Thursday, 30 July 2009

Firefox Not Playing Flash Based Videos. (YouTube?)

(This post, and the one it refers to relate to windows xp.
If you're a mac-user, as some visitors to the earlier post were, I know nothing about macs, beyond that they're very pretty, and cost an inordinately greater amount than a pc. Also, mac-users are conditioned into handing lumps of money to the mac store when they break, which of course, many mac users swear never happens.
If I had lots of money, I'd buy a mac, because I like all that see-through keyboardery, and cool white, and fewer cables... Then I'd get really upset when I wanted to do things without being held to ransom by Apple.)

We've been here before. Statistically probably my most visited post ever was not some beautifully crafted wordsmithing, it was the post I wrote on the 13th June 2008, titled "Firefox 3 not playing You-Tube Videos -Easy Fix!"
People are still coming from the nooks and crannies of the web, hoping to find the words of a guru. I can report that it has fixed some but not others, but hey, it was a fix for Firefox 3 Beta, using Flashplayer 10.0 beta.
We're so far past the beta stage now guys. Yet a significant number of people EVERY DAY! google their way to that post. What does that tell us? Something's broken in the interwebnets? "What's that, Skippy? You-Tube fell into the old mineshaft and is hanging there in darkness? and you've come to get help?"
Well, little feller, you can just push off, because there's no help, no glimmer of light in the old mining torch.
Over the past few days, the black-screen victims have been thronging, even swarming... You-Tubes must have been diving headfirst into non-beta wells. I wondered what was going on....
Now I know. The Dark has arrived.
I'll post this, as it goes so far, and take a foray into the darkness. "What's that, Skip?...........Yes, I'm going down the old mine, alone... with only a rusty old lantern... yes... If I'm not back in an hour, go get help? Good on ya, Skippy".

Phew, that was scary... rotting timbers down there, and darker than the inside of a witches hat. nearly lost it when those props in the western adit suddenly collapsed. But, deep inside the ol' mozilla mine, i found the tools and set to work. I'm not a computerist. Remember that. I did not grow up with bits and bytes, I can't do html, I do not speak cobol, algol, or linux, and the windows registry. Shudder! I stay well out of all that.

But I just fixed the Firefix not playing YouTube problem. Again. How?
By following my own earlier instructions.

This worked for me.
It may work for you.
It may not work for you.
If you get it wrong your computer will explode in a ball of searing flame.
No. I lied about that.
If in doubt,
go to windows help and support (off the start menu)
If you can't get there, then don't attempt to fix anything yourself, ever.
Click "undo changes to your computer with system restore"
Click "create a restore point"
After that, click close.

So, if anything goes wrong, you could restore your computer's brain to this moment.

Okay. Next: go to Adobe here and download the Flash Player uninstaller. save to desktop.
Then go HERE and download the latest version of Flashplayer. Save to... desktop?

Exit Firefox, and any other browser. Run the uninstaller.
Shut down your computer and reboot.
Click on the installer icon, install flashplayer.
You could reboot again, but it's not really necessary.

Go watch that crummy waste of time youtube clip. that's it.

It works for me, and I'm big-hearted enough to share.
I'm not proud of it. I just think, if I can do it, anyone can, so why are you reading this? go fix the stupid computer. Okay?

Update December 21st 2009:
I found this, after another run-in with flash objects. In my case, it was that goear music gadgets that I have been using on my site would not play in Firefox, but worked fine in Chrome... Turning add-ons off, running ffox in safe mode led me to Adblock Plus. If it was enabled they would not run. I added exception filters in adblock for goear/swf...still dead. only thing that worked was to disable adblock. I found this at

"Adblock will block flash that it identifies as the same as another flash object that has been blocked. This means different things at different times but to the end user the result is often that they block a flash ad on one site, and find that flash videos stop working on another.
The common example is that a user blocks "*" on one site after seeing an annoying ad and now any other flash that matches that address (which is very common) is now blocked for the user everywhere."

Stop press: Harrow@SJ said...
Better solution for AdBlock:
-Click on the AdBlock button to bring up the menu.
-Right click all the filtered links, and click "Disable this filter on"
-Done, go rejoice.

I don't know for sure, there are lots of other sites pointing at Adblock, but Adblock plus' daddy says it's not his kid that started the fight, it was Mozilla, so......
try turning adblock off and see if it fixes anything. Worth a try, it's free, easy, and ...something else to do if you're feeling desperate.


  1. I tried that and it didn't work. I even tried to install an add-on called Better YouTube but the Flow Player wouldn't work either. and Im not running a slow PC. But I appreciate you for letting us in on a little trick that you learned.

  2. Thank you, this was very helpful and solved the problem for me! (I have a Mac.) :)

  3. it says stupid shite about corruption

  4. !charm a like works

  5. Sorry guys, I come back here into the archives so rarely, it's dark in these corridors, and a bit scary....
    Q, I'm assuming you've fixed it by now, that being five months ago...
    If you drop by, plesa tell what worked for you.
    Anon 1, Mac User? Really? it works for Macs too? That's useful feedback.
    Anon 2 Watch out for that corruption, it smells bad. Huge doses of penicillin might just save you. Are you Irish?
    Anon 3, !To my music, ears

  6. Better solution for AdBlock:
    -Click on the AdBlock button to bring up the menu.
    -Right click all the filtered links, and click "Disable this filter on"
    -Done, go rejoice.

  7. Harrow@sj: That's a more elegant solution....
    Maybe I should have started by asking if all the visitors with flash problems had Adblock?

    Maybe it's just that simple. In my case, the problem's been fixed for so long that I've just about forgotten it, however, the two posts I wrote when frustrated by white-screen youtubes are reliably the most visited posts ever on the blog.
    Maybe you just hit the nail on the head in a way I failed to do.
    Thank you for that.

  8. I disabled adblock on youtube. It worked for me. Thanks!

  9. Thank you for that trick. It worked. I un-installed Adobe Flash and then afterwards went to where firefox displays a link to fix missing plugin (Adobe Flash). After letting FireFox instal Adobe Flash youtube worked without any further problems.

    Very glad that I clicked on your link in google search. It got so annoying jumping around from forum to forum.

    P.S. My idea of a Mac vs PC is much like Dictatorship vs Democracy. I prefer to have more choice :-)

  10. James N: Nice analogy, just right, I think.
    Apple's take upon it is very much like a dictator's "This is what you get, praise me o my people, for my bounty" (Oh, and by the way, this wonderful interface with the internet which we call the Ipad can't play flash videos.....tough.)

    Still, i'd be tempted with an iphone if it just had a competitive camera. But the Iphone cam is where my old sony/ericsson's was four years ago.
    An android device for me next then.


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