How-To Geek

Install Flash Plugin Manually in Firefox on Vista

So you installed Firefox on Windows Vista, but you can’t seem to get the flash plugin to install… you click the “Install Missing Plugins” button, follow the wizard, restart Firefox, and it’s still not installed. Annoying!

Instead of going through this repeatedly without any luck, you can simply install the plugin manually with a couple of steps.


Note that you can use this manual method to install any plugin, not just Flash.

Install Flash Plugin Manually on Vista

The first thing you’ll need to do is manually download the plugin file. You should be able to right-click on this link and choose “Save Link As…” from the menu.

Once you have the file downloaded, rename the file with a .zip extension:


You should be able to double-click on the file to open it up, since .xpi files are really just renamed .zip files.


Now you’ll need to copy two files from that directory into one of two directories, depending on whether you want to install the plugin globally for all users, or just for your user account.

The two files you’ll need to copy are these:

  • flashplayer.xpt
  • NPSWF32.dll

Install for All Users

Navigate down to the following path in Windows Explorer to find the Firefox installation directory:

C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugins

Note that if you are running on 64-bit Vista the path will have (x86) like the next screenshot, or if you are using Portable Firefox you’ll have to find your Firefox installation folder and navigate to the plugins directory there.


Now paste those two files that you extracted into this directory (You’ll be prompted by UAC), restart Firefox and you are done.

Install for Your User Account Only

If you don’t have administrator access to your machine, or you simply want to install for only your account, you can browse to the following path:



Once you are in that directory, create a new directory called Plugins if it doesn’t already exist:


And then paste the two files into the Plugins directory. Restart Firefox, and you are done.

Verifying Installation

You can make sure that the plugin is loaded and turned on by typing about:plugins into the address bar:


Of course the simpler test would be to just load up whatever page you were on before you started troubleshooting. =)

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/25/08

Comments (119)

  1. Connie

    I tried to install this plug-in to Firefox several times, but never could. Your solution worked perfectly. I only discovered this web site a few months ago. I’ve used a bunch of your “how-to’s” and they’ve gotten the job done every time. Thanks guys. You’re GREAT!

  2. fred

    thanks for your help

  3. mark schneider

    Yea this drove me crazy till I figured it out. As always your site rocks. As I culled my RSS Toolbar in Firefox your site has become #1.

  4. The Geek

    I’m glad to know this helped somebody!

    Sometimes I write these “troubleshooting” articles, not sure if they will help anybody. It’s always good to know that it has =)

  5. randy

    super! this problem had been bothering me for some time as i kept hearing that i should be using firefox. if i can make it work anyone should be able to figure it out (with your help, i mean). i too have made much use of your site and have learned a lot from you. thanks much

  6. Jeremy

    Why can’t you just go here: and install the file that way? Seems to work for me, and with just one click…

  7. t9999clint

    isn’t this a little overcomplicated for a solution.

    Firefox fails to autoinstall Flash because UAC blocks it. Run firefox as an Admin then try to install flash. Works for me everytime.

    The same is also true for many other firefox plugins, like the active X plugin, which works but is really slow on some sites. I really don’t understand why firefox doesn’t just prompt for admin access like how it does in linux. It shouldn’t be that hard to implement because as far as I’ve seen UAC is just a blatant rip off of gksudo.

  8. Fabin

    Hahaha, this is great. Thanks a lot :D

  9. John

    Great! This worked perfectly! If you dont mind can I copy some bits (and I do seriously mean only some bits) of your post and post it on my blog? I shall re direct the users to this page if they want to read the full article.

  10. Vivek

    >>Why can’t you just go here:…..kwaveFlash and install the file that way? Seems to work for me, and with just one click

    Worked fine for me… and much simpler.

    Btw, I tried the approach of installing flash plugin after running firefox as admin on vista, but no luck with that approach.

  11. Leon Chua

    Awesome! Though im just a visitor it worked perfectly . Thanks for your help man!

  12. Jake

    Great, I’ve been annoyed for several months because Flash wouldn’t work in Firefox even though I’ve installed it several times. But thanks to this solution it finally works!! Thanks!

