes in the name of the update.
The update will remove Flash from the operating system, but only Flash made available by Microsoft. Flash installed through third-party applications, e.g. a browser that comes with a Flash component, is not removed by the update. Put simply, any Flash version that has been installed manually by the user, e.g. through the installation of Flash or a program that comes with a Flash component, is not affected by the update.
Adobe included a kill-switch in recent versions of Flash that prevent Flash content from being executed. Users who need to access Flash content may want to check out the Flash emulator ruffle instead.
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