Why can’t I update Adobe Flash?

Adobe Flash. 

The very phrase either:

(a) engenders feelings of resignation because you can’t do anything without it or

(b) galvanizes feelings of duress because you feel like you’re being forced to use it.

I actually feel nothing but pure disdain toward the inexorable ubiquity of this plugin mainly because:

Let’s face it:  it’s hard not to fulminate against Flash.

I don’t have any empirical data to back this claim, but I feel like the plugin is the perpetrator behind 90% of my browser problems.  Maybe I’m over-reacting but Flash and I are definitely feeling animosity toward one other these days.

But despite my incendiary opinion about this plugin, I can’t avoid the fact that I depend on Flash to deliver almost all the media I consume daily.  Normally, you can fix most Flash problems by updating the plugin but you might find yourself in a real quandary when the Update Now button doesn’t work.  

By “doesn’t work” I mean it redirects you to the adobe.com homepage instead of downloading the update.

Let me save you some time and say from the start that one or more of the following troubleshooting moves probably won’t fix it:

  • Rebooting
  • Clearing cache
  • Uninstalling and Reinstalling

I know of two ways to fix this vexing problem:

  1. Try to download the other versions of the Flash player
  2. Temporarily disable Ghostery

When trying to download other versions, just select your Operating System from the drop down box then choose your Flash version.

Adobe Flash Download Update

If the Download Now button adamantly refuses to accede to your will (because it’s grayed out or disabled) then pause the Ghostery browser extension.

Ghostery is actually a pretty good plugin because it blocks third-party trackers on webpages, and it’s actually one of my favorite extensions for 2013, but sometimes it can get in the way.   You can work around this problem by temporarily disabling Ghostery…

Press the Pause Blocking button in Internet Explorer, then retry the Flash download.

Click the cute ghoulish icon immediately to the left of the home button to find the pause button

Internet Explorer Pause Blocking Ghostery

The pause button is in a similar place in Firefox

Pause Ghostery in Firefox

and Chrome…

Pause Ghostery in Chrome

The Bottom Line

We have a choice: We can either lament Adobe Flash until we’re basically despondent or we can acquiesce and make the most of it.  If we do the latter, we’ll be in a better position to deal with annoying Adobe issues when they pop up.

The next time Adobe categorically refuses to yield to your update commands try downloading the other versions of Adobe or just pause Ghostery.  That may be all you need to get going again.

Please let me know if this helped you in the comments!

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Posted in How To, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Tagged with: