Hello, Adobe Flash Player Background Updater (Windows)!

This week was another exciting week for Adobe’s Flash Player: We officially shipped Adobe Flash Player 11.2. One feature that I’m going to highlight today is one that I personally worked on: the Background Updater for Windows.

I wrote a fairly detailed DevNet article about the bits and pieces that make this updater work. It was also mentioned in Peleus Uhley’s blog post, highlighting the impact that this new updater can have on Flash Player Security.

Since the release, I have been scanning forums and reading blog posts about this feature, and I’d like to answer some of the questions that were mentioned there.

1. I’m very interested in the Background Updater, but I’m using Mac OS. When will Adobe release a Background Updater for Mac?

A Background Updater for Mac OS is currently in development and will be released in an upcoming release of Adobe Flash Player.

2. Will I ever get to see a Flash Player notification again that asks me to update Flash Player?

Yes. For new features and/or releases that require the acceptance of new terms of use, Adobe may need to notify users before an installation can be performed.

3. Why does the updater install the service and scheduled task even though I chose the option to disable updates during the installation?

If you chose to turn of all updates, the Background Updater will be turned off! If you are familiar with network analyzing tools, I encourage you to verify that there is no network traffic initiated by the Background Updater service. The scheduled task and the service are being installed in the event that you choose to enable the Background Updater at a later point. As mentioned in my DevNet article, you can do this by going to the Flash Player Settings Manager in the Windows Control Panel.

4. Yet another background updater? Isn’t that consuming a ton of resources?

I’m very happy to say: NO! By using the Windows Task Scheduler, we are able to run the Background Updater only once per hour for a few milliseconds. The Background Updater will usually launch, check if it is time to do an update check and then shut itself down. Only if an update is available will the updater stay running for a longer period of time to allow for the download to complete and the installation to start.

5. I have a third-party tool that tells me that the Background Updater is running every hour. This despite the fact that Adobe claims that after a successful update check, the next check will be deferred for 24 hours. Why?

The fact that the process starts every hour does not mean that it will perform an update check every hour. Rather, it will first check to see if it is time for the next update check. If it isn’t, it will shut itself down again after only a few milliseconds. If you are familiar with network analyzers, I encourage you to verify that there is no network traffic caused by the Background Updater in the 24 hours that the update check is deferred.

6. I have the Background Updater disabled, but the service still starts every hour. Why?

The Background Updater will launch every hour and will check if it is enabled. If it isn’t, no network traffic will ever be generated by the Background Updater and it will shut itself down after only a few milliseconds, saving valuable CPU and memory resources. This allows you to enable the Background Updater from the Flash Player Settings Manager in the Windows Control Panel at a later point without having to reinstall Flash Player.


If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them!

220 Responses to Hello, Adobe Flash Player Background Updater (Windows)!

  1. Jeff says:

    In number 3, you mention the Flash Player Settings Manager in Windows Control Panel.
    There is no Flash Player Settings Manager in my Windows Control Panel. I am running Vista x64. How do I access this?

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Jeff,

      First, please make sure that you have the latest Flash Player installed ( http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer ). Then, in Control Panel, you should see an element entitled “Flash Player (32-bit)”. Select the advanced tab and choose your update settings.

      Let me know how it goes! 🙂

      • Jeff says:

        I have version of Adobe Flash Player installed. There is no icon titled “Flash Player (32-bit)” in Control Panel. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing an icon for Flash Player in Control Panel.

        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi Jeff,

          If you right-click on Flash content and select “Global Settings…”, does the native settings manager start? Or are you redirected to a website?

          • Jeff says:

            Yes, right-clicking on Flash content and selecting Global Settings opens the Flash Player Settings Manager. Is there supposed to be an icon for that in Control Panel? If so, any idea how I restore it?

          • Stephen Pohl says:

            Hi Jeff,

            Good to know that the Settings Manager is on the system. Now, regarding the icon in Control Panel: What I would try first is to reinstall Flash Player. You can get it at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer. If that doesn’t help, I recommend that you post to the Flash Player installation forums. The moderators there are working directly with the Flash Player team and should be able to help you in no time.

            Hope that helps!

    • rdefuria says:

      On my vista x64 box the Flash Settings Manager is under the “View 32-bit Control Panel Items” in the Control Panel. There it’s titled “Flash Player”

  2. mechBgon says:

    I filed a bug report on Flash Player 11.2 because it causes IE9 to hang when trying to display Flash content if a Software Restriction Policy is enforced (mechbgon.com/srp describes how SRP is used).

    Given a choice between Flash Player or our overall security posture, I’m keeping SRP enabled and waiting for a bug fix from Adobe. Any idea what changed in FP 11.2 that’s causing this, so I can come up with a workaround until Adobe fixes it?

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi mechBgon,

      Thanks for filing the bug report. This is the best and fastest way to have one of our engineers look at the issue.

      Something that you might want to try is to run Flash Player in IE9 for one single time before you apply your SRP. It would be good to know if this solves the issue for you, and would help the engineers investigating your bug report too.


  3. Peter Brewster says:

    Can I be sure that my uncheck of Google toolbar install will remain. I do not want anything other than the update itself installed.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for your question. Yes, the Background Updater (the update mechanism without notifications) will not install anything other than updates to Flash Player, since there isn’t an opportunity to get consent from you to install a third-party product in the first place. As mentioned in the blog post, the Background Updater cannot be turned on for all updates.

      Note that if you were to go to adobe.com again and install Flash Player from the website, you may be presented with a third-party offer again. This is unrelated to the Background Updater however. Adobe Flash Player will not install a third-party product without getting your explicit consent first.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  4. crhosu says:

    How does the silent auto-update feature work under a non-admin (“user”) account?

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi crhosu,

      When you first install Flash Player, the installer will ask for admin privileges to proceed with the installation. One step of the installer is to configure a scheduled task in the Windows Task Scheduler to run as SYSTEM user. This guarantees that the system can always be updated by the Background Updater, no matter what user is logged into the system. As a result, the system will always be secured with the latest updates for all users.

  5. xAdmin says:

    Was there any information provided upfront that this latest update would install a new service AND a scheduled task? I didn’t see anything when I applied the update and only found out later when checking my event logs. Needless to say, I was NOT happy to find my systems had a new service and a scheduled task that were still triggering frequent activity despite having told the software to never check for updates. I subsequently disabled the service and scheduled task (I have other methods of ensuring I stay updated). I understand the function of these services (to keep Flash Player updated), but some upfront information regarding them would’ve been much appreciated or an option to NOT have them installed. Thanks

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi xAdmin,

      I’m sorry to hear that you feel there wasn’t enough upfront information.

      The release notes for Flash Player 11.2 mentioned that this new feature will be included.
      My DevNet article explains the components of the Background Updater, and as you know, this blog tried to answer some of the frequently asked questions.

      The Background Updater is part of the Flash Player product and will therefore always be installed on the machine. The frequent activity that you refer to is negligible in terms of memory or CPU usage. This is due to the fact that the Updater will verify first that it is permitted to run and check for updates. If it isn’t, it shuts itself down again immediately. Keeping CPU and memory utilization at a minimum was an explicit requirement during development of this Updater. I encourage you to monitor CPU and memory usage as well as network traffic. I hope you will be positively surprised.

      If there is anything else that you’re concerned about, I’d like to hear about it.


  6. Matt says:

    Is it possible to configure the updater via the mms.cfg file to point to a local web/file server to check for updates instead of adobe? I would like to configure all of my enterprise client PCs to check locally and conserve bandwidth when the latest version comes out. While a 3mb download may seem insignificant, with 1000s of clients, it adds up fast.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Matt,

      This is a valid feature request. I contacted a few folks here at Adobe to figure out where this feature request should be sent to. I can definitely see the value in it. I’ll let you know once I find out more.


      • I would also like to be able to point the updater at a local server, as that gives us control over when updates are propagated. There are many internal dependencies at our University requiring us to test each version before deployment, and from a cost perspective it would be much easier for us to test, then post to a local server, rather than have to package and deploy each release using our software deployment system. I would also like to see this functionality across all Adobe products, so that we can leave autoupdate enabled and manage updates ourselves.

        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi Edward,

          Thanks for your feedback. As mentioned in an earlier comment, we’re actively looking into supporting this in a future release. Stay tuned! 🙂

        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi Edward and Matt,

          I’m happy to say that based on requests from you and others, we expanded our administrator guide with instructions on how to point the Background Updater to an internal server. Please have a look at the updated administrator guide here: http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/devnet/flashplayer/pdfs/flash_player_11_2_admin_guide.pdf

          The section of interest is “Background updates from an internal server” on page 18.

          As always, any feedback is welcome.

          • Matt says:

            I tried to download the required files for my local server and I keep getting a 404 error. Do the files exist for us to grab or maybe in an archive where we could get them all? These are the links I am attempting with 404 errors:

            Replacing fp-major-version with the major version.

          • Stephen Pohl says:

            Hi Matt,

            I just verified the URLs that you provided and they are working fine for me. For version, the major version is 11. Please make sure to replace fp-major-version with 11.

            Here are the working links for the latest Flash Player:

            Let me know if that did the trick.

          • Matt says:

            Thanks for the check. I swear I looked at that three times when pasting the links.

            Stephen +5
            Matt -1

          • Matt says:

            Actually, you did have a typo in yours, but NBD since I am awake now. Thanks

          • Stephen Pohl says:

            Hi Matt,

            No worries. Glad it’s working.

            If the typo that you’re referring to is the missing ‘2’ in the domain name of the version.xml, that’s actually not a typo. It is incorrectly documented in the administrator guide. I asked our documentation team to update this piece of info to remove the ‘2’.


    • Tyrone Wyatt says:

      Yes it is possible to do this have a read of pages18-19 of flash_player_11_2_admin_guide.pdf
      The only downside with this option is that you must have a valid SSL certificate for HTTPS access which is pointless for an internal mirror. I have logged a feature request to resolve this issue on bugbase.adobe.com #3173327.

      • Stephen Pohl says:

        Hi Tyrone,

        Glad this is working for you!

        The SSL certificate requirement is to ensure that your deployments are successful and secure. This includes internal mirrors. This may be inconvenient under some circumstances, but the need for security outweighs this inconvenience in this case.

        I had a look at your blog today and it is great to see that you found a way to automate the creation of a mirror already. Very nice!


      • Stephen Pohl says:

        Hi Tyrone,

        I just read your feature request. Thanks for all the info. Could you please confirm that the Windows certificate store is not currently being respected when a self-signed certificate is added to the store? Thanks!

  7. Lazarus439 says:

    I agree with xAdmin in that the scheduled task should not be running, regardless of whether it does anything or not. At a minimum, it adds three entries every hour to my machines’ system logs that are nothing but clutter.

    When the updater is told to never check, it should never do anything at all – nada, zip, zilch. Install the service and scheduled task if you want, but if never check is selected, the scheduled task should be disabled and remain so until/unless the update option is changed.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Lazarus439,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      As you may already have verified, the scheduled task and the service never actually initiate any kind of network traffic if the Background Updater is disabled.

      Just to make sure that I fully understand your concern: You would like that the task and service don’t create the three entries in your system logs. Is there anything else that I’m missing? Also, could you briefly explain how the three entries in the system log impact you? I want to be sure that we gather all necessary information to help shape the product in the future. Thanks!

      • xAdmin says:

        Regardless of it never initiating network activity when set to never check for updates or the statements that the processes use minimal local resources (CPU, memory), the point is that when setting the software to never check for updates, there is an expectation that those update functions are disabled and do not produce ANY type of activity, nothing executes unless we ask it to and there are no entries created in the system event log. Basically, when we tell it to never check for updates, it should be configured to disable the scheduled task and service. As it stands now, we have to manually do that to truly disable ALL update activity. What I consider a better option overall would be to notify the user upfront during install that the check for updates will create a scheduled task and new service, then provide an option (choice) whether or not to not install them.

        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi xAdmin,

          Thanks for the additional info. This type of feedback from our users is exactly what we were hoping for. Know that people here are listening and your feedback will help us shape the product in the future. So, keep it coming! 🙂

          Thanks again!

  8. Mike Bliss says:

    There is conflicting documentation on configuring the mms.cfg file. This link http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/administration-configure-auto-update-notification.html

    Indicates SilentAutoUpdateEnable 1
    0 allows background update.
    1 disables background update.
    (This is counter-intuitive to me!)

    Yet the admin guide http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/articles/flash_player_admin_guide.html
    Indicates on Page 17 and on Page 28

    Background update is disabled by default. To enable it, edit the mms.cfg file, as shown below:

    SilentAutoUpdateEnable = [ 0, 1 ] (0 = false, 1 = true)
    Availability: Flash Player 11.2 for Microsoft Windows
    Enables a Flash Player update to install silently in the background with no user interaction.

    As a system admin, I don’t want the auto updater or the silent auto updater running, and if it’s disabled by default, how should my mms.cfg file look?
    This my mss.cfg file that I’ve been using for some time that just has AutoUpdateDisable = 1

    Do I need to put SilentAutoUpdate = 0 ??

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Mike,

      We became aware of this conflicting information and are working on fixing it everywhere.

      To enable the Background Updater, you will need:

      To have the traditional notification mode for updates, either remove the mms.cfg file completely, or set it to:

      If you want to disable all updates (highly discouraged), put this in your mms.cfg:

      Note that AutoUpdateDisable=1 will always take precedence and when set, any setting for SilentAutoUpdateEnable will be ignored. This means that in your case, you can continue using the mms.cfg that you have. This was put in place to avoid system admins to have to go back and change all mms.cfg files that were deployed previously.

  9. Alex P says:

    what if i delete the task from Task Scheduler? will then flash still check for updates or not?

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Alex,

      As I mentioned earlier, this is highly discouraged.

      However, if you choose to delete the task, the Background Updater will be unable to work. What will keep working is the traditional updater (notification mode). To turn the notification updater off too, you would need to disable all updates in the settings manager.

      Before you do this, could you share with me why you would want to remove the scheduled task? This feedback is very valuable to us and it would be great if you could share your perspective.


      • Olivier Gagnon says:

        Hello Stephen

        Please do not impose automatic updates on users.

        With update 11.2, these new services overrode our mms.cfg and caused issues within our company. no wonder everyone is trying to get rid of flash player.

        We want to be able to control our updates. We do not wish software to auto update.

        Because of these new, hidden, “features”, we will have to do modification to the computer by deleting the adobe update service AND by deleting the task.

        Please fix it in future versions.

        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi Olivier,

          Thanks for your feedback.

          Could you elaborate on the issues that you were seeing? We’d like to hear about them in order to fix them.

          I’m not clear what you mean by overwriting the mms.cfg. Yes, the Background Updater adds properties to this file, but it doesn’t overwrite it. Therefore, all your settings will persist.

          Can you elaborate why you aren’t in control of updates anymore? You can control the update behavior with an mms.cfg the way you were used to. Since the mms.cfg continues to control all update behavior on your systems, there is no need to remove update services or tasks.

  10. PEPPE says:

    flash player 11,2 non funziona in tutti i giochi di facebook che tristezza

  11. Alex P says:

    so there are now 2 update options? the old traditional updater and the new update in Task Scheduler?
    and why is that? does this mean that both updates check for new version? i am confused 🙂

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Alex,

      That’s right. The old traditional updater is now the notification mode updater, and the new updater is the Background Updater. If the Background Updater is enabled, updates will delivered faster and will take precedence over the old updater.

  12. Matthew McCue says:

    Hi Stephen,
    I use an uninstaller (viz., Total Uninstall from http://www.Martau.com). Therefore, I don’t want any software changes (this includes updates) to Adobe Flash Player ouside of Total Uninstall. In addition to this, I’ve been advised (by Smart Computing magazine) to uninstall Adobe Flash Player and reinstall it to make any changes. The silent updater has therefore thrown a monkey wrench in the works. Will removing “Adobe Flash Player Updater” from Control Panel>Scheduled Tasks and setting the service “Adobe Flash Player Update Service” to “stopped, disabled” be enough to allow me to continue my normal operations? Is there anything else that I need to do to permanently deactivate the silent updater? My operating system is Windows XP.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Matt,

      The monkey wrench isn’t really one. You can continue your regular updating routine by selecting to never install updates when you install Flash Player (although this is highly discouraged from a security standpoint). If you disable all updates, no updates will be installed automatically by Flash Player.

      Hope this helps.

  13. Matthew McCue says:

    Hi Stephen,
    Thanks for your reply. It was reassuring. I hope we always have a choice on things like this.

  14. Mike Martin says:


    I just installed Flash 11.2 and I sometimes get an Applications Error from FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe. The dialog reads “The instruction at “0x007b0283” referenced memory at “0x887b7d52”. The memory could not be “written”.”

    This has only happened since I updated to Flash 11.2. The Description for the module states “Adobe Flash Player Updade Service 11.2 r202”, File Version and Size 247 KB

    Replying OK to the dialog seems to let the module recover because I have have multiple occassions of the error, I believe.

    Any help would be appreciated.


    Mike Martin

  15. Mike Martin says:


    I have posted the information as Bug 3160311.


  16. Peter says:

    Please confirm that the unwanted micro-activity from your sleeper service is not causing my computers to wake up from any reduced power state.

    I have concerns that my attempts to conserve energy (== MONEY) might be impacted by this..

    I am further concerned that there may be undisclosed network traffic in progress when the service *is* enabled that poses a security hazard or may effect privacy. Please confirm this is not the case.

    Any service with elevated privilages needs to have a very good reason for having them for security reasons.. IMO this does not qualify

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for bringing up these points.

      I can confirm that the Background Updater will not wake up your computer to check for updates. Please feel free to verify the settings of the scheduled task in Windows Task Scheduler.

      I can also confirm that there is no undisclosed network traffic in progress when the Background Updater is enabled. The Background Updater checks for updates at intervals that I described in my blog post and DevNet article.

      To your last point about running with elevated privileges: There is actually a very good reason why this process runs with elevated privileges. Not only will the Background Updater update all types of Flash Player for the browser (NPAPI Plugin, ActiveX), it will also update these instances of Flash Player for all users on the machine, keeping them as secure as possible. Another aspect that might get overlooked is that running at elevated privileges only requires one process to run at a time, as opposed to one update process per user. And the last thing that I’d like to highlight is that this process is usually dormant (i.e. not running), therefore saving CPU and memory resources and limiting the security risk as much as possible.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.


  17. Matt says:

    Part of my security posture is to completely disable the Task Scheduler. The task scheduler is often used in malicious hacking attacks to run trojan code. It has also been used in the past to elevate local privileges so since we don’t use it for legitimate purposes, it has been disabled.

    It would seem that we gain nothing from 11.2 as the old update mechanism is all we have. Are there any other alternatives for updating considered? I would potentially be in favor of a separate Adobe updater service that would run across your entire product line to check for updates. (on my local server of course if that option was realized to make sure I control a tested version and save bandwidth)

    Maybe you can work with Microsoft to create some type of API for the automatic updates service that will check for your updates during the normal configurable check times.


    • Matt says:

      No comment? 🙁

      • Stephen Pohl says:

        Hi Matt,

        Apologies for the late reply.

        Generally, the use of a scheduled task in Task Scheduler and a Windows Service has gotten praise as being good practice. It is unfortunate that it had to be turned off on your network.

        As you can imagine, the development of an updater that works across product lines is a big undertaking. Also, I’m fairly certain that people who only use one of our products might not like the idea of a big updater that works across product lines, if all they need is an updater for one product. We certainly appreciate the feedback and I will make sure to keep this in mind going forward.

        We’re actively collaborating with Microsoft and many other companies to improve our products, including our updating technologies. Stay tuned. 🙂


  18. sigh says:

    Sigh… seems that this doesnt upgrade cleanly using group policy from 11.1 branch. I will figure out why and post back

  19. Stephen Pohl,

    Rarely one can find a good programmer, a great public relation person, a very effective communicator, a very polite person all in one. Adobe must be very very proud to have you.

    Vincent Tsang
    a programmer since 1972 and still is

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Vincent,

      Thank you for your kind words. They are certainly very much appreciated.

      However, I’d like to say that it is thanks to people like you that we do the job that we do. So, thank YOU! 🙂


  20. Randy King says:

    I would like to add my two cents: Just like many others, if I say I don’t want automatic updates, then I would hope you would not install a bunch of background services and scheduled tasks on the computers to perform background updates. I hear you that it only takes a few milliseconds to run every hour and low memory requirements, but it shouldn’t be taking either of these if I told it not to run. Flash wants to run services in the background, Reader wants to run services in the background, Java wants to run services in the background. Each of these seems to think that the primary role of my computer is to utilize these products. But for the most part, my office computers run, …, well, … Office. My employees use Flash, Java, and other plug-ins to watch stupid cat videos and dancing babies. I can tolerate their installation, but I wish these programs would respect my wishes as an Admininstrator not to install and run a bunch of background update processes.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Randy,

      Thanks for your feedback. As mentioned before, this type of feedback will help us shape the product in the future. It certainly didn’t go unnoticed.


  21. Stephen says:

    I have never gotten any prompts for updating Flash, ever! So far, I have always needed to download the latest version manually.

    I’ve tried monitoring the default hourly Scheduled Task set by Flash by watching for the FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe process. Unfortunately, I have never seen it!

    In the “Flash Player Settings Manager” from the Windows Control Panel, you can configure updates by selecting the “Advanced” tab. I’ve tried the first two options. No change. Even “Check Now” only tells you what your version of Flash is, that’s all.

    I’ve even changed the Adobe Flash Player Update Service’s Startup Type to “Automatic” and rebooted. No change.


    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Stephen,

      What you’re describing actually shows that the Background Updater is working as expected. The goal of the Background Updater is to not prompt for updates.

      We just released version through the Background Updater channel. Can you see if this has been installed? If you chose the first update option in the Flash Player Settings Manager, the update should be applied to your system within 24 hours.

      • Stephen says:

        Yes, but what if I chose “Notify me when updates are available”? Shouldn’t I get a prompt?

        Actually, I installed version myself today.

        Thank you

        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi Stephen,

          The notification mode updater is on a seven day update check interval, and even then the notification will only appear after a reboot of the machine. Since this is relatively long when compared to the new Background Updater, we recommend that users enroll into the Background Updater.

          • Stephen says:

            I was always “enrolled into the Background Updater”. Unfortunately, I’ve never noticed any updates.

          • Stephen Pohl says:

            Hi Stephen,

            There were no updates that could be downloaded by the Background Updater before yesterday. You must have manually updated to before the Background Updater could do so for you. I encourage you to turn it on again for any future updates.

            I hope this helps.

  22. Stephen says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Yes, this is possible, for yesterday. I’m used to updating Flash on my own.

    However, I find the updater too slow to react when new versions are out. I’m a helper on a computer help forum and I notice new Flash releases pretty soon. Can’t this process be made more responsive?

    I believe that even with the Background Updater selected, we should be getting a notification when a new version has been installed.

    Automatic updates, for advanced users anyway, in my opinion, are never a good thing. I always prefer being notified first, to make my own decisions on updating or not. A good example is Windows Updates…

    I’d really like to be notified when a new version of Flash comes out, since there’s supposed to be an hourly Scheduled Task for it. We shouldn’t have to wait for a reboot to get a notification. New versions of Flash are always coming out, and fast!

    Thanks for your prompt replies. Really appreciated. I’ve always encouraged that on the forum I work on. 🙂

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Stephen,

      The Background Updater is the new and faster way of updating Flash Player. Keep in mind that it is currently set to a 24 hour check interval. In other words, if your system is online, it will be updated within 24 hours. I call that pretty fast, don’t you think? 🙂

      If I understand correctly, you are requesting that the notification mode updater notify you of updates sooner? I will keep that in mind going forward. The recommendation for now is to enroll into the Background Updater, since there’s simply no faster way of staying up to date.

      You may have read this already, but I wrote a DevNet article that explains the components of the new Background Updater. I encourage you to read it if you’re interested.

      Thanks again!

  23. Hi Stephen,
    I use a product from Faronics called DeepFreeze to protect workstations from unwanted changes. Most of us who use DeepFreeze use it in a lab or kiosk type environment. Think schools or hotel business centers. We set the computers up, install all of the software needed, run updates and then “freeze” or “lock down” the configuration using DeepFreeze. Our users can then do whatever they want or need to do (they have admin rights) but every time the computer reboots, it discards or “erases” all changes made since the last reboot and they go back to that pristine state it was in when the computer was last “frozen”. It is an excellent tool for protecting computers in an unsupervised public use environment like a hotel business center.

    As the administrator, in order to install software and updates and have those changes be permanent, the computer must be “thawed”, the installation performed, and then the computer is “frozen” again. The automation of Microsoft updates and AV definition updates is easily accomplished in DeepFreeze through built in mechanisms to automatically run Microsoft update and AV definition updates during a scheduled maintenance window when the computers are automatically thawed by the DeepFreeze software.

    I would like to be able to use the new Background Updater to automate Flash updates but need to ensure that the update occurs during the maintenance window. While the Background Updater adds the necessary mechanics to automate the software download and installation processes, I need to be able to control WHEN that download and install happens. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Stephen,

      At this point, I believe the simplest way to accomplish this is to create a scheduled task in Windows Task Scheduler that falls into your maintenance window. When you open Windows Task Scheduler, you will see that there is already a task for the Flash Player Background Updater. You can simply make a copy of this task and set the execution time to some time during your maintenance window.

      Please note that the default scheduled task might be modified every time that the Background Updater is run. Therefore, I recommend making a copy of this existing scheduled task, rather than modifying it. As long as you choose a different name for your scheduled task, your task will not be changed by the Background Updater. You can remove the default scheduled task, but once an update occurs, it will be regenerated. You might want to simply leave it on the machine since there is no harm in having two scheduled tasks for the Background Updater.

      It would be great to hear back if this did the trick for you. Also, let me know if you have any additional questions.


  24. Pingback: Adobe Flash 11.2 Background Updates from an Internal Server | Cloud Portal

  25. toca says:

    I’m running a Dell M6600 and it crashes once every morning (BSOD) and the rest of the day it is fine with shutdowns, restarts, power modes. I turned off both updates ie.scheduler and flash updater.

    I saw that Stephen mentioned it runs with an elevated permission, well my task schedule for that doesn’t have that box checked – would this be the cause for the once a day blue screen?

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Toca,

      Flash Player (or its installer) is not usually in a position to cause blue screens by itself. However, we have seen that third-party software can cause such problems in combination with Flash Player installers. Please refer to this forum thread and the recommended solutions here: http://forums.adobe.com/message/4349259#4349259

      You shouldn’t have to change anything in the scheduled task or the service. It is very unlikely that this is the source of your BSOD.

      Hope this helps.

      • toca says:

        Hi Stephen,

        Wanted to give you an update. Adobe updaters – Flash, Air, Reader, PS12, are not causing any problems and never have.
        What caused the previous problem? This isn’t a Windows forum so I’ll make the explanation brief.
        Using Sysprep xml script to relocate User and ProgramData from SSD (C:\) to HDD (D:\) during a clean Windows install has a glitch with Search Service being on. Most files get moved to the new location but Search doesn’t and causes problems having more than one location.
        The remedy is to open services.msc, turn off and disable Windows Search, then delete the C:\ProgramData folder – best done early on in the reimage process.

        The timing effect experienced was the Search service on a delayed start. Why only in the morning is anyone’s guess.

        Caution to anyone reading this: Don’t try deleting your ProgramData folder to solve problems. This is specific to Sysprep FolderLocation method only and doesn’t effect every configuration. If you don’t understand then best to forget what you just read or you can learn about it from Microsoft.

  26. Matt says:


    I just got this thing implemented in my org and I expect to have all of the online clients updated locally in the next hour or so, so right now I am pretty happy. Especially since it’s almost quitting time on a Friday and half the people are gone anyway so no worries about getting hit by a zero day. I do have a question about the updater.

    After I updated, I still have the old .OCX file remaining in the directory. (Flash32_11_2_202_233.ocx) If nothing references it, I can see that it’s no big deal but I suspect it won’t be long before my vulnerability scanner will detect .OCX files as a vulnerability and now I have a cleanup issue.

    Do you plan on working out a way to remove all of these old files or will it remove it some other way at some other time?


    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Matt,

      Great to hear that you got it all up and running.

      Just before I dive into more details: With each upgrade, we attempt to remove all old files from the system. This includes the ActiveX control that you mention. Now, as you noticed, there are situations when an old file cannot be removed. This is usually due to a browser having the old Flash Player loaded in memory. In this case, we tell the OS to remove this old file upon reboot, which is the best option available. Since the registry doesn’t reference the old Flash Player anymore, new browser instances will load the new Flash Player even before a system is rebooted. A reboot of the system will ultimately remove any old files that couldn’t be removed previously.

      I hope this helps.


      • Matt says:

        Thanks Stephen. This does sound like the best option. There is a utility that shows actions that will happen upon reboot and I didn’t see that in the list which is why I asked. (Whyreboot.exe) Perhaps the way you remove old files is different than what this utility queries. Patch Tuesday is this week so I will be rebooting at somepoint so I’ll be sure to check it out then and I’ll let you know.

        I wasn’t concerned about getting hacked because of this file, I was more concerned about a vulnerability scanner looking for older .ocx files in that location and reporting a false positive for which we’d have to correct.


  27. Erik says:

    Regarding question 2: “2. Will I ever get to see a Flash Player notification again that asks me to update Flash Player?”

    Yes. For new features and/or releases that require the acceptance of new terms of use, Adobe may need to notify users before an installation can be performed.

    As a sysadminm, does this mean that our users will have to accept a new flash version in a notification sometimes for us to be able to use use the background updater? I would like to use the background updater, but don’t want users to get nofications… ever. Is this possible?

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Erik,

      Note that your users will continue to be enrolled into the Background Updater, even if they get notified of an update and they cannot install (either because they cancel the update or they don’t have the privileges). Security updates will continue to be pushed via Background Updater.

      If you want to have full control over your update experience with the Background Updater, you may choose to configure your clients to point to a server hosted on your internal network. This blog post may be able to get you started.

  28. Josh says:

    Stephen, I would like to use the automatic updater, but only when triggered manually by a script.

    The machines I’m trying to set it up on are locked down with a hard drive write redirection product(Cornerstone), so when the system is locked a user can make all the changes to files that they want, a system reboot erases all changes made to the system since it was locked down.

    We unlock the computers once a week, and have a script that can detect that the system is unlocked that tells various updates to take place at that time.

    It is easy enough to either start the “Adobe Acrobat Update Service” or run the program referenced by the scheduled task “FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe”

    The problem is that I don’t want the schedule task to ever run. I’ve tried deleting it via our adobe plugins install script,
    schtasks /delete /F /tn “Adobe Flash Player Updater”
    But when I run the service and it installs a new update, the scheduled task is re-created automatically.

    Is there any way I can use the auto update feature, but only run it manually?

    • Matt says:


      Adobe may not recommend this, but if you execute the C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe file, it will execute just like the task and will update the software. (I ran it on my machine to test connectivity to the update server and it updated my flash)

      • Josh says:

        Hello Matt, If the scheduled task is removed, then it is always recreated when the updater installs a new version, whether you start the service or run the exe.

        I found a work around, my install script looks like this now.

        echo Delete adobe auto update scheduled task.
        schtasks /Delete /F /TN “Adobe Flash Player Updater”
        echo Create fake adobe auto update scheduled task.
        schtasks /Create /TN “Adobe Flash Player Updater” /TR “echo” /RU System /sc ONCE /ST 05:05:05 /sd 01/01/2001

        I’m targeting windows xp machines, the schtasks for windows xp does not have the /change /disable feature, so I have to delete the task then re-create a dummy task with the same name. That keeps the adobe updater from re-creating the task.

        If you have vista and above then you can just run
        schtasks /change /disable /tn “Adobe Flash Player Updater”

        One other thing I though was interesting, maybe it is documented, is that the updater only updates one instance each time it is run, so if you have both the activeX and plugin versions installed, it has to be run twice to update both of them.

        • Josh says:

          One more tip, to test this out, I needed to keep installing older versions of flash so I could watch it do the auto-update, but I started getting an error about their being newer versions of flash, so the installer wouldn’t run.

          To get past this delete the registry tree at HKLM\Software\Macromedia\FlashPlayer\SafeVersions


        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi Josh,

          Although I can’t say that this is supported (since a future update might break this), it does seem like the right approach. I’m glad that this solution is working for you.

          You’re correct that the Background Updater will actually run twice to update both the ActiveX and Plugin Flash Player. Note that it isn’t the same executable though. Every update gives us the opportunity to add the latest changes to our Background Updater. For an end user, this means that the FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe will be replaced with the latest and greatest one after the first update. It is now this new binary that will be executed to update the Plugin Flash Player. The bottom line is that you can expect both types of Flash Player to be updated within 1 hour and 5 minutes or so after an update was detected by the Background Updater.

