Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

Summary: After years of promises, Adobe has finally delivered a Flash Player that offers full support for 64-bit browsers. Flash Player 11 also includes a wide range of performance, reliability, and security improvements. Is this enough to rehabilitate Flash's tattered reputation?

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Adobe has finally released a Flash Player that includes full native 64-bit support for 64-bit browsers on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The official announcement of the availability of Flash Player 11 is here, and the download itself is here.

It's been a long time coming. Back in July 2008, more than three years ago, I noted that Adobe's official support page for the Flash Player included this text:

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.

And now, with little fanfare, it's here.

When I visited the Flash Player download page on a system running the 64-bit version of Windows 7, I was greeted with this dialog box:

Two aspects of that screen are noteworthy.

The first is the message that a single installer adds both 32-bit and 64-bit support. I was impressed with the new streamlined installer, which finished quickly and didn't require any confirmations or check boxes after I clicked Run. When I opened the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer, I was able to play Flash content—something that was impossible before except using experimental code.

Unfortunately, that installer screen also shows Adobe's continuing commitment to foistware—in this case, the Google toolbar that the company continues to push as part of the Flash Player installation. I've complained about it before, but in this new version that check box is still selected by default.

A separate installation of Flash Player 11 on the latest version of Firefox included an offer to install McAfee Security Scan Plus; here, too, the option was pre-selected and I had to clear the check box to ensure that I didn't install an unwanted security program. (Google Chrome already contains the latest Flash Player and doesn't require an update.)

Flash Player 11 includes a number of significant security and privacy improvements. But the performance and reliability improvements, continuing work that Adobe has been pursuing for the past couple years, are especially noticeable. Back in May 2010, I called Flash "the new Vista," pointing to its dismal record on issues of reliability and performance. Without a lot of fanfare, Adobe has improved that record substantially.

In that earlier post, I was able to identify dozens of crashes and hangs that were specifically traceable to Internet Explorer's Flash utility. Just now, I checked on my primary system, which has been in service for more than six months. The Windows Reliability Index shows an average of one problem with Internet Explorer per week during that period—usually a website that stops responding and has to be manually reloaded. During that time, I have not recorded a single crash or hang that can be traced to the Flash Player.

There's no question that Flash has developed a terrible reputation over the years, with Steve Jobs' April 2010 "Thoughts on Flash" being a particularly low point.

It remains to be seen whether Adobe can successfully rehabilitate the reputation of Flash Player, but there's no question that this is a step in the right direction.

Topics: Processors, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Networking, Software Development

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30 comments
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  • OSX

    ...and flash video still doesn't always work on OSX.
    D.Leerius
  • Flash going the way of the DoDo Bird

    Just a matter of time. The 64bit version is nice, but so what. With the weekly exploits for Flash, and the proliferation of HTML5, Flash (and Silverlight) will disappear. Maybe not right away, but they will go.
    jpr75_z
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    Totally useless, IE9 64 bits no have Chakra JIT (32bit IE9 runs script up to 4 times as fast as 64bit), Firefox only Nightly builds (no add-ons) and Chrome no 64 bit version for Windows.
    Bafoo
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    Oh boy, there's that stupid Google toolbar again.

    Blah... ;(
    ScorpioBlue
    • So much for 'Do no evil'

      @ScorpioBlue
      DDERSSS
      • The sleazy "opt-in"

        [i]So much for 'Do no evil'[/i]

        The same sleazy way Chrome sometimes gets on people's machines without their knowing it.

        Blah... ;(
        ScorpioBlue
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    still no sandbox? bye bye flash
    shellcodes_coder
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    This is good news for the future of 64-bit computing but until there official 64-bit builds of Firefox and/or Chrome it means little in reality to me.

    I so rarely use IE9 I may as well stick to the 32-bit version.
    bradavon
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    flash screws up my firefox hardware acceleration, the release candidate was more stable.
    Linux with nvidia 275.
    qjqqyy
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    This is good for Mac users, where Safari and Firefox have been 64-bit for some time.
    nrturner
  • Hate that Google Toobar.

    And thanks for mentioning the 'L' word
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
  • How I hate that Google Toolbar.

    It creates more problems than helps.
    Thanks for mentioning the 'L' word.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
  • No go for me

    I tried to install and the downloader hung. We're behind a user proxy for the Internet, so I am not sure if that's why it failed.
    techvet
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    Ed,

    Now if you could just talk MS into a 64 bit Silverlight player, we'd all be able to ditch our 32 bit IE on 64 bit Windows for the 64 bit version. Alas, I can't watch Netflix without it. :/

    Michael
    Michael L Jones
    • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

      @Michael L Jones Silverlight 5 (currently at Release Candidate) has a 64-bit runtime.
      spc1972
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    Wow, you completely missed the story. 64-bit support is a footnote compared to GPU accelerated 3D. Save this blog post, it'll be funny in the future.
    spambox@...
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    They did not give Windows VISTA 64bit the new Flash 11 and Windows VISTA won't be discontinued until 2012
    mikeleo67
  • RE: Finally, Adobe releases a 64-bit Flash Player

    Well, at least if I click on the 64 bit version of IE by mistake I'll be able to view a flash site - I guess there's some solace in that.
    levstein
  • The installation isn't very good

    When I went to the download page, it said I have a 32-bit system, so I had to change it. Twice -- for IE and other browsers.

    Instead of trying to foist the Google toolbar on me, it tried to install McAfee, which can cause really bad problems because I'm using another vendor's AV. Why does Adobe have such contempt for its users?
    The Daleks
  • Flash 11 works better on netbook

    I have even noticed on my HP 110 Netbook that Flash 11 now runs better with almost no choppy video or out of sync video/audio. It is nice Adobe is finally making Flash work better.
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376