By far the most popular and most-installed web browser plugin is Adobe Flash Player. When you buy a new computer it will likely already have it installed, so you normally don’t have to worry about it. But in certain cases, such as when you have a custom-built computer, you may need to install it manually. It isn’t actually required to browse the Internet, but you’ll miss a lot of functionality without it, such as playing videos or games.
Flash is an extremely popular platform for videos, games and animations on the Internet. The percentage of modern computers that have it installed approaches 90 percent, which means that it’s a very big target for developers. In order to run a lot of the games or play most of the videos that currently exist on the Internet, you need to have Flash installed. This is actually becoming less true as time goes by, with technologies such as HTML5 video slowly taking off. Still, Flash has a very wide reach that you simply cannot ignore. It will be a number of years before Flash use declines significantly.
Fortunately, Adobe makes it very easy to start using Flash. Simply go to its website at Adobe.com and look for a button that says to download Adobe Flash Player. If you’re on Internet Explorer, it’ll start prompting you automatically to install the plugin. On other browsers, it’ll ask you to download and run an installer. Just follow the easy prompts and everything should install smoothly, and you’ll suddenly have access to a lot more content on the Internet.
Keep in mind that Adobe may try to bundle other types of software with Flash Player, such as virus scanners. If you already have one, or don’t want to install anything extra, you need to pay attention to what you’re agreeing to download and install. If there’s anything extra, there will usually be a checkbox that you can use to disable other items so that they don’t get installed.
Adobe has gone through a lot of effort to bring Flash to a large number of platforms. It runs on the three major ones, including Windows, Mac and Linux. Windows and Mac tend to be better supported, with the latest Flash on Linux being restricted to Chrome at the moment. In any case, no matter what kind of computer you have or what web browser you use, there is a way for you to use Flash.
Set and Forget
The nice thing about Flash besides being easy to install is the fact that it’s pretty much a “set and forget” type of deal. After the plugin is installed, you don’t have to do anything more. Any Flash content on the Internet will work right away without any issue. This would also be another reason why Flash is so popular; it requires almost no configuration. Its defaults allow you to look at the vast majority of content out there. This means that right out of the box, you’ll be able to watch videos on YouTube, watch live streams at Livestream.com and so on.