  29. Matt says:


    Is there a “guide” or something to help debug with install errors. I just did a vulnerability scan looking for the latest version of Flash on my systems and I had about a 5% failure rate. Here is the install log from one of the clients that failed. They all seemed to be pretty similar:

    2012-5-8+10-17-43.743 [error] 1257 0
    =O====== M/ 2012-05-08+10-17-41.887 ========
    0000 [I] 00000010 “C:\WINDOWS\TEMP\InstallAX.exe” -install -msi
    0001 [W] 00001036 Software\Macromedia\FlashPlayer\SafeVersions/11.0 2
    0002 [W] 00001036 Software\Macromedia\FlashPlayerActiveX/PlayerPath 2
    0003 [I] 00000020 C:\WINDOWS\system32\FlashPlayerCPLApp.cpl
    0004 [W] 00001037 SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Adobe Flash Player ActiveX/ 2
    0005 [I] 00000013 C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\Flash32_11_2_202_228.ocx
    0006 [I] 00000015 C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\FlashUtil32_11_2_202_228_ActiveX.exe
    0007 [I] 00000016 C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\FlashUtil32_11_2_202_228_ActiveX.dll
    0008 [I] 00000019 C:\WINDOWS\system32\FlashPlayerCPLApp.cpl
    0009 [I] 00000021 C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe
    0010 [W] 00001102
    0011 [W] 00001106
    =X====== M/ 2012-05-08+10-17-44.413 ========

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Matt,

      The best resources that I’m aware of are available in the Flash Player installation forums.

      The log that you attached here indicates that you deployed version Note that the latest version is I wouldn’t be surprised if a scan would flag this version as outdated…

      Hope this helps.


  30. Howard says:

    I keep getting a pop-up window warning that says “Adobe Flash Player Update Service 11.2 r202 stopped working and was closed”. I’ve tried re-installing and keep getting the same message. I’m using Vista 64. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  31. Pingback: The “Adobe Flash Player Update Service” Starts Up Every Hour | Gregory Strike

  32. Steve says:

    Hello Stephen,

    In our company we proactively manage the Flash versions and deploy the security enhanced update as soon as possible. We have a testing process in place to test any newer versions and deploy them only after they pass testing. That’s the reason we don’t want the auto updater scheduled task. I understand Adobe has created this task for a more general use and to target broader set of home user/companies to make them machines more secure. But for companies like ours we have a thorough testing process so we want to manage the updates our self.

    We are planning to use SCUP for managing Flash updates. And we don’t want this scheduled task enabled when we deploy Flash 11.x. So my question is there a command line property that can be passed to the MSI install file that SCUP uses to disable the auto update scheduled task? I opened up the MSI with InstallShield and didn’t find any MSI properties that can be used. All the MSI has is a custom action that launches the install exe with -install -msi. Is there some command that’s not documented? We could always push out another package for 11.x machines which disables the auto updater scheduled task but I want to keep it simple and handle the auto updater task via SCUP.


    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Steve,

      There’s good and bad news for you.

      First the good news: If you simply push Flash Player via SCUP and don’t push a mms.cfg configuration file, the Background Updater will be disabled by default. You can refer to the Flash Player Administration Guide if you’d like to read more about mms.cfg files. With a mms.cfg file, you will be able to control your update experience at a fairly granular level.

      The bad news: The scheduled task and service will be installed by default and there is currently no way to skip this with an MSI package. We did add the ability to skip this step for the regular .exe installer, but this is not yet enabled for MSI packages. If you’d like to see this added, I encourage you to take a few minutes to either enter a bug in our bug base, or to post to our Flash Player installation forum.

      If you haven’t already, you might also want to consider pushing Flash Player updates from an internal server via the Background Updater.

      Hope this helps and thanks for your interest!


      • Steve says:

        Hi Stephen,

        Thank you for your response. I am curious how the Background Updater scheduled task will be disabled by default when Flash Player is deployed via SCUP. My understanding was the actual install executable file is still the same as what we get from the general Adobe Flash Player download site. If the task is disabled by default it means that there is a separate executable exclusively for SCUP that has the task disabled in it already. Is this the case?

        We are going to be testing the deployment of Flash via SCUP over the next few weeks and see if the scheduled task is disabled by default.


        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi Steve,

          The executables are the same as the ones on the regular Adobe Flash Player download site. The reason why the Background Updater will be disabled by default is because when the installer is run via SCUP, no mms.cfg file will be created. This means that the behavior will be identical to the behavior that you would have if you had an mms.cfg with the default values for AutoUpdateDisable and SilentAutoUpdateEnable set. The default values are AutoUpdateDisable=0 and SilentAutoUpdateEnable=0, which would result in the notification updater being enabled.

          To enable the Background Updater, you would need to push an mms.cfg with AutoUpdateDisable=0 and SilentAutoUpdateEnable=1. To disable all updates, you would choose AutoUpdateDisable=1 and SilentAutoUpdateEnable=0 (note that this is discouraged).

          You can read more about the mms.cfg settings in the Flash Player Administration Guide.


  33. Ron says:

    We are a Community College and any computer that our students can get onto needs to be tied down so tight that nothing can be installed while a student is logged on. The SilentAutoUpdate background installer seems to work perfectly since it happens totally in the background. What worries me are those updates that will not be pushed via the background installer. A student cannot do anything when an update notice is presented on the desktop. It would require that a student either ingore the notice or attempt the update. Most of the students would attempt the update, unsuccessfully of course, which woulld take them away from what is happening in the lab or class. You can see why we cannot allow notices to appear while a student is logged on. Is there a way to allow the updates to be installed that can be installed by the background installer, yet, prevent notification of those updates requiring user input? Can the installer that would normally notify the user and do the update be shutdown? Is there a way of notifying a technician of updates needing installation? We could download the install package and create a script to install it remotely at a more convenient time.


    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Ron,

      There is currently no way to disable the notification updater and only enable the Background Updater.

      Out of curiosity: How have you been handling updates to Flash Player before the Background Updater was released approximately 3 months ago?

      I asked for the official statement around this, and that’s what I got:
      “background updates is a Flash Player enhancement to secure machines in a more efficient way and will be used for fixes for security attacks in the wild, but that Adobe would like to inform users of our quarterly scheduled releases. These will be no more than 4 times a year.”

      It was also suggested that you could subscribe to the Release Notes and then download the package and push to your systems whenever notification updates occur.

      I hope this helps.


  34. bob says:

    Everyday i get the error Adobe Flash Player Update Service 11.2 r202 has stopped working, i’m using the 64bit windows vista. I’ve had nothing but problems with adobe flash player, as have millions of others if you search google.. how can such a large company create such a disastrous application?!

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Bob,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having problems. We are very interested in knowing more about your particular problem. Could you please post to the Adobe Flash Player installation forum? One of our Customer Experience Engineers will be happy to assist you.


      • J. Weng says:

        The new Adobe Flash Player update DOESN’T SUPPORT WINDOWS VISTA 64 BIT!!
        They’ve come out with compatability for all mobile devices, Windows 7 64 bit, and everything else under the sun that cam out AFTER Vista 64 bit, but nothing for us millions who have Vista 64 bit. Thanks alot Adobe, I’ll remember YOUR loyalty when I need to upgrade my Photoshop programs and anything else Adobe, and so will everyone else you left hanging for years now!

        • Stephen Pohl says:

          This is not a recent change. To my knowledge, Vista 64-bit has never been officially supported by Flash Player. However, you should still be able to install it and use it. You just won’t get official support for it.

          Aside from that: Please remember that you’re commenting on a blog of an individual engineer on the Flash Player team. I understand that you’re upset, but you will have more people listening (and potentially reacting) if you post to the Flash Player forums.

  35. richard says:

    I have been trying to download Adobe Flash Player 11, but it gets so far and shuts down. I also have a “Flash” logo in my Control Panel that will not let me uninstall when I right click it. Help, I really want to up grade, but i think i may have to uninstall an older version, but i can’t find it anywhere other than on my Control Panel

  36. Kurt says:

    We use an ISA 2006 server that with our web proxy filter settings is killing any update to flash player. Can you list the actual file extesnsions that the updater pulls and the URLs that are pulled from? I suspect I am going to need to create a spearate firewall ruleset with it’s own HTTP filter settings just for Flash Updater to work properly.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Kurt,

      This information can be found in the Flash Player Administration Guide in the section “Background updates from an internal server” starting on page 18. Depending on your situation, you might also want to consider this section in general and choose to deploy your updates internally, if this is more convenient for you.

      I hope this helps!

  37. Anonymous says:

    Why am I still being prompted to install Adobe Flash updates even though I’ve (multiple times) ticked the box to say I want updates to be automatic? This is really annoying. updates should happen without user intervention, like those for Windows.

    PS Why can’t I use my freeserve.co.uk email address to post this comment??? It says it is not valid!

  38. anon says:

    latest version listed at https://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/
    is 11.3.300.257
    but https://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/flashplayer/update/current/sau/11/xml/version.xml
    shows Plugin major=”11″ minor=”2″ buildMajor=”202″ buildMinor=”235″
    so the updater service does no updating,
    what gives?

