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How To Fix Shockwave Flash Crashes in Google Chrome

flashchromecrash

If your copy of Google Chrome has taken on a sudden and inexplicable hatred for Shockwave Flash, we’re here to help. Read on as we show you how to tame Chrome and get it to play nice with Flash.

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More so than other browsers, Google Chrome is particularly susceptible to a specific but not uncommon situation in which it simply will not coexist peacefully with Adobe Flash—frequent slow downs and annoying crashes are common as a result. The following tutorial will help you get Chrome back to its speedy self.

What Causes The Issue?

2012-01-16_134919

The reason we’re talking about Chrome and not, say, Firefox, is because of the way Chrome handles Flash content. While other browsers call upon the Flash installation of the host system, Chrome includes an internal Flash installation. When everything goes smoothly, this isn’t a problem—the internal Flash installation is updated with every new Chrome release.

Unfortunately, things can fall apart pretty easily if Chrome gets confused and attempts to utilize both the OS installation of Flash and the internal Chrome installation of Flash. The result is serious browser lag, temporary lockup, and then a browser-wide crash of all active Flash instances. You don’t realize how many web sites use Flash until every single tab locks up with a crash warning—”The following plug-in has crashed: Shockwave Flash”

How Do I Know A Conflicting Flash Installation Is Causing The Crashes? 2012-01-16_134644

First of all, despite the warning about Shockwave, the actual warning has nothing to do with Adobe Shockwave, which is a separate program/multimedia system from Adobe Flash. Second, while not every instance of Flash flaking out in Chrome can be attributed to a Flash install conflict, we’ve found it to be the most common reason users are experiencing Flash-related problems.

How can you tell if a Flash conflict is the source of your trouble? Run Chrome. In the address bar, type about:plugins in the address bar. After you press enter, you’ll be greeted with a list of all the plug-ins installed in Chrome (this is different from user-installed Extensions). Look down the list of plug-ins for the Flash entry. If the entry looks like Flash (2 Files) there is a very good chance the source of your Flash-related crashes is a conflict between the two.

In the upper right hand corner of the browser window, there is a small toggle labeled [+] Details. Click on that toggle to expand the entries for all the plug-ins. Return to the entry for Flash.

2012-01-16_135248

You should see something like the screenshot above: two entries for Flash, one for the internal Chrome installation (highlighted in red here) and one for the host OS’s installation (seen below the highlighted entry).

You need to click on the Disable link for Chrome’s internal installation of Flash (make sure you disable the one located in Chrome’s AppData folder and not the separate stand-alone Flash installation). Once you do so the entry for the internal installation should look like so:

2012-01-16_135912

Go ahead and close the tab and then close Google Chrome. Restart Chrome and resume normal browsing—visit Adobe’s test page to ensure everything looks good:

2012-01-16_194053

Remember, you’ll no longer be getting automatic updates with each Chrome upgrade. Make sure to check for updates at Adobe’s Flash download page and/or turn on the update check in your local installation of Adobe Flash.

Check For Conflicting Software

Some software on your computer can conflict with Google Chrome and cause it to crash. This includes malware and network-related software that interferes with Google Chrome.

Google Chrome has a hidden page that will tell you if any software on your system is known to conflict with Google Chrome. To access it, type chrome://conflicts into Chrome’s address bar and press Enter.

chrome conflicts

You can also check the Software that crashes Google Chrome page on Google’s website for a list of software that causes Chrome to crash. The page includes instructions for solving conflicts with some conflicting software.

If you have conflicting software on your system, you should update it to the latest version, disable it, or uninstall it. If you are not sure which software a module is related to, try Googling the name of the library.

Run the Google Software Removal Tool

Google just launched a new tool that will help you clean up your Chrome browser from anything that is interfering with normal operation.

All you need to do is navigate to www.google.com/chrome/srt/ and click the Download now button.

When it restarts it’ll ask you to reset your browser, which can be really helpful in preventing crashes and other problems.

Scan for Malware and Spyware

Unlike your antivirus software, which will usually happily allow spyware to take over your computer, an anti-malware solution will actually find, remove, and block spyware that invades your browser.