  13. craig

    Awesome dude,fantastic work. Im using a Japanese VAIO so I cant check things like to tell if Im running firefox in the administrator mode in the control panel tab etc so all work arounds are great especially this one. Man I wish I could shake your hand, I had net explorer funning flash and not firefox and I was going nuts. Thanks for your help man, RSS subscribed.

  14. markaus

    oh thank u sooooo much my flash wasnt workin now it is you guys are the best!!!!

  15. Bobski

    Thanks so much. Just downloaded FF3 a couple of days ago and found that I couldn’t get anything Flash-related to work due to lack of admin privileges, so this REALLY helped me out.


  16. Tony

    I can not do this. Whenever I download something in firefox, it opens the little download window, and downloads it, but I can not click open when complete (it is grayed out so that I can’t click it). When I go to my downloads folder, there is nothing there, this has worked every time I try to download flash 9. Works in Internet explorer, but I am guessing there is some Vista security thing stopping me from being able to do it. Every time I am in Firefox and click on install missing plugin, and ty to do it manually, it doesnt work. It doesn’t download the plugin automatically when I click on install either. Tried a lot of things to fix, but no luck.

    Please Help!


  17. dmitry

    thanks a lot!

  18. Fergus Sparling

    WOW! It works !!!! Thanks!

  19. vicki

    Thanks soooo much! Your rock! Wow! I have been working on this for a week!

    Thanks again

  20. Annole

    Thank you so much for this fix. I have uninstalled and installed adobe flash too many times to count. This seems to have worked. This is my first visit to this website. You are definitely being added to my bookmarks.

  21. Brad

    Thanks so much – this fix was easy to find, easy to implement, and most importantly – EFFECTIVE! Much appreciated.

  22. Iggy

    Good shot! I tried many times before googling for help. Thanks.

  23. Josh

    Works a treat, nice tutorial!

  24. rp

    thank you SO much. fantastic!!!

  25. Adrian Graham

    You’re a genius. Thank you very much!

  26. Ruth

    GREAT!!! I was about to give up on Firefox as EVERY other site I tried to help me install Flash was hopeless-but this WORKED HURRAY!!!
    Many Thanks xxx

  27. Diane

    Works perfectly!!! Thank you. I will spread the word.

  28. Phil

    Hey man, I’ve been struggling with this problem for days and just found your page. You’re a real life-saver, thanks for the help!!!!!!

  29. Jade

    I’ve been trying to fix this since we got our new computer. Thank GOD it worked. Thanks for your help!

  30. Spencer

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
    I bought a new computer with Windows Vista and it
    was so frustrating trying to install the flash player
    over and over for Firefox and have nothing happen
    each time. Finally! Your instructions have brought
    me into the promised land! Woo Hoo! :D

  31. Sean

    Your a legend!

  32. Kathleen

    Many thanks!!. Fellow writers often cite your solutions, and as usual you were right on! It worked seamlessly following your screen shots and instructions.

    Out of curiosity, do you have an explanation for this problem?

  33. Alex

    I know some part of the explanation;
    flash never really uninstalls anything well, especially when updating, and the flash install for firefox is
    a little erratic. So the mixture of old installs lingering, and a
    new install that doesn’t really tell firefox what it needs to know causes the problem.

  34. Joe

    Very helpful tutorial.
    good job :)

  35. eXP

    Thank you! Saved my time! For the without admin privileges tutorial!

  36. Uri

    Perfect. Thank you so much. I was going nuts.

  37. Jamie

    Works great! I tried the “simple” solutions but they never worked. I have Firefox at work, but as might expect, don’t have any sort of admin rights. And the Flash that’s installed with it is old. Using your directions I’m now on Flash 10! And in reality this was very simple two. Basically download, unzip, and copy.

  38. Julia

    Aww wow thanks so much I have struggled all day trying to do this myself – you sorted it for me in less than 10 mins.

    Off to search your site now and see if you can sort all my other IT problems :-)

  39. Wai Fong Lai

    Thank you very much. I recently installed Firefox because of the security risk with Internet Explorer. All was working well until I had to use Flash – or not, as it didn’t work (funnily enough this was a problem with Internet Explorer/Vista too!)

    I came across your site whilst trying to find a solution and “Christmas has come early!” – all seems to be working, Flash too! The easy to follow instructions and screenshots meant that the issue was resolved in a matter of minutes, not days.

    Again, thank you and Merry Christmas to you too!

  40. a


  41. Kezpipa

    ^ Exactly what Spencer said. Thank you so much!

  42. yezz

    T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U !!!!

    i’ve spent many hours trying to install flash player, and then i found this “how-to”
    you made my day!

  43. LLee

    I had no clue what plugins were, since I w a s computer illiterate. I began to read the instructions and made an ugly face; fearing my ability to understand computer lingo. I completed one step at a time. You’ve made me feel like an “install genius”. This grandma can still work it!

    Thank you, so much!

  44. cw

    I have been really frustrated by trying to find out how to load the flash on my new computer to firefox. This info looks great but I’m a little illiterate.
    On the first step…I’m supposed to down the plugnin…a notice comes up to ask me what program do I want to open it too? It’s not obvious to me which one I should use and its more confusing to use manually find one. What to do? Help…

  45. Jason

    Sigh….Now that’s just beautiful. I couldn’t get that thing to install any which way, your your article solved it in less than 30 seconds. I feel like a twit for not thinking of that myself. I’ve gotten slack…lol. Thank you very much, I’ll be browsing the rest of what you have here just for that one little thing!

  46. Jose

    You are the man! I was trying to install Firefox but I was unable due to “security restrictions” in my company. Now I have flash!

  47. Miguel

    Worked like a charm! Thanks for your help. Trying to do this on IE 7 is a chore!

  48. DJ

    Thank you original poster and t9999clint. I had to follow both directions in order to get it to work on Firefox 64 bit for vista. I’ve been searching for 2 weeks and gave up. I had IE with a passion. I started to think I made a mistake purchasing 64 bit instead of 32. The two of you saved me today and I cannot thank you enough.

  49. DJ

    I meant I hate IE with a passion.

  50. angel

    this is not working for me. cannot figure out how to paste the two files into in firefox plugins. tried to open firefox plugins to past inside but did nt work. help i am a novice at this stuff.

  51. gunjan

    Really great!!!
    Never thought It will be done… really Thank you for this..

  52. oz

    Awesome, this solution is really recommended for computer with limited access such campus’s computer laboratory

  53. Jeff

    I have the same problem as Tony- everything I download in firefox, the options for open file, open containing folder, etc are grayed out. this only started happening last week and Its just the latest in a long list of “features” that makes me want to pitch vista. Tony, if you ever found a solution, post it here! If I find one, I’ll post it.

  54. Jeff

    I fixed my issue, hope this helps you-

    I had AVG, and had uninstalled it, but it didn’t seem to be completely gone. I re-installed it, and now my downloads will open again. Not ideal if you don’t want AVG, but it works!

    Another solution that might work if you don’t want to run AVG is to run the setup file and uninstall from there. the windows uninstall doesn’t seem to do the job.

    Best of luck

  55. Joseph "The Hung" OD

    Thanks – brilliant – been trying to sort for ages.

  56. Mark Broge

    Some short sighted commenters here. This isn’t just for Vista, it’s a workaround for not having admin privileges at all. Let me explain: the company I work for does not allow administrative privileges, and I refuse to use IE6 (their standard). I *can* (and do) use Firefox, and I can now enjoy the full functionality of Firefox – with Flash – because I could manually move the files required to where they need to be.

    Excellent tip, with implications that reach beyond Vista. If you don’t need the tip, don’t post comments about how useless it is – it’s certainly been useful to me and several others!

  57. chicken

    thanks so much.
    i wuz so pissed i couldn’t listen to my music or watch youtube.
    thanx so,so,so much!!!
    this website is awesome.

  58. Uncle_Quilly

    Wow – I’ve been looking for a solution for weeks! This worked for me right away – I’ve already tried eight times before this, and I’m impressed — good stuff!

  59. Anil

    I have not been able to install Flash Plugin for FireFox 3.0.9 installed on Vista. The following link gives an error message.

    Any help in this regard would be very much appreciated.


  60. smarti


    you will be wondering after getting so many positive comments how i am giving -ve response. i tried you method exactly same way and test using typing about:plugins in address bar in firefox. there it shows that flash has been activated. but when i try to run some songs from any website using flash player then it always loads the windows media player plugin. i dont want that.

    could you help me, what could be problem there ??

    thanks very much for your help in advance.

  61. Johnny

    Awesome. I have tried a few solutions to this and this was the one that worked. Thanks a lot.

  62. Danielle

    Thank you SO MUCH. This had been driving me mad ever since I got my new computer – the adobe site must have claimed to have downloaded Flash for me about ten times, I’d restart as instructed and…nothing!

    NB I’m a techno-idiot, if I can follow your instructions then anyone can.

  63. UniWeb

    Thank you, it was getting so annoying till I’ve found your solution!

  64. jordaaan;

    Wow, thankyou so so much for this. I was getting so annoyed with not being able to browse as much, and thought of not using Firefox anymore. But you helped so much, and the guide was clear and easy to understand. Im so happy ive fixed the annoying problem, thanks again!

  65. Anjaja

    thank U – it was a great help :-)

  66. yep yup

    what about the new flash players? some websites ask for the “latest” flash player.

    Eddie Rosado

  67. Conor

    Possibly similar to yep yeps issue, I’ve had no luck using this technique for the latest flash player, September 1st 2009

  68. Big Daddy

    does anyone know how to uninstall firefox windows media player xpi from windows vista operating system or reinstall so the program can be uninstalled afterwards

  69. MO

    it didn’t work. I have vista 64 bit and that can’t open .xpt files. so I am still lost

  70. mont

    Thank you. Can’t thank you enough.

  71. Jonathan C. Smith

    Worked perfectly.

    Thanks so much. Followed it step by step and it worked fine.

    For everyone else, I am running Win 7 64bit.
    Just dumped the two files in the x86 plugins folder.

    Jonathan C. Smith

  72. niceguysean

    I tried to do this, but can’t because Access is denied; I can create a folder on C, but not copy the files to to it. As it’s a work machine and they don’t run Firefox, my help desk won’t do anything. Any other solutions?

  73. G.Kalwijq


    Guess i’m doing something wrong here..
    I changed the file to .zip but is then names the file .zip.xpi??
    So i still can’t open it..


  74. anonymous

    This also works on Windows XP. (I just installed using your instructions.)
    Thanks for the info!!


  75. jjnata

    got some other problem!

    really appreciated!i‘ve been fixing it for a whole afternoon,and your method works perfectly when i’m not using tor.

    could u tell me how is it to work with tor?

  76. Maria

    Hello… I double clicked on the folder, but I am not sure what to do now…

  77. karen

    this resolved my System7 problem with the flash plugin

  78. John

    This site needs a digg link or something. This solution was all I needed… Stupid vista!

  79. Jenni

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (:

  80. Raine

    Are you suppose to make a %APPDATA%\Mozilla folder, because I couldn’t find that directory.

  81. martian1234

    Thanks for your help, the steps are clearly written well.
    Great site

  82. Michael

    Man you saved me big time. I was so frustrated with the so called help websites that I almost threw my computer out the window this morning. Thanks

  83. thomi

    thanx a lot! I’ve spent hours to find a solution for this problem! just great!

  84. Rajeev

    Thank you so much!!! This problem was bugging me for so long….

  85. Spike

    At Last got my Flash player working, worked first time Thank You so much

  86. james


  87. kolapo toheeb

    Thank you so much!!! This problem was bugging me for so long….

  88. Eric

    Thanks! It worked!

  89. Stacey

    It worked!! THANK YOU!! I have a new “Go To” site!!

  90. Andrew

    Don’t normally leave comments but i will this time. Just to say thanks for taking the time to offer this solution, works perfectly.

  91. T

    This did not work – ended up with a useless 1.4 KB file.

    Try this instead:

  92. James

    OMG thank you guys so much i didnt know what i was going to do cuz i had no idea how to get the flash player and the fact that it kept prompting me to install but then it didnt work really annoyed me, any ways thank you so much!

