If you’re a Chrome user and you’ve probably noticed that Flash is blocked by default in your browser. Google dislikes Flash due to the serious security flaws inherent in Flash, and therefore does everything in its power to make you not use Flash.
The only problem is that there are many more sites that use Flash. None of the major sites you visit every day, like Facebook, Instagram, etc., use it, but many smaller and older sites just haven’t bothered to move to HTML 5. For example, I’m taking a Cisco course at my local office. community college and I need to sign in to the Cisco NetAcademy site to complete assignments. The problem is that some questions require Flash to view.
If you do a quick Google search for enabling Flash in Chrome, you will see many articles prompting you to download Flash from the Adobe website and install it (which won’t work) or open the Chrome tab and go to Chrome: // plugins ( which also won’t work anymore). In the most recent version of Chrome (57), you can no longer manage plugins by going to this URL. Instead, you just get the message “This site is not available.”
This is terribly unintuitive and really confused me because I used to go there to turn Flash on or off as needed. Now it seems that they only want you to enable it for certain sites where needed. In this article, I’ll explain how to get Flash to work when you need it, and how to disable it otherwise.
Check Chrome Flash settings
First, let’s check the Flash settings in Chrome. There are several places where you can do this. Open a new tab and enter chrome: // flags.
Make sure Prefer HTML over Flash and Run all Flash content, if Flash is set to Allow, are set to Default. Open another tab and enter chrome: // components. In Adobe Flash Player, click the Check for Updates button.
Now click on the Chrome menu button in the upper right corner and select “Settings”.
Scroll down the page and click Show Advanced Settings. Scroll down a little more and click on “Content Settings” under the “Privacy” section.
In the pop-up dialog, scroll down until you see the Flash heading. Make sure that the Ask me check box is selected before allowing sites to run Flash (recommended). Obviously, if you want to completely block Flash in Chrome, select “Block sites from running Flash.” You should never select Allow sites to run Flash unless you have a really compelling reason, like using Chrome in a virtual machine or something.
Allow sites to run Flash
Now comes the fun part! To run Flash, you must only enable it for certain sites. It is no longer possible to turn it on all the time for everything. One way to specify a site for Flash is to click the Manage Exceptions button in the Content Settings – Flash section, as shown in the screenshot above.
As you can see, I’ve added the NetAcad site I mentioned earlier with the Allow option for the behavior. This method is a little cumbersome as you have to go to the settings page, etc. An easier way to allow a site to run Flash is to go to the site and then click the little icon to the left of the URL in the address bar.
The icon will be either a padlock icon if the connection is using HTTPS, or an information icon if the connection is insecure. By clicking on this icon, you will see a set of options that you can configure for that particular site. There will be Flash at the bottom. By default, it should be set to “Use global default (Ask)”, which means the browser should ask you if you want to enable Flash for a site with Flash content.
However, in my experience, the browser never asks me to enable Flash content, even if the website clearly contains Flash content. So, I need to select the Always allow on this site option for Flash to work. Note that you might have to close the tab and reload it for the Flash content to display correctly.
That’s all. Hopefully this clarifies exactly how Flash works in the latest version of Chrome. I’m sure this will change again soon, so I will definitely update this post if this happens. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Enjoy!