Microsoft Is Cutting the Adobe Flash Cord in July

Illustration for article titled Microsoft Is Cutting the Adobe Flash Cord in July

Image: Sam Rutherford

Adobe Flash officially reached end of life at the end of 2020, and now Microsoft is removing Flash from Windows 10 this summer.

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While Microsoft had already started to remove support for Flash from a number of its apps, including its Edge browser, there is still some native support for Adobe’s Flash Player built into Windows 10 itself, which Microsoft is now planning to remove via Windows Update KB4577586: “Update for Removal of Adobe Flash Player.”

In a recent update to a previous blog post on the matter, Microsoft said it will begin sending out the patch to remove Adobe Flash from Windows 10 starting in June, first to users who are part of Microsoft’s Preview program before the patch becomes a mandatory update in July. Microsoft says that going forward, all systems running Windows 10 version 21H1 or later will have Flash removed by default.

In addition to removing native Flash support from Windows 10, Microsoft is also planning on removing Flash from older versions of Windows as well, including Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Embedded 8 Standard. And in case you don’t want to wait for June, you can also remove Flash from Windows 10 manually by downloading and installing the KB4577586 update from the Microsoft Update Catalog here.

Adobe Flash has been on its way out for the past several years, so it makes sense for Microsoft to do a final pass and remove native support for Flash from Windows 10, thereby eliminating all the security issues often associated with Adobe’s outdated multimedia format.

However, for those feeling nostalgic about Flash games from days gone by, you can still play a number of titles using the Internet Archive. And if you don’t find the specific game you’re looking for, you can also try apps like BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint, which is essentially a multi-platform Flash emulator for Windows, macOS, and Linux PCs.

Depending on which install you choose and what OS you’re on, Flashpoint even comes with a library of more than 38,000 old Flash games (the total file size for Flashpoint Ultimate 9.0 is a whopping 532GB), providing you with a wealth of content from a previous generation of the internet.

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Flash is dead; long live Flash.

The Microsoft Store for Windows 10 Is Reportedly Getting a Major Overhaul

Illustration for article titled The Microsoft Store for Windows 10 Is Reportedly Getting a Major Overhaul

Screenshot: Microsoft

Microsoft is reportedly reworking its entire Store app in Windows 10, including policy changes for developers and making the UI easier to navigate. Windows Central reports the changes are a sweeping rejuvenation of the Microsoft Store, changes that will hopefully encourage Windows 10 users to use the app more often and encourage more developers to make their apps and games available through the store.

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The rumor is sort of unsurprising, considering Microsoft is chugging right along with its codenamed “Sun Valley” initiative, or its major UI code overhaul expected to debut with Windows 10 21H2 sometime in during the second half of this year. Microsoft has already made a number of changes for its Windows Insider users, like new Documents, Music, and Video folder icons, but it has yet to comment publicly on Sun Valley.

The Microsoft Store was first introduced with Windows 8 as a way to “link” apps across PCs and Windows phones, tablets, and Xbox consoles. It was a very “Apple ecosystem” approach, but given how poorly Windows 8 and the Windows phone were received, the initiative fell apart and the Microsoft Store was neglected.

In its current state, the app is clunky, slow, and unintuitive. Many of the featured games are also available on the Xbox app, Steam, or elsewhere. The same goes for desktop apps, movies, and other programs like Microsoft Office. Everything can be downloaded directly from another source that is, by comparison, better designed, so there isn’t much incentive for a lot of Windows 10 users to use the Microsoft Store at the moment.

There are tons of apps available through Windows Package Manager, including many that are missing from the Microsoft Store. Windows Package Manager isn’t necessarily for your average Windows 10 user, since it involves installing apps from a command prompt, but it’s not hard to use either. It’s not too different than typing a search term into your browser to find the download page for a certain program.

Other than redesigning the UI, the policy changes that Microsoft is reportedly implementing will open up the submission process to a greater number of developers. This in turn could open up the Microsoft Store to finally include apps like internet browsers, Adobe Creative Suite software, or other third-party paid or free apps. Currently, developers have to package their apps in a specific file format and use Microsoft’s update mechanisms and commerce platforms. But it’s possible that developers will be able to use different file formats and manage their own content through their own delivery network rather than only through Microsoft’s.

If that’s the case, then Microsoft won’t be able to take a cut from developers who elect to use their own in-app purchase systems. (Unlike Apple, which locks developers into putting their apps on its App Store if they want their program on iOS.)

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These alleged changes to the Microsoft store seem like they could be a positive thing, but we’ll believe it when we see it.

Here’s Your Windows 10 Set-Up Checklist

If you’ve finally upgraded your PC’s software or unboxed a new machine and are getting started with Windows 10 for the first time ever, there are a few things you need to know.

First, hop into your settings and log in with your Microsoft account to both sync your previous settings from earlier Windows versions and make sure the settings you adjust in the future are also synced. If you’ve never created a Microsoft account before, we recommend doing so now. Then, go ahead and install whatever updates are available. There may be more than a few, so it’s best to get it over with now.

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From Settings, you’ll also be able to join the Windows Insider Program. This is fun if you want to get a sneak peek of the beta features Microsoft is testing, but if you don’t like to live on the edge, you can skip it.

Now it’s time to start personalizing your OS with a couple of basic tweaks. First, go to Display and toggle on Night Light mode so the color temperature of your screen will adjust at dusk and sunrise. Then, go to Notifications and Alerts to turn off pesky Microsoft tips on getting the most out of Windows or whatever. Hop on over to Storage and toggle on Storage Sense to keep your system clean. After you install your essential apps, click on Taskbar settings and select “Select which icons appear in the taskbar” to keep things looking organized. Under Apps, select Startup to choose which apps launch automatically when you boot up your machine (keep this to a minimum for obvious reasons).

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Check out the video above to let us walk you through this process.