  39. Matt says:


    I just updated all of my files to support the new 11.3 upgrade, but the XML file that I downloaded from the Adobe website doesn’t correctly reference the new 11.3 version. Does that mean the versions on the server haven’t been updated yet? here is the XML file that I downloaded from.


    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Matt,

      You’re correct that Flash Player’s Background Updater has not (yet) been enabled for this version of Flash Player. This is a policy around Flash Player updates that has been documented here: http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/flash-player-background-updates.html.

      If you have feedback regarding this policy, please post to the Flash Player forums.
      If you’d like to see this policy changed or have ideas for enhancements, please open a bug in our bug base.

      Especially for your use case it might make sense to open a feature request to add the Background Updater deliverables to the list of binaries that get released through the distribution channel. This would allow you to push updates on your internal network with the Background Updater, since you have full control of the “release date” on your network.

      I hope this helps…

      • Matt says:

        I’m not sure how the policy link you gave me states why the update hasn’t be released, but I certainly think it’s a horrible idea as a company to release a security bulletin stating all of the vulnerabilities that you are fixing with this new version, but then not making those updates available to the new patching algorithm that you’ve been working so hard to get people to use and embrace.

        The real problem for me is compliance. Once you publish these vulns publically, I am on a timeclock to get your products remediated on my network. Now I have fully embraced and am using the new patching algorithm that Adobe recommends, and now I can’t update.

        I would submit something to the bug base but our wise internet filter is blocking it for some reason but maybe you can run it up the chain or make those update files available another way maybe through the ftp site.

        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi Matt,

          Thank you for your feedback. You provided some great data points and I ran this up the chain. I will keep you posted about any new developments.

          Thanks again!

  40. iosif says:


    I’m a computer technician and i do a lot of field work, so most of the computers that i’m servicing are offline.
    what i would like to know is there a way to download an offline installer for flash player (both IE & mozilla) and also for adobe reader.
    Also, would be a good thing to add to the install process an option in witch i can choose whether or not to install the auto-update service and the scheduled task.
    Another point would be NOT to offer to install some bloatware toolbar or browser when i’m downloading the web-installer.


  41. iosif says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Thank you for your support and quick response. The links that you provided are exactly what i was looking for.
    I think it would be very helpful to add a text to the updater option from the installer panel, stating that “the service & the scheduled task will not be installed if the update option is set to disable”

  42. Juli R says:

    I keep spot checking machines to see if they have updated to 11.3 from 11.2 and none of them have. I keep wondering why these machines are not autoupdating – when I installed the last flash player I chose the auto update and now I am not seeing any of these machines auto update! What is wrong? I have no idea.

  43. Juli R says:

    I saw why now from another thread. This is ridiculous. 30 DAYS to silent install with a quarterly update release. LAME. This is a joke? Right????

  44. Juli R says:

    Thanks Stephen Pohl for your response.

  45. Juli R says:

    Stephen- one more quick question….If a user is a non-admin- and they are notified of an update – do they have to authenticate or just click yes to install with the new version?

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Juli,

      Flash Player is a system wide component and therefore requires authentication to install. If your users are regular users (not admin), they will be unable to install the update. If your systems remain enrolled in the Background Updater, they will be silently updated once the updates become available for the Background Updater.

      I hope this helps.

  46. Juli R says:

    Yes it did. Thanks so much.


  47. LM says:

    Stephen, I would like to add to the comment on Ron made on May 17. We are a medium sized corporation and running approximately 7000 Windows 7 64-bit systems with all users as non-admins. It is quite a burden on our support resources that even with the background updater enabled, Flash still actively prompts users to install updates and users then get UAC prompts and can install due to lack of rights.

    I would like to formally request that the option to only run background updates and display no user notification prompts be added. I appreciate the work Adobe has done so far with the auto-updater and this additional feature would really be welcomed by many companies.

  48. Rick says:

    Hi Stephen,

    In my case (standalone regular user) I was finally prompted to update – this morning, i.e. it took 8-9 days to get to my machine – and so I did! keeping same “automatic/silent” update option.
    I noticed then that the Plugin was updating first? not the ActiveX – which I believe is supposed to be updated first? Am I right? Please note that no browser was open during the process.

    So I then rebooted the machine and went to the Flash Folder to confirm that only the Plugin (and the UpdateService.exe) files were updated.

    Have patiently waited all day for the second update instance and nothing yet, so would like to ask you:
    – Why I wasn’t prompted again inmediately after that reboot? Was my mistake to reboot the system “before” the first hour, i.e. before the Backgroung Updater next checking?
    – Should I keep waiting for a second prompt at all? If so, when now – within the next 24 hours, 7 more days or 30 days?

    Of course I could install it manually but I would certainly like to see this nice piece working ok…

    I wish there’s a clearer and more detailed upfront info in the future regarding changes to the Background Updater’s behavior or policies (not to claim on you as have done a terrific work with this Blog), but just wanted to point out that because of this general misinformation, it has been a long week – for many users – of hard learning about the reasons for not pushing the 11.3 upgrade silently.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Rick,

      Thank you for your feedback. First, I’d like to say that we’re continuously working on improving our documentation and I’ll make sure to forward your request for better information regarding our policies. You also inspired me to work on a blog post that explains some of the technical aspects of our update mechanisms a bit better.

      Now, regarding your questions: A wait time of 8-9 days for the regular notification to show sounds perfectly reasonable. Here are a few things to remember: When the update is made available for the notification updater only (i.e. not for the new Background Updater), the check interval defaults to 7 days. The notification updater also requires you to reboot your system before it displays the notification. So 8-9 days sounds reasonable.

      Another element to remember about the notification updater is that it only updates one Player at a time. This is a shortcoming that was addressed in the Background Updater. The Player that will be updated first is the last one to perform an update check. The other Player will check again based on the interval, i.e. a default interval of 7 days. Once you reboot your system after this second check has occurred, both types of Flash Player will have been updated.

      Note that there is a time window after which quarterly updates to Flash Player are also made available for the Background Updater (currently 30 days). This means that if you didn’t get notified for both types of Flash Player installed on your system in 30 days, the remaining Players that weren’t updated yet will be updated silently by the Background Updater. This is why it is important to remain enrolled in the Background Updater.

      I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any further questions.


      • Rick says:

        Hi Stephen,

        Many thanks your info above which very helpful indeed.
        Please note that many users that are enrolled in the Background Updater would still like to know what’s going on behind the scenes in their systems and do check on every update from Adobe to learn what’s it about.

        The Team in charge of the documentation should know that revising a document (5 days after its original release) so important as the Security Bulletin APSB12-14, only to remove the reference to the silent update mechanism, but without at least a link to where the new or corrected information (Background Update options have changed) was… is very confusing! – Just a suggestion!

        One good thing is that at least made me aware of this very useful blog where I have learned a few things and I can assure you that a new post of yours shall be gladly welcomed.

        Thanks again,

  49. rich says:

    My flash player has stopped working on facebook after a recent update – advertising and scrabble no longer work . Is there a fix for this?

  50. Jonathan says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I have a Windows 7 PC that used to have a Flash Player icon in the System and Security section of the Control Panel. Being the curious cat, I clicked on it, went to Advanced, and saw that there were two versions of Flash Player: ActiveX and Plug-In. Both were outdated so I went and got the latest update. When I clicked the Flash Player settings and went to Advanced I saw that only the ActiveX version was updated. Then foolishly I uninstalled Flash Player and reinstalled it. Now I don’t have the Flash player icon in Control Panel anymore. The only way I can access Flash Player settings is right-clicking on a flash object and clicking Global settings. I did do that, and I found out that now I only have the ActiveX version installed.

    Long story short, I have two questions.

    1. Do I need the Plug-in version? If I do, where would I get it?
    2. Can I PLEASE get the Flash Player icon back in Control Panel?

    • Jonathan says:

      Hi Stephen, I reinstalled Flash Player and the icon came back. So no need for you to answer the second question.

      • Stephen Pohl says:

        Hi Jonathan,

        You don’t have to have the Plugin version of Flash Player installed if you don’t use it. However, if you’re using Firefox or any other NPAPI browser, simply open this browser and navigate to http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer. This page will deliver the latest version of the Plugin Flash Player to you.

        I hope this helps.

