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Issue #519: July 2-8, 2017

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Q: Good afternoon. It has been awhile since I have bothered you. I now have a new problem.  I keep getting a pop up with the warning; “Shockwave Flash has quit working.”

 I have uninstalled and re-downloaded both Adobe Flash Player and Shockwave Player. I still get the problem and the browser hangs up.   I really do not know what “Shockwave Flash” is. Seems to me that in Adobe they are two different things. I see on the Internet solutions to the “Shockwave Flash” problem but all of them seem to require downloading a for-cost program. I have no objection doing this, but want to be sure the vendor is legitimate.  At this point I am confused and looking for your expert help.  You have helped my many times in the past and that help is greatly appreciated.

– George C.
Shalimar, Florida

A: Well, let’s see if I can keep my record in-tact, George.  Before I do, please allow me to educate the masses about Flash and Shockwave.  You are correct in saying that they are two different things.  Both are browser plug-ins, that is to say, add-on software for web browsers that allow the browser to display content beyond that for which it was originally written and designed.  Between the two, Flash is by far the more prevalent, being installed on around 95% of Internet-connected PCs.  It is used to display movies, animations and other graphical content that a typical web browser can’t handle alone.  Shockwave, on the other hand, is mostly used for online games and other applications that run in a browser.  While there are Flash plugins for almost every browser on almost every platform, Shockwave is only available on Windows and Mac OS platforms.  It is because of this limited availability of the plugins for potential users that most sites offer their multimedia content in Flash.  Having said all that, you are not the only person who gets confused by these.  I believe this is in no small part to the poor naming choice by Macromedia – the inventor of Shockwave.  They just had to go and name it “Shockwave Flash” when they published it, despite the existence of another product already named “Flash”.  Unfortunately this has never been corrected, but as you said, they are two distinct products, although over the years, both products have come to be owned by the same company.

I notice in your contact information that you’re running Windows 10.  I’m going to have to assume that you’re running Internet Explorer, rather than Microsoft Edge, since Flash functionality is built-into Edge, and it’s unlikely you’d be getting that error.

So, the first thing you need to do is stop relying on the built-in uninstallers to do a complete and clean de-installation of the software.  It is possible that components of either Flash or Shockwave are being left over when you perform the removal, and are remaining in-place through installation of a fresh copy.  To get around this, there are dedicated uninstallers for both Flash Player and Shockwave Player that will hopefully ensure all traces are completely removed from your computer, leaving you with the proverbial clean slate from which to start a fresh installation.  You can obtain the Flash uninstaller by visiting and the Shockwave Uninstaller from Carefully follow all the instructions on that page to ensure Flash is fully removed from your system, then install a fresh copy.

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