Flash Game Header Image

You must use a standalone Flash Player to play SWF files outside of your browser. Download and install Adobe’s official “Flash Player content debugger” from the Wayback Machine or another trustworthy source, then open a SWF file in it.
Web browsers have dropped support for Flash, but what if you have an SWF file to open? Never fear: Adobe offered a hidden Flash Player download for Windows, Mac, and Linux that is still available from the Wayback Machine. You can open an SWF file outside your browser.

Adobe hides the standalone Flash Player very well. It’s actually called the “Flash Player content debugger” on Adobe’s website.

Update, 6/21/22: Adobe has ended any and all support for Flash. The company has now removed the download link to the Flash Player from its website, too. The program is still available on the Wayback machine for the time being.

Visit the Debug Downloads page on the Wayback Machine’s copy of the Adobe Flash Player website to get it. Click the “Download the Flash Player projector content debugger” link under Windows, Mac, or Linux, depending on which operating system you’re using.

Download the version of the software correct for your operating system.

On Windows, you’ll have an EXE file that needs no installation. Just double-click it to run it.

Running the standalone Flash Player EXE file

You’ll get a simple Adobe Flash Player window. To open an SWF file, either drag and drop it to the window or click File > Open. You can browse to an SWF file on your local system or enter a path to an SWF file on the web.

Opening a Flash file from the web in the standalone Adobe Flash Player

Resize the window to zoom in if the Flash object appears too tiny. Now, you can watch and interact with the SWF file as you usually would.

You can right-click the Flash object or use the menu bar to control standard options like zoom settings, image quality, and toggling the full-screen mode off and on.

Trogdor game splash screen in the standalone Adobe Flash Player on Windows

The best part: This Flash Player will keep working in the future, even though web browsers will no longer run Flash. It’s not just a debug tool for developers; it’s an extremely useful compatibility solution for anyone who needs Flash.

RELATED: How to Play Old Flash Games in 2020, and Beyond

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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Nick Lewis is a staff writer for How-To Geek. He has been using computers for 20 years --- tinkering with everything from the UI to the Windows registry to device firmware. Before How-To Geek, he used Python and C++ as a freelance programmer. In college, Nick made extensive use of Fortran while pursuing a physics degree.
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