Microsoft Edge will give you the option to block Flash where you want

As with Google Chrome, the transition will happen on the web's largest sites first.

Microsoft said Wednesday that it has chosen a strategy for its Edge browser similar to that of Google Chrome. Flash will be a click-to-play option in future builds, allowing users to turn it off entirely if they so wish.

For now, the new Flash-blocking capability will be limited to members of its Windows Insider program running Edge (with EdgeHTML 15) within Windows 10. Eventually, those features will make it into the mainstream Edge browser used by the majority of users. According to Kyle Pflug, a communications manager for the Edge team, Insiders will be able to try it out in the next Insider build.

Why this matters: Flash has long been considered a security risk as well as a battery hog, and more and more sites are simply moving to HTML5 content as a replacement. The days of Flash are over, and none too soon. Aside from some old legacy game and animation sites (hello, Newgrounds!), there’s little reason to keep Flash around.

Dead Flash walking

In April, Microsoft said it would pause Flash “content not central to the webpage,” meaning disabling Flash video and animations in advertisements and other non-essential content. (As of now, you can click to enable those ads, if you so choose.) 

Now, Microsoft will go a step farther. Edge will, in its upcoming builds, automatically default to HTML5 content if it’s available, not showing or even loading Flash at all. If Flash is available, you’ll have the option of loading it or declining it—either on a one-time basis, or for all future visits to that site. (It’s not clear whether you’ll have the option of blocking Flash from the domain at large, or just individual pages.)

Microsoft said that the Flash-to-HTML5 transition will happen gradually—not for the entire web at once, but on a site-by-site basis.

“We are deeply aware that Flash is an integral part of many web experiences today,” Crispin Cowan, a member of the Windows Security team, wrote in a blog post. “To ease the transition to HTML5, these changes initially will not affect the most popular sites which rely on Flash today. In the coming months, we will actively monitor Flash consumption in Microsoft Edge and will gradually shorten the list of automatic exceptions. At the end of this process, users will remain in control, and will be able to choose Flash for any site they visit.”

Earlier this month, Google took the same approach with its Chrome browser, transitioning some of the web’s top sites from Flash to HTML5. It appears, though, that Google is managing some of those decisions itself, deciding whether to display Flash or HTML5 depending on how the user interacted with those sites in the past.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 10Microsoft Edge

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?