  51. sadie says:

    I don’t remember installing adobe flash 11.3 but I must have. the update service continually (about every hour) puts up a message that it has encountered a problem and needs to close. The choice is to debug, send report, not to send a report. I have tried all three to get rid of this annoying message but it still persists. How can I disable flash player as I don’t see it in my start up program? I am using Windows XP and Mozilla browser.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Sadie,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having these issues. As a workaround, you can disable the Background Updater in the Flash Player Settings Manager. Go to the Control Panel and click on Flash Player. Then, open the Advanced tab and select “Notify me to install updates”. This should prevent the constant crashers.

      Please also make sure to post your issue to the Flash Player installation forums. This will ensure that our customer engineers can follow up on it.


  52. Kamy says:

    My flash player has stopped working on facebook so I updaded my flash player but it dosent actually install even though it says it did. It says that I need to change setting on my computer but I dont know how! what am I suppost to do?!

  53. Matt says:

    When the update server doesn’t have the latest, is it possible for us to download flash and package it ourselves? I see the plugin is now available on the server but the activeX version is still the old version. Can we expect this to happen often too?

    • Matt says:

      Well, this might not be recommended procedure, but my clients are now updating to the latest activeX versions. I snagged the files from a different url and then updated the .xml file manually putting 11.3.300.257 in the version.


      I can’t wait another day waiting for the update to become available on the site listed in the documentation. I have compliance deadlines, as well as, due dilligence for security. Hopefully the policy makers are hearing a lot from the people who now look like assholes because they sold this new update mechanism to their management as a “cure all’ and it doesn’t live up to expectations.

      • Stephen Pohl says:

        Hi Matt,

        I’m glad that you found this workaround, and I can confirm that this will work.

        Once I hear about a change in the policy around these installers for IT administrators, I will make sure to announce it on my blog and to let you know.

        Thanks for your understanding.

        • Matt says:

          Is there a link to the .xml file in my work around as well? I don’t mind manually editing the file but it would be nice to know that I’m actually putting the correct version number in there.

  54. Robin Gorham says:

    I am getting repeated “FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe – Application Error” on my XP computer. At least once a day – twice today already in 2 hours of use. It is driving me NUTS.
    Details below:
    FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe – Application Error

    the instruction at “0x007a6234″ referenced memory at “0x009480f”. The memory could not be “written.”
    Click OK to terminate the program
    Click on CANCEL to debug the program

    Microsoft Error Message
    Adobe FlashPlayer Update Service 11.3 r300 has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience

    Please tell Microsoft about this problem

    Error signature
    szAppName: FlashPlayerUpdate Service.exe szAppVer: 11.3.300.262
    szModName: ntdll.dll szModVer: 5.1.2600.6055 offset: 00113c0

    This error report includes: information regarding the condition of AdobeFlashPlayer Update Service 11.3 r300 when the problem occurred the operating system version and computer hardware in use and the IP address of your computer

    Please Help!!

  55. flashplayerupdateservice.exe Application Error

    the instruction at “0x007a0283″ referenced memory at “0x009480f”. The memory could not be “written.”
    Click OK to terminate the program
    Click on CANCEL to debug the program

    Blah, blah, blah. Already disabled the service.

  56. aao says:

    let me summarize what I just read – “I am a an Adobe developer and I feel like installing and running a Windows service even though my user opted out of it. I did it because I do not give a shit about CPU/memory usage on my user’s computer, nor I care how much hassle it creates for system administrators. I also do not care that my service freezes internet explorer once an hour(in our fantasy Adobe land it only takes microseconds)”.
    If I understood adobe message correctly this is outrages.

  57. sadie says:

    Thanks for the info but are you sure it’s Control Panel where I can make these changes. It looks as if I can only remove it from there. There is no “advanced tab” or ability to make other changes in Flash player.

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Sadie,

      Yes, it’s the Flash Player Settings Manager in the Control Panel. You might have to type “Flash Player” in the search box in the top right corner if you’re on Windows 7. Note that I’m not referring to “Add/Remove Programs”.


  58. Tim says:

    We have allowed Adobe Flash to create the scheduled task, however we modified the task to run but once a month. Will this work?
    We have tried and it appears that it does nothing. We continue with the older version of Flash loaded on the computer.
    Macromed\Flash\FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe 183
    =X====== M/ 2012-05-15+20-55-45.412 ========

    2012-6-26+15-12-9.956 [error] 1217 -2146881269
    2012-6-26+15-12-9.956 [error] 1300 183

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Tim,

      Unfortunately, this will not work. This is due to the fact that the task could be reset every time that there is an update to Flash Player. If you leave the task on its default settings, does the Background Updater work? If not, would you mind reporting this issue on the Flash Player installation forums? That would be much appreciated.


  59. Stephen M. says:

    I installed the newest update for Adobe and now I cant watch videos on YouTube or anything.

  60. fabio says:

    Hi – if I disable the autoupdates (I do this via the mms.cfg file), the scheduled task is executed anyway every 1 hr. Can you confirm this doesn’t mean that Flash goes on the network, seeking updates?
    Why having the scheduled task enabled, then? – couldn’t you set it as disabled?
    And no way to disable it via mms.cfg?

    • Stephen Pohl says:

      Hi Fabio,

      I can confirm that disabling the updater in the mms.cfg will disable all update checks via your network. The reason why the task cannot be disabled is because you’re just modifying a text file. If you want the task and service disabled, I encourage you to disable the Background Updater from the Flash Player settings manager. You can find this in your Control Panel.

      I hope this clarifies things a bit.

      • Kevin says:

        Is there a way to disable the Background Updater programattically? Meaning via some registry key, file, etc? Or is the only way to disable it via the GUI which requires manual user intervention?

        • Stephen Pohl says:

          Hi Kevin,

          Yes, the Background Updater can be disabled programatically via the mms.cfg file. You will find everything you need in the Flash Player administration guide. To disable the Background Updater, you can (for example) set these options in the mms.cfg file:


          • Kevin says:

            And only when NOT using the .MSI, correct? (There’s a document that seems to leave out this little bit of information which is pretty important, IMO).

          • Stephen Pohl says:

            Hi Kevin,

            The Background Updater can be disabled via the mms.cfg even if you’ve used the MSI installers. What it cannot do is remove the scheduled task and service, but the Background Updater mechanism itself will be disabled. I hope this clarifies things.


  61. Kyle says:

    My flash player doesn’t work very much anymore…
    I have downgraded, updated, and Googled so much. I can’t even listen to a simple radio. Please help.
    -Windows 7 64bit – High end specs.

  62. matt says:

    I too am getting repeated “FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe – Application Error” on my XP computer. seemingly ever hour

    Details below:
    FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe – Application Error

    as per the not I will disable the hourly update..

  63. Gerson says:

    Stephen, I’m having the same problem with Flash Player Update Crashes. I’ve checked in the Control Panel and I have the most recent version. I’ve set the option to upload updates manually. But sending out the same message to people with this issue, saying that we should contact the engineers, seems silly. I assume you can do that too. Your users don’t have the time to do this. Please contact the engineers and tell them they need to fix this problem. Thanks, Gerson

  64. Torsten says:

    On my pc the Flash Background Service never updates my installed Flash Version, for example 11,3,300,257 to new

    I use the windows firewall with white listing rules (all other blocked). I have a rule for svchost.exe to adobe flash player service.

    Any ideas???

  65. AMZ says:

    Attention moderator: Somehow my comment got posted under a different name, Andrea Wulf, who I am not. Sorry to her. Don’t know how it happened. Here is my message:

    As reported on several forums, many people (including me) are experiencing “”Adobe Flash Update Service 11.3 r300 has encountered a problem and needs to close.” several times a day. No one is posting to those sites to suggest a fix. Perhaps you could do so here.

  66. G says:

    Why doesn’t McAfee know about the updater or accept its incoming connection? For many users this will look like an attempt at a security breach. My normal response is to block these access attempts.

  67. Matt says:

    Amazing… One month after my June 11 post about how the new patching mechanism wasn’t updated, it still isn’t for ActiveX. (ActiveX major=”11″ minor=”2″ buildMajor=”202″ buildMinor=”235″)

    I’m sure glad I found an alternate solution and edited the version.xml file myself.

    • Matt says:

      And here on the 12th, it finally shows up:

      ActiveX major=”11″ minor=”3″ buildMajor=”300″ buildMinor=”265″

      Everyone can grab it now as discussed in the admin guide.

  68. Mike says:

    WinXP-SP3 box
    I too am suddenly getting these ‘mysterious’ error popus just like Robin Gorham – (6:43 AM on June 25, 2012 post) – with the only exception being that my version is 11.3.300.265 (because it’s now July 11)
    It’s a real pain!
    It must be something ‘new’ in a Player update (ie the new Background Updater), especially considering the language or text of the error and the referenced filenames).

