Microsoft releases manual update that kills Flash on Windows

Adobe Flash logo on red background
Adobe Flash logo on red background (Image credit: Adobe)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft released an optional, manual update for Windows that kills Adobe Flash.
  • The update comes ahead of a wider rollout through Windows Update expected in 2021.
  • The update is available via the Microsoft Update Catalog now.

Microsoft this week started laying the groundwork for killing Adobe Flash on Windows. The company released an update on the Microsoft Update Catalog that removes Adobe Flash Player from Windows systems (via Bleeping Computer). The update comes ahead of Adobe Flash's retirement at the end of 2020.

"We are releasing this removal update in advance of end of support to help customers test and validate their environments for any impact that might occur by the removal of Adobe Flash Player," Microsoft said in a support article accompanying the update. "Also, if another security update for Adobe Flash Player is released, customers who take this removal update will still be offered the security update."

Microsoft is officially set to end support for Adobe Flash with its retirement at the end of 2020. December 2020 marks the end of Flash security updates for Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge (legacy). The new Microsoft Edge will lose Flash Player in January 2021.

This update's arrival lines up with a timeline Microsoft released earlier this year concerning Flash's removal. Under that plan, this update was scheduled to become available in fall 2020. Going forward, Microsoft expects to offer it as an optional update via Windows Update in "early 2021."

The update will move to "recommended" status a few months after it is introduced through Windows Update. In the summer of 2021, Microsoft says it will remova all APIs, group policies, and user interfaces that "specifically govern the behavior of Adobe Flash Player" from Microsoft Edge (legacy) and Internet Explorer 11."

For now, this update is available to manually install via the Microsoft Update catalog. It applies to all versions of Windows 10, along with Windows Server 2016 and 2012, and Windows 8.1.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl