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How To Use Flash on Any Website in Modern Internet Explorer 10

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The modern (or “Metro”) version of Internet Explorer in Windows 8 supports Flash, but only for some Microsoft-approved websites. You can add your own favorite websites to Microsoft’s whitelist to view Flash on any website.

The desktop version of IE supports Flash on every website, but you don’t have to leave the new Windows 8 user interface if you don’t want to. This trick works on both Windows 8 and Windows RT.

How Flash Works By Default

If you’re using the Modern version of Internet Explorer 10 and come across an unapproved website that uses Flash, you won’t see the Flash content. You can click the button at the bottom-right corner of your screen and select View on desktop to view the page in the desktop version of Internet Explorer 10, which does support Flash.

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However, some websites are allowed to play Flash – YouTube, for example. Internet Explorer 10 uses a Microsoft-provided whitelist of websites that are allowed to play Flash, and you can add any site you like to the whitelist.

Adding Any Website to Internet Explorer 10’s Flash Whitelist

First, open Internet Explorer 10 on the desktop, press the Alt key, click the Tools menu that appears, and select Compatibility View settings.

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Uncheck the Download updated compatibility lists from Microsoft checkbox and click Close. If you leave this option enabled, the changes you make to the whitelist will be overwritten.

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Press WinKey+R to open the Run dialog. Copy and paste the following line into the Run dialog to open the whitelist file in Notepad for editing:

notepad “%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\iecompatdata.xml”

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Press Ctrl+F and type <Flash> into the find dialog. Click the Find Next button and you’ll see the <Flash> section in the file.

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Under the <Flash> heading, type a line such as:

<domain>howtogeek.com</domain>

Replace howtogeek.com with the address of the site you want to whitelist. You can add multiple sites, if you like – just add a separate line for each, such as:

<domain>howtogeek.com</domain>

<domain>example.com</domain>

Save the file when you’re done.

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Go back to the Start screen and open the Modern version of Internet Explorer 10. Press the WinKey+I shortcut to open the Settings charm and click Internet Options.

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Click the Delete button to delete your browsing history.

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After you do, Flash will now be enabled for the websites you added to your whitelist.

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Note that Flash is disabled in the new interface to improve battery life. Enabling Flash for Flash-heavy websites could negatively impact your computer’s battery life.

Thanks to Marvin_S over at the XDA Developers forums for discovering this trick!

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 10/30/12

Comments (22)

  1. Jeff Sadowski

    Seems awfully complicated just to add a site to allow flash from. Its nice that it is an XML file and someone could write a simple gui to do all this. Maybe more sites will start using html5 instead of flash to avoid this issue.

  2. Diana Hrycyk

    I am totally confused. I am having problems with FLASH using the new IE 10. I don’t understand your solultion for FLASH. too many confusing steps.

  3. wonderingwonder

    Tried this for youtube, even though youtube is already in the whitelist. Before it didnt work, and wants me to install flash, and after the change it still does the same thing.; Kinda pointless article, and whitelists are pointless if i still cant view youtube in metro ie

  4. Sudo Bash

    Or wait… We could just not use flash and everyone would be so much better off…

  5. chris hunt

    Or…. we could use Flash and ditch the browsers and O/S that have dificulties.

  6. Gilda

    Flash is great for perverts that expose themselves in parks.

  7. Alex

    Where can i find that “living the amazon life” video?

  8. dingler

    So, people want to run Flash? .. and Internet Explorer?
    What has this world come to?

  9. fksysko

    Cant understand why people just keep complaining about confusing articles when there is always a much better alternate available. Simply dump IE10 and use Google Chrome that comes even in Metro style with full Flash/HTML5 support.

  10. SurfaceNewbie

    I typed in the following but it didn’t work. Please advise

    notepad “%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\iecompatdata.xml”

  11. viveksharma0925

    I tested this all on Windows 8 RC, and the steps worked like charm, but after I installed the Windows 8 that has been properly released by microsoft, the steps won’t work…

    Is there an alternate solution to it.. or some steps addition…

  12. YopSolo

    i am waiting to the ie10 extension that automaticaly add the current website on the white list :)

  13. YopSolo

    according to microsoft
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ie/jj193557(v=vs.85).aspx

    just put this meta :)

  14. YopSolo

    Arg the meta has been stripped ^^’

    <meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”requiresActiveX=true” />

  15. KS

    The solution given here does work on Windows 8 RTM. I had come up with the same procedure myself and it wouldn’t work. I accidentally found this article and after reading I flushed the Modern UI cache which I had not done before. Flash is now working on the sites I added.

  16. SurfaceNewbie

    When entering into run: notepad “%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\iecompatdata.xml”

    I continue to get this error: The filename, directory name, or volume level syntax is incorrect.

    I am using a Surface RT. Can anyone advise what’s wrong? Thanks!

  17. SurfaceNewbie

    Update: Inserted the file link directly into opened Notepad. Followed the instructions and it worked like a charm! Thanks so much!

  18. surface rt

    I have the same issue as you Surfacenewbie. Can U please explain how you fixed it. I can see you did but do not understand your explanation.

  19. Chris

    Thank you so much, it works!

    ¨/!\ When entering into run: notepad “%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\iecompatdata.xml”

    -> you have to enter this line WITHOUT the “…”: notepad %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\iecompatdata.xml

    and voilà ;)

  20. Cid

    Why does Microsoft is also doing that to FLASH like iPhone and iPad.
    I want to see sites in FLASH and hate this commercial dumpings.

  21. Wade

    As Chris says the command will work if you remove the quotes. (The blogging tool being used here turned them into the “smart quotes” which don’t work on the Windows command line.)

    Thank you for this tip!

  22. rishi malve

    Thanx buddie….

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