How not to install your application – Adobe Flash and Windows Vista

Recently I have been using the online TV services in the UK (ITV Catchup, BBC iPlayer, C4 Watch Online) a lot, however every now and again the video would stop and I would have to exit full screen and re-enter.  Very annoying when your just getting into Dr Who on iPlayer.

I thought I would just upgrade my Macromedia Adobe Flash plugin and this might fix the problem. This is the story of what happened when I attempt this.

1) Visit Macromedia website and download flash installer (1.4mb). I launched the installer, UAC displays, installer says it installed successfully.

2) Visit iPlayer – now says I don’t have flash installed, please re-install.  How odd! I just installed it.

3) Visit the Macromedia Adobe site, install Flash player via the website and not installer. IE Protection for addin asks for confirmation. Macromedia Adobe site says everything worked successfully.

4) Went back to iPlayer – nothing. Went to ITV, nothing. Flash had given up the ghost. Tried with firefox – install failed.

At this point, I got frustrated. The installer wasn’t giving me any errors or guidance to anything going wrong – it was just saying everything was prefect.

After a bit of googling, I found my way to “Troubleshoot Adobe Flash Player installation for Windows“.

In terms of guidance, this page tells me to uninstall (might as well tell me to reboot first to see if it fixes the problem), download flash, edit ActiveX settings, download SubInACL from Microsoft oh and then about Windows Vista installation failure. It says:

  • Right-click C:WindowsSystem32MacromedFlashFlashUtil9d.exe
    The letter changes with each Flash version, so may be “FlashUtilb.exe” or “FlashUtile.exe”
  • Select “Run as Administrator”
  • Follow the steps to complete the Flash Player installation
  • Restart your computer
  • After doing this, everything worked just fine. However, this experience had multiple problems.

    Firstly, when installing applications, the developer should always make sure that they did install successfully. If they didn’t, then why are you displaying confirmation about a successful install?  This just causes confusion for the user and makes your application look bad. The flash player should have reported that the install failed and directed me to the troubleshooting page instead of me having to find and go there myself.

    If the installer does fail, then provide useful contextual help. It would have been great after being pointed to the troubleshooting page, if the page could have identified that I was on Windows Vista, knowing there are some known issues with Vista and have put that in a nice clear block at the top instead of including it in a long list of items. This way I could quickly see which solutions relate to me, but still be able to dig into other items which might cause the problem.

    Adobe should have done this, or at least have some structure to the page such as related headings instead of a random list of possible solutions.

    Is this too much to ask?

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    2 thoughts on “How not to install your application – Adobe Flash and Windows Vista”

    1. Hi Ben, I’m sorry for the bad experience. I’m passing your report along inside Adobe as we try to make things better.

      It sounds like you might be in Internet Explorer (and Windows), from that “IE Protection” mention in Step 3. If so, then Internet Explorer can auto-install, but sometimes requires a restart to re-register the control. But there was mention of a confirmation request from your system, and I’m not sure what was asked, what was done.

      I’m also not sure what might be up with that sentence about “install failed” on Firefox. Sometimes pasting actual error message text into a search engine is the quickest way of identifying a cause. I don’t hear much of that symptom on weblogs and mailing lists these days, though, if that’s of good context.

      Regardless, if there’s trouble in the process, we need to fix it… you shouldn’t have had to go through that experience you suffered. I can’t predict specific results, but others inside Adobe will read the words you took the time to write, so thanks.

      jd/adobe

    2. I don’t know much about computer. I had a Lenux-Suse system befor, now a HP COmpaQ w/ Windows XP, ans I got Firefox internet. I tried to download Adobe Flash Player to receive ‘TV on computer’, and also other videos from ranches, tack & farm internet catalogs(I have horse & dogs) but I am unable to download… I get an ‘error’ message w/ backward “/”. I do not understand. Can ANYONE help, please? Thanking anyone in advance,Kathy-kalhoffarm@gmail.com 09/24/08

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