Disabling Macromedia Flash on Microsoft Internet Explorer --------------------------------------------------------- Ed Swierk 25 Nov 2001 Macromedia Flash is the evil little program responsible for many of the blinking, pulsating ads that are popping up all over the Web. Of course Microsoft makes it none too easy to remove Flash and prevent it from ever coming back. Following these instructions should help you banish Flash forever, or at least until advertisers figure out some other way of forcing you to keep it. These instructions are known to work with Internet Explorer 6.0 on Windows 2000. They may require modifications on other versions of IE or Windows. 1. Set Internet Explorer to prompt you before installing any ActiveX controls (plug-ins): a. Close all Internet Explorer windows. b. Open the Internet Options control panel. c. In the Security tab, click Internet, then click Custom Level. d. Make sure that Download SIGNED ActiveX controls is set to Prompt, and that Download UNSIGNED ActiveX controls is set to Prompt or Disable. e. Click OK to save the security settings. 2. Remove Flash: a. Open the Internet Options control panel, if it isn't already open. b. In the General tab, under Temporary Internet Files, click Settings, then click View Objects. c. Right-click on the Macromedia Flash icon and select Remove. d. Close the Downloaded Program Files window. e. Click OK to close the Settings window. 3. Clear the Internet Explorer cache: a. Open the Internet Options control panel, if it isn't already open. b. In the General tab, under Temporary Internet Files, click Delete Files. c. Click OK to close the Internet Properties window. If you stop now, Flash ads will not appear, but IE will pop up a dialog box every time you view a page containing a Flash ad. You can prevent this from happening 99% of the time by continuing to the next step. 4. Prevent Internet Explorer from prompting you to install Flash: a. Click Start, then Run, and enter this command: notepad %systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts A Notepad window should appear with a file in which most of the lines begin with "#". b. At the bottom of the file, add the following line: 0.0.0.0 download.macromedia.com activex.microsoft.com active.macromedia.com c. Close the Notepad window and click Yes to save changes. This last step will prevent your computer from ever accessing the Internet addresses where the Flash plugin is normally found. If you later find that you need to access one of those addresses, just remove it from the hosts file.