    I’m not going to screw around with ‘work-arounds’ (which are temporary fixes at best), or disabling things that are still on my system (disabled or not). Instead I’m going to uninstall and go back to the version before they added this stuff (ver – available at http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions.html along with a link to get the REQUIRED UNINSTALLER). I’ll tell THAT player not to check for updates. I’ll also check back with Adobe to see if they finally resolve the issue (and it must be an ‘issue’ since the exact same thing is happening to more than one person out here)

  69. Mike says:

    I too just started getting the same error popup as Robin Gorham – 6:43 AM on June 25, 2012 (except my version is newer .. latest as of 07/12/12) I didn’t (i.e. never) install the toolbar or other Google or 3rd party junk. (Other updaters want to slip stuff in too – you gotta be careful all the time) The box (Win XP Pro SP3+) has (as always) all the latest updates for the OS and other hardware as needed. Everything is 5 by 5.

    Before the Player update to 11.3.300.265 (which is causing the current problem) I had v It (and all versions prior to that) worked fine with no problems at all – ever.
    I’m a web developer and use a lot of multimedia including Flash in my work – so I’m constantly creating, testing and reviewing Flash animation and movie files using the browsers Flash AX control all the time – so reliability is important to me.

    I’m inclined to think the implementation of the Update Service combined with a here-to-for unknown Scheduled Task to run from this point on is causing a conflict with something in a PC OS that had been working just fine only last night.

    As far as trying the ‘work-around’ Adobe gave Robin goes I can only say work-a-rounds are temporary fixes at best. And you’re still left with the problem. On the other hand the suggestion to disable it still leaves the user with the offending software (i.e. the Player) installed and embedded into the system but which now is partially disabled or crippled. So -why even have it, especially when you just had a player that worked fine only days ago? (and can easily have it back again)

    I went back to the last version before this whole Update Service thing was added to the program (back to v
    Guess what …? Everything works fine again!
    I also turned OFF the check for updates. (Start\Control Panel\Flash Player\Advanced tab\ Scroll down some and put a mark in “Never check for updates (not recommended)”. I’ll do that myself by occasionally coming back to the Adobe site and checking to see if this issue gets resolved before I actually allow the Player to update.

    Before reverting to the older version you MUST uninstall the current Player first. Go to this page to download v ( 174MB ).
    On the page is also a link to download the required Uninstaller.
    You MUST run the uninstaller before you can install the ‘older’ (i.e. updater-free) version.

    FYI – As far as ‘sneaky’ software goes like a Scheduled Task you didn’t know about somehow got installed to your PC and you don’t like it — Apple QuickTime does the same thing. If you have QuickTime look for the AppleSoftwareUpdate entry in the Scheduled Tasks folder (if you have the option set to perform the check that is). For the network engineer I understand the concern and wouldn’t want it either. Plus it is as I understand it a brand new SERVICE that didn’t exist before. A developer or networking solution should be found. For the home user … like I said – QuickTime does it (but THAT updater always works – so it’s no big deal – the Scheduled Task itself – and that’s the difference).

  70. Juli R says:

    How can I tell if adobe flash has done an update….do i look in event viewer and if so – where? Thanks.

  71. txcowboycj says:

    I have FlashPlayerPlugin running and it’ eating up all my cpu. In task manager I see 2 of them. One is using 11,028k and the other is at 150,336k. It’s slowing down my computer when I watch videos. What is up with this?


  72. Bruce says:


    Every time I get an update to Flash and install it, at the end of the install I get the three update choices of ‘Allow Adobe to install updates (recommended)’; ‘Notify me to install updates’ and ‘Never check for updates (not recommended)’. Every time on my five PCs (XP Pro and 7 HP) I choose ‘Notify me to install updates’ and every single subsequent time there is an update I have to go through the same procedure again. I do NOT want Adobe to perform automatic updates. Is there a way to set it to notify me of updates but never bug me to change my update method? I’m quite sick of it and I would consider choosing the third option of ‘Never update’ if I can’t turn this annoyance off. I have tried changing the setting through the Control Panel but this doesn’t make any difference either. I just want to be notified of updates but not be pestered with those same three options EVERY time.

  73. dan bell says:

    Hi there was wondering if you had any update as to when the following fault will be fixed, as im still getting the following errors
    adobe flash player update service error 11.3 r300

  74. Jim says:

    I continue to recieve a pop up box from Adobe Flash Player Update Service 11.3 r300.m It states:

    Adobe® Flash® Player Update Service 11.3 r300 has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

    I have downloaded the newest edition – same one – from the Adobe site, but that doesn’t correct, fix, or stop the issue. How do I fix this multiple-daily occurrence?


  75. Llewellyn says:

    I keep getting an unhandled win32 exception error in Flashplayerupdateservice.exe and as my machine has Visual Studio on it, it want to know which debugger to use. This seems to happening every hours. I have tried uninstalling Adobe Flash and reinstalling, but it doesnt seem to help. I am on an XP machine. The problem has only occured in the last month.

  76. GFdadisCIA says:

    You guys are all so uninformed, ignorant or just lying! Don’t tell me your system only checks to see if its needed once everyhour because
    A. you can create a program that contacts you when it is the 24th hour.
    B. Your company has to have government programing/access no matter if you either think so or know so or not. I don’t care if you wrote the entire program yourself and check it as often as you can. GOOGLE IS OWNED BY THE GOVERNMENT and your companies right arm. There isn’t a search engine allowed by them they didn’t create or take over.
    C. You ofviously go out of your way to hide the tool bars and easy to see options not to accept them, access links to Background Updater and or ways to verify and check it.
    D. You state and this is your quote,” If you chose to turn off all updates, the Background Updater will be turned off!” And your put an exclamation mark. Basically we HAVE NO OPTION OTHER THAN DO IT WAIT UNTIL THE COMPUTER ISN’T USABLE.
    E. You also state,” If you are familiar with network analyzing tools, I encourage you to verify that there is no network traffic initiated by the Background Updater service” which you know darn good and well it is going to do other wize why have the computer. And it does that if you want it to or not.



    International Law and Business

  77. Realdine says:

    I downloaded adobe flash player 11 active x because I want to do puzzles on
    facebook. It downloads and installs perfectly but every time I shut down my
    computer it uninstalls I havve to install every time I shut my computer. What can I do.


  78. MaP says:

    Adobe Flash Player users. You have been trying to get Flash Player 11.2.xxx to work on IE since March 2012. If you make an attempt to download Flash Player and click on the System’s Requirements you will notice that you need Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 & 2008, Windows Vista and they all have to be the 32 Bit version. The weakest of the Windows versions as oppose to the 64 Bit. The only Window operating system that will work with the 64 Bit is Windows 7, MS newest operating system. Therefore, there is no bug that is going to be fixed by Adobe. The Solution if you have an older MS 64 Bit operating system is to purchase Windows 7. I am almost certain that this is a business arrangement between Adobe and Microsoft and not a Technical Issue. So a solution is to forget trying to get Adobe to fix the problem instead complaint to the websites that uses Flash Player and let them know you don’t care to use this money grabbing high jacking strategy. Especially if you don’t need a new Windows 7 operating system.

  79. Donna says:

    So with this latest update to the flash player, 11.something, you don’t have the option to NOT install the Google toolbar? I didn’t anyway. As soon as installation started, there was the google toolbar being installed. I don’t want any toolbars, thank you. So I exited the application. Is there anyway to update your flash player without having a google toolbar forced on you? (Yes, I know I can disable it/uninstall it – it’s the principle of the thing).


  80. Don says:

    My comment , what can stop a flash player from installing to your computer.
    because every time i try to download my flashplayer to my computer it not working and in need it to do my school work on it. so tell mewhat do i need to do.

  81. sesy says:

    i tried to update the Adobe Flash Player several times but its not working… I still cant watch any videos… Every time i do it it says that its updated but its not.. am i supposed to wait a couple of hours? or what am i doing wrong?

  82. Kevin says:

    Back in Sept. 24, 2012, you mentioned:

    “The Background Updater can be disabled via the mms.cfg even if you’ve used the MSI installers. What it cannot do is remove the scheduled task and service, but the Background Updater mechanism itself will be disabled. I hope this clarifies things.


    Do we have an update yet from Adobe where we can enterprise deploy via MSI/MST AND disable the Background Updater mechanism?