Dear Adobe, can we please have a 64-bit Flash player?

Summary:In the TalkBack section of my earlier post on the sudden popularity of x64 Vista, a commenter notes that Adobe's Flash player is not yet available in a 64-bit version, which means that if you go to a site that uses Flash, your 64-bit browser will not render the content correctly. That’s one of the minor annoyances in using 64-bit Vista, and Adobe's been silent on the subject for six months except to say, "We're working on it." Can someone light a fire under the Flash development team?

In the TalkBack section of my earlier post on the sudden popularity of x64 Vista, a commenter makes a good point:

Flash is not yet 64 bit (at least not the last time I looked). We got a new PC last summer running Vista 64 bit and when you use IE and go to a site that uses Flash it will not work.

That’s true, and it’s the source of one of the minor annoyances in using 64-bit Vista. As I note in my reply, 32-bit IE is the default in Vista x64, presumably for this very reason:

Although there's a 64-bit IE, you have to go through some special steps to enable it as a default. Virtually everything opens in the 32-bit IE, which you can tell if you look in Task Manager.

You can find the shortcut for IE x64 on the All Programs menu:

Internet Explorer x64 has a shortcut on the Vista Start menu, but itÂ’s not the default

But if you use the IE shortcuts on the Start menu or the Quick Launch bar, or if you double-click a link or a URL shortcut, you get the 32-bit version of IE (or Firefox, which doesn’t even offer a 64-bit version for Windows as far as I can tell). All those *32 entries in this snippet from Task Manager provide the proof:

When you run IE on Vista x64, it uses the 32-bit version by default

The single biggest blocker to using a 64-bit browser is the absence of a compatible Flash player. If you open the 64-bit version of IE and click Adobe’s Get Flash Player link, you get redirected to this TechNote:

Flash Player support on 64-bit operating systems

Issue: Adobe Flash Player is not supported for playback in a 64-bit browser. However, you can run Flash Player in a 32-bit browser running on a 64-bit operating system.

Reason: Adobe is working on Flash Player support for 64-bit platforms as part of our ongoing commitment to the cross-platform compatibility of Flash Player. We have not yet announced timing or release dates.

Solution: To use Flash Player to view Flash content on a 64-bit operating system, you must run a 32-bit browser.

That article was last updated on February 8, 2008, nearly six months ago. Not even a "we're still working on it." With the increased popularity of 64-bit Windows, someone needs to light a fire under the Flash development team.

Update 23-July 1:30PM: A commenter suggests that Flash 10 will eventually offer 64-bit support. Maybe, but that support is certainly not there today. I just downloaded and installed the latest (July 2008) Beta 2 build of Flash 10. It doesn't work with either IE7 x64 or a compiled 64-bit experimental build of Firefox 3.

Topics: Networking, Browser, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Processors

About

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the a... Full Bio

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