MS Catalog Gets Update to Remove Adobe Flash Player

I guess it was inevitable. Having already announced that Adobe Flash Player reaches end of life on December 31, 2020, MS has now released a Catalog Update to handle its removal. KB4577586 Update for the removal of Adobe Flash Player: October 27, 2020 provides a brief description. Simply put, it says “Applying this update will remove Adobe Flash Player from your Windows device.” That said, the operation is irreversible. Thus it also says “After this update has been applied, this update cannot be uninstalled” (emphasis Microsoft’s). The motivation, apparently, is to give organizations the opportunity to assess the impact that removing Flash Player might cause on users, browsers, and other applications. They also warn that even if the Player is uninstalled, if an update for that program is offered through WU, it will be proffered to those PCs. What happens then, they don’t say. My best guess is that something will fail, and error messages will follow. No big deal, but now you’ve been warned.

The Flash You Love to Hate

Adobe Flash, of course, has been — dare I say it — a flashpoint for users and customers for years and years. The focus of countless vulnerabilities and even some exploits, people have been ragging on Flash as long as I can remember. There was a time when it was one of the few tools that supported interactive, application-like functionality in a web browser. These days, most browsers do that without add-ins, thanks to HMTL 5 and modern JavaScript-based runtime environments. I can’t remember the last time I had to run Flash, or even noticed its absence or presence in my online activities. Hmmm. I guess that means its retirement will mostly go unmourned and even unnoticed.

MS says that the Flash Player will be forcibly removed from Windows OSes sometime in the first half of 2021. But if you want to get a jump on this, and make it go away sooner rather than later, visit the Microsoft Catalog to download KB4577586. Interestingly, the uninstaller works on versions of Windows from  1507 to 2004, but there isn’t one available for 20H2 (early adopters will have to wait for the forced uninstall next year, I guess). Others can apply the Catalog update to see if it has any impact on your browsing experiences. My guess is: it won’t. But do please let me know if you discover otherwise. I may want to write about that, too.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.