  93. wanderingmagus

    Wow, this actually works! :D thanks soo much!

  94. Roland Koh

    Brilliant!!! I was pulling my hair out trying to install Flash. Thanks a million!!!

  95. dood

    “Why can’t you just go here:…..kwaveFlash and install the file that way? Seems to work for me, and with just one click…”

    Some computers (public, universities etc.) are blocking any installation and the only option is putting the files in there manually, at my work “exe” files are blocked from being downloaded so this is the ONLY way I can install flash firefox.

    Thanks so much for providing the file (I already knew this solution but no one provides it as you did), I was looking for this one for ages !

  96. nani

    Thank you, Thank you,Thank you, you are an angel

  97. joseph

    thank you! it really work!!u r so smart!!!!

  98. Linerd

    Thanks for the howto. It worked for me on my locked-down work computer (XP 64 bit).

  99. George

    I tried to do a push-install of both the IE and non-IE version of the current 10.x Flash, which was nearly a no-brainer at once time. This time all the installer managed to do was to break Flash viewing under FF. Using your suggestion I just did a really small script to copy those two files out to about 70 boxes and it seems to have solved the problem. BTW, this was under XP Pro which works pretty much the same way, minus the UAC business. Thanks much.

  100. Lillu Pushpam

    Great.. But how to update it..?

  101. Ike

    Wow. This made my Tuesday! I’ve been struggling through Firefox w/ out Flash for months at work since the internet blocker won’t let us install from the Adobe site. Thank you! This worked on XP too!


    What about the windows media player plugin? I used UniExtractor on the setup exe that I downloaded, Which afterwords left me with a few files and another setup file but this time an msi type. I tried opening it and it launched and after accepting things it showed a progress bar but a moment later it asked for the admin password which I dont have… So I did what I always would… UniExtract it! After doing so it gave me a disorganized bunch of files without extensions (though I was able to figure out them as many had some type of hint in the name as to what they might be) but I added them in. But I just want to know how to install them into firefox.

  103. Ronan

    Thanks so much only site with this topic that actually worked for me.

    Cheers buddy

  104. Randy

    Best how-to steps I have ever seen. Thank you.

  105. richb

    great guide, anyone know where i can get the same file for 10.2?

  106. Dovile

    “You should be able to double-click on the file to open it up, since .xpi files are really just renamed .zip files.” Well it do not opens…. :( Help!!!…

  107. meh

    Well, you also have to rename it to ZIP before double-clicking on it. Like, remember to Show File Extension For Known Files too.

  108. mihut

    it does not work for me, even if it worked about half a year ago, on a different laptop. it says the zip file is invalid or corrupted. anyone has the files unzipped, so i can just copy them? thank you!

  109. mihut

    ok, i downloaded that file from another site, it works now :)

  110. Adrian

    Thanks for the clear instructions. I don’t have admin rights at work and was never able to use flash with Firefox. This saved the day :)

  111. GMAN


    which site did u download it from?

  112. needhelp

    link is not working anymore – can somebody add the new one? xD

  113. Samaritan

    Archived versions of the Flash Player are also available at

    The install steps above will probably not work exactly as written, but a variety of OS and browser versions with installers are available here. With some thought, the same effect as above can be achieved.

  114. Traveler

    Sadly, doesn’t work for XP. cd.StillDeniedByNon-AdminStatus

  115. maria

    hillo maria plz mujhe kuch samajh nai arahi hai pls ye plugin missing in kesy install karain pls u help me i am waiting…………. pls contect me my cwll number 03428027650



    hillo maria plz mujhe kuch samajh nai arahi hai pls ye plugin missing in kesy install karain pls u help me i am waiting…………. pls contect me my cwll number 03428027650




  118. geopre

    I believe; on my laptop; I have firefox installed. When I go to Facebook; and use any of the games; it’s very very slow. I tried emailing the applications; but have not had a satisfactory answer. I did update the flash; and it’s a little better; but not much. Can anyone help?


  119. Larry Rowe

    I’m trying to install Firefox and it keeps asking for Admin rights, help please

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