How does this apply to a Flash problem? Because a lot of the spyware causes instability in your browser, which then causes other problems.

We recommend scanning with Malwarebytes and using that to remove all of the problems. It’s completely free to use, although they do have a paid version with more features like real-time blocking of spyware.

Using it couldn’t be more easy — download, install, scan, and then click the Apply Actions button to remove all of the malware. Just like vacuuming inside of your couch cushions, you’ll be shocked at how much nonsense you’ll find.

Other Fixes

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If for whatever reason disabling the built-in Flash doesn’t help, we suggest playing around with different combinations. Try turning off the OS Flash installation instead of the built-in Flash installation for example. Also, try visiting a flash-based web site while Incognito Mode (when you enter Incognito Mode it turns off all your Extensions which may or may not be causing issues with Flash). Finally, as a last ditch effort, you can reinstall Chrome (if Flash works in every other browser but Chrome, this is likely the only option you have left).

You can create a new profile for the browser, or go through a number of other steps as well. Be sure to read our guide to Troubleshooting Google Chrome crashes for more tips.


Have a tip or trick for dealing with tricky Flash installations or other browser quirks? Sound off in the comments.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/17/12

Comments (59)

  1. Nicklas

    Thanks, been dealing with some crashes lately! I didn’t know what to do, i searched through loads of threads and didn’t find any working suggestions. At the end i was about to re-install flash, so i uninstalled it, and when i went to flash’s website it said i still had flash installed. Since then (a week or two ago) i’ve only experienced 1 crash. Before then i had at least one crash a day.

  2. kma

    What is this? Google or Adobe?

  3. simracer

    I thought the whole point of using Chrome’s internal flash version was increased security. If you disable that one and use the other flash from Windows, aren’t you compromising the security?

    I love Chrome. I really do. But these problems forced me to uninstall it tonight and install Firefox instead.

  4. Jaxter Cloverfield

    Wow amazing method since i change it no crashes in my flash player anymore ! especially when i play games on Facebook

  5. PP3TNC

    as you mention disable the chrome flash, but why? is it official or OS better than the ones in chrome?
    whatever you do in future article, you should mention more clearly and state the reason for your recommendation

  6. elfsn

    Thanks your tips. I encountered this problem a few days ago both in my chrome browser and the chrome engine in Avant browser .And uninstall+reinstall didn’t solve it. There do have two flash in the about:plugins page.I have disabled the one from chrome folder.Both the two browser are ok now.
    Thank you very much.

  7. Jason Fitzpatrick

    @simracer: The primary reason Google bundle Flash with Chrome was to ensure that it stayed updated and streamlined with the Chrome installation. That’s awesome when it works… but terrible when it doesn’t (the Google Chrome support forums are filled with hundreds of posts by confused users who want to know why “shockwave flash keeps crashing”).

    @PP3TNC: There is no difference between the built-in Flash installation and the external installation other than one is a smaller plugin specifically for Chrome and the OS wide one is a larger installation suitable for Flash use across the entire computer. The only real negative to switching back to using the OS version instead of the internal version… is that you’re in charge of updating Flash instead of getting a fresh update along with every Chrome revision (which usually occurs every 4-6 weeks).

  8. William

    Thanks so much for the post. I have been experiencing this annoying issue for ages, glad it’s fixed.

  9. superfahd

    @Jason Fitzpatrick: in that case, would’nt it be better to use the internal plugin instead of the OS version? I’m still a bit confused about the whole thing

  10. ladybug987

    Thanks loads!!! I have had this problem for so long. There are days with multiple crashes! I have really wanted to get this straightened out because I just got a new computer and am hoping to keep it in good shape.

  11. Dana Ross

    Thank you. A lot of good knowledge there.

  12. Marie

    Ok I followed the instructions and restarted Chrome, however if you check the about:plugins again afterwards you will see that it is enabled again in Chrome. How do we stop this.

  13. Pam

    I had already done this and still get crashed so I guess I will try your suggestion of enabling the other and disable the one in chrome. THanks.

  14. Poppabutch

    Thank you! Such an easy fix for a very frustrating problem

  15. NRP

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I thought it was my ancient computer causing the problems, but this made world of difference!

