No sense delaying the inevitable.
As we’ve all known for a while now, Adobe is officially ending support for Flash Player at the end of the year. There have long been concerns, both from Adobe and other major tech companies, that Flash contains a variety of vulnerabilities and potential exploits that could expose users to hacking and theft. However, a lot of companies operating online use Flash in some capacity, whether it be for user interfaces, video streaming, or animation. Since Adobe made their discontinuation announcement way back when, these companies have been researching alternatives, and for those who feel confident that they’ve found a better way, Microsoft is now offering them a chance to take the plunge early.
Microsoft has released a new update to Windows 10 that completely wipes all traces of Flash from a user’s system, whether it be Flash plugins in web browsers or the standalone Flash player. All Flash programs are completely uninstalled, and cannot be reinstalled. This update, coded KB4577586, is not currently mandatory for Windows 10 users; it won’t pop up in your usual Windows 10 update prompt. Rather, it’s available for optional download from the Microsoft Update Catalog for admins to download and implement manually.
“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. 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 noted.
Microsoft will still release any security updates for Flash created by Adobe until service officially ends at the end of the year. Afterward, this update will enter into the normal Windows 10 update cycle sometime in 2021. If you absolutely still need to use Flash for some reason, Microsoft recommends making a system restore point before installing the update.