  16. rat

    Thank you – good advice. But what can you do if adobe flash freezes Firefox ? It’s happening to me (and, as I hear, to many others) since last december …

  17. Mick Gill

    Thanks for the Post. I have been getting this a lot recently. Especially with a lot of tabs open.

  18. Wayne

    Thanks. This is another brilliant How To from How To Geek!

  19. Parag

    Thanx ! Very relevant and useful. Was getting sick of the frequent crashes especially while atttaching files.

  20. Parag

    Thanx ! Very relevant and effective. Was getting sick of the frequent flash crashes especially while attaching files.

  21. neo

    @rat: I am facing the same problem with Adobe Flash in Firefox, since FF4.

  22. Mo

    you can do and change and even screw your chrome bbuy playing in here
    chrome://chrome-urls/

    Do on your own risk and if you dont know what you doing then forget this post :)

  23. Mo

    this one look nice too :) and geeky

    chrome://histograms/

  24. Dr.Nicolas Rao

    I have no objection being called a geek! I try hard to handle computers and the related software in a more intelligent way, and believe me, as much as I know Chrome has a few sniffy weaknesses regards cookies, I love the clean interface and speed. Yes! I have had crashes due to AFP many times.
    This really makes my day, to be prepared for the next time it happens. I always wondered why my OS and my browser need a separate installation of AFP before. Now it makes, sense and thank you most of all for the solution. I am medical doctor, but started fiddling around with computers in 1980! Studied the MCSE material for 30 days on an 8 hour a day class system, but did not do the exams! Funnily, I am writing this on Safari on a Macbook! Thanks anyway! Nick

  25. Helene

    I did this and am still crashing any other suggestions

  26. ilijaile

    Unable to load the webpage because the server sent no data.
    Here are some suggestions:
    Reload this webpage later.
    Error 324 (net::ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE): The server closed the connection without sending any data.

  27. Jason Fitzpatrick

    @superfahd: You could try disabling the external Flash plug-in and keeping the internal plug-in. I’ve never been able to get that one to work (the crashes still continue). If people *are* getting that to work, though, I’d love to hear about it.

    Ultimately the only practically relevant issue to the end user in the internal vs. external plug-in issue is that when you switch to the external plugin you’re responsible for keeping Flash up to date.

  28. Dennis F

    This is great; hope it solves my problems. However, upon doing this I immediately received the same message when I linked back to this article. I updated Flash & tried again. It worked with no messages. Now back to Hulu to see is the 2/20 minutes crashes have stopped.

  29. mayorchum

    Very helpful! Subscribing to HTG is one great decision I will never regret!

  30. Jim

    As was asked previously, my main question is why disable the internal plugin and not the non-auto-updated OS one?

  31. Richard

    i followed the insructions but when i updated it… wouldnt update

  32. borharris

    after innumerable attempts at finding info on how to fix, all i got to say is ….. THANK YOU .. finally, someone who was able to solve the problem … again, thanks

  33. goldi

    I had previously been suffering from this issue, and this solution worked for me. As far as making sure you keep your Flash (and other programs) as up-to-date as possible, may I suggest PSI by Secunia, it is a free program that will scan your computer and report back the current status of all programs you have installed, including Windows. You can even set it to run automatically and auto-update programs that allow it, quite painless! For those requiring manual input from you, it will provide the links to where you need to go to get the updates.

  34. otron

    This has not fixed the problem.

    I had two versions yes!, i disabled the app related one. Youtube begins to work, but then it fails on other sites.
    eg.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/bbc_6music

  35. Rob Thomas

    Tried all of this but nothing has changed. You can’t fix it. I love almost everything about Chrome, particularly its speed, but, despite what Google keep saying, the sad truth is Chrome cannot handle Flash. I have done EVERYTHING they and many others suggest, but it’s ALWAYS the same result on ANY computer I use. Flash crashes. You sit watching the spinner, then get told ‘shockwave flash has become unresponsive.’ You close Chrome and reload, often it will now play. Very irritating and clearly unfixed for a long LONG time now.

  36. Le

    Keep in mind these instructions enable a generic system wide flash version that is no longer sandboxed by Chrome. You need to use Chrome’s internal flash version to benefit from the sandbox and any security benefits with it. That said, my Chrome is crashing so much b/c of Chrome’s internal flash, that I am debating whether or not to screw it and just go with the generic flash.

  37. Andy

    Thanks for this tip. That problem had been bugging me for ages.

  38. SteveMc

    Well, rats… I made the suggested changes and didn’t have a crash for about a week. Now today the crashing is back with a vengeance. ARRGHH!

  39. Philippe

    I did have the (2 Files) in my plug-in, I did what was shown here, and sadly it hasn’t fixed the problem…

    On my end it’s a very specific bug, if I have multiple youtube tabs open and I leave them open for a while, then I try and close one of them, it freezes. A pop-up window tells me Chrome is not responding, and asks me if I want to force close the application/program/thingy, or if I want to wait for him to respond. I can wait all I want he doesn’t do anything, so I force close, and every Chrome window that’s open shuts off.

    It’s been doing this for 1-2 weeks or so.

  40. Billy

    Just a word of warning, I followed these instructions (I too had both flashes in my pluggins) and it didn’t fix it. It actually cashed my computer when I tried to start up chrome again. I’ve completely uninstalled Chrome and am waiting for the dev team to bring out some kind of new update before I’ll try reinstalling it again.

  41. triscuit

    I tried this and it only works temporarily and then it starts crashing again every time I attempt to close a tab window. And by temporarily, I mean it lets me close about 4 tab windows without issue before it starts freezing up again and crashing as if I never disabled the extra flash file, even though it is still marked as disabled. So I have to enable, and then disable, just to get it from not crashing momentarily.
    Flash/Chrome has been crashing since the last automatic update. And yes, I have played around by switching which flash file is enabled or disabled, it doesn’t matter which one is enabled or disabled. Same thing happens.

  42. triscuit

    Okay, so I fixed the problem.

    Go to youtube and right click on any youtube video, select settings, go to the 1st bottom tab (should look like a computer monitor graphic) then unselect the “enable hardware acceleration” box if the box is checked.

    Fixed.

    I ran across this same problem several years ago, and that was the fix, but it’s been so long since then that I completely forgot about this fix. Lo and behold, I go look and the box was checked again for some reason.

    If you’re encountering the same kind of problems as I described in my previous comment (directly above) then try this fix (uncheck “enable hardware acceleration”) and see if that doesn’t resolve shockwave/chrome crashing issues.

  43. n1w3n6

    tnx for this. this is the fix that my friends are looking for since their chrome is crashing with the shockwave plugin. awesome! \m/

  44. MichaelTunnell.com

    Thank you for pointing this out…this came in handy just now. When I looked at the details I noticed something VERY weird…not only was it trying to use 2 versions of flash it seemed to not be using the built in version at all…it was using the adobe installed plugin and appdata from firefox as I have all browsers for development purposes.

  45. João Sampaio

    Isn’t the Chrome one faster than the OS’s version?
    Why you chose teh OS version?

  46. freeman

    Thumbs up if your viewing this on Chrome ! lol :D

    I actually have 3 players ! :D :

    C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\PepperFlash\11.1.31.203\pepflashplayer.dll
    Type: PPAPI (out-of-process)

    Name: Shockwave Flash
    Description: Shockwave Flash 11.1 r102
    Version: 11,1,102,55
    Location: C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\17.0.963.46\gcswf32.dll

    and

    Name: Shockwave Flash
    Description: Shockwave Flash 11.1 r102
    Version: 11,1,102,55
    Location: C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\NPSWF32.dll

    The secon and the third one must be enabled ,otherwise does not work – so I can’t disable the system one :) It works regardless I enable or disable the first strange one :D ;)

  47. joem

    Hi, thanks for the article. However, when I go to my plugin page, three entries for flash appear. Two are the ones you described, with the appdata one already disabled (perhaps because there was a crash lately?). The third one is: C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\17.0.963.46\gcswf32.dll
    What should I do with this one? Also, my Avast antivirus system popped up a warning of a trojan that they blocked, coming from flash, right after flash crashed. What’s with that? I know this is a lot, but I would appreciate any answer you could give. Thanks.

  48. riyaz

    Thanx . very helpfull tip on chrome flash i ever had . . .

  49. akubot

    The Adobe Flash test page is here

    http://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/

    so you can go there after adjusting your settings and restarting Chrome.

  50. krazy k

    When are chrome/Google going to sort out this problem of shockwave flash crashing on FaceBook games and on any link that take you to flash movies, and sometime youtube.

    I notice quite a few people have complained over these crashes, it looks like i’m going to have to find another browser that i can trust, it seem’s like google/chrome don’t want to sort this problem out, it’s been on going since 2009.

    Google/Chrome when are you going to release a patch or release a chrome version that is compatible with Vista, and Windows 7

  51. Terry

    The article says: “In the upper right hand corner of the browser window there is a small toggle labeled [+] Details.”

    I cannot find, “a small toggle labeled [+] Details”, In the upper right hand corner of my browser. I promise, I HAVE LOOKED!

    If I cannot wiggle that toggle, how can I shock my ‘Shockwave” into behaving itself???

    If anyone has the time and the inclination to help me out here, I would appreciate it.

    Please e-mail me at: tws952@aol.com

    I’m taking a BIG chance here, giving my e-mail address. PLEASE don’t abuse this poor old geezer!

    I’ve taken more than my share of abuse in my life. I WAS MARRIED TWICE!!!

    Thanks!!!

    tws952@aol.com

  52. Terry

    Hey Moderators,

    Did I make a mistake giving out my e-mail?

    If so, please block my comment.

    Thanks,

    tws

  53. Terry

    Hey Moderators,

    Did I make a mistake asking you if I made a mistake giving out my e-mail? I thought you would moderate my asking you if I made a mistake giving out my e-mail, but, NOOO! (MAN, I’m getting dizzy here!)

    If so, please block all my comments here.

    Since you blocked my original question, but not my follow-up, I’m gonna look like a bigger fool than I actually am.

    I’m gonna go lie down now…

    Thanks,

    tws

  54. Danielle

    Thank you this really helped(:

  55. Roy C.

    I get crashes in the Internal Google one and the OS stand-alone one . I am confused NOW which one will actually work on ALL the sites I visit with Google Chrome! It is March 2012 now. They should have had this fixed by now. It has become ridiculous.

  56. lemboi

    thanks! it help a lot :)

  57. Lisa Bolo

    Amazing, that worked!! Thanks so much, this is a first for me since I’ve started using Chrome.

  58. Lisa

    Thanks so much!!!

  59. Silvia

    I actually have 3 plugins: 2 are enabled and one is disabled.
    What do I do in this case?
    =========================================================================
    Flash (3 files) – Version: 11,1,102,63
    Shockwave Flash 11.1 r102
    Name: Shockwave Flash
    Description: Shockwave Flash 11.1 r31
    Version: 11.1.31.203
    Location: C:\Users\Silvia\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\PepperFlash\11.1.31.203\pepflashplayer.dll
    Type: PPAPI (out-of-process)
    Enable
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    MIME types:
    MIME type Description File extensions
    application/x-shockwave-flash Shockwave Flash
    .swf
    application/futuresplash Shockwave Flash
    .spl
    Name: Shockwave Flash
    Description: Shockwave Flash 11.1 r102
    Version: 11,1,102,63
    Location: C:\Users\Silvia\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\17.0.963.78\gcswf32.dll
    Type: NPAPI
    Disable
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————
    MIME types:
    MIME type Description File extensions
    application/x-shockwave-flash Adobe Flash movie
    .swf
    application/futuresplash FutureSplash movie
    .spl
    Name: Shockwave Flash
    Description: Shockwave Flash 11.1 r102
    Version: 11,1,102,63
    Location: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash\NPSWF32.dll
    Type: NPAPI
    Disable
    MIME types:
    MIME type Description File extensions
    application/x-shockwave-flash Adobe Flash movie
    .swf
    application/futuresplash FutureSplash movie
    .spl
    Disable Allow
    ========================================================================

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