After being kept on life support for arguably far too long, Flash will finally be sent to that big hard drive in the sky by the end of this year. To make the goodbye a little easier, Microsoft has released a new Windows update that purges Flash Player before its eventual demise on December 31.
Much like a real-world fatality, Microsoft’s update (which can be downloaded via the Microsoft Update Catalogue here) emphasises that once you choose to install it, there’s no bringing Flash back; once it’s been installed onto a person’s device, it can’t be uninstalled. Any attempt to bring Flash back onto your device, Microsoft goes on to explain, will only work if you restore your system to its pre-update settings, or reinstall your Windows operating system entirely.
The update is only the latest nail in the coffin for Flash, which Adobe announced in 2017 it would cease distribution and updates of as part of the fittingly called “end-of-life” process. Since then, Google’s Chrome browser began disabling the player by default, as did Firefox. While Microsoft’s Edge browser is officially cutting ties with Flash Player come December, the company will allow Flash to load as a plug-in on Edge when the browser is run via its Internet Explorer mode.
While Flash’s slow march to the grave has been gleefully received by people who point out how outdated, buggy, and insecure the tech is, there’s also something deeply sad about it. Our idea of what constitutes weird internet humour was born, in part, thanks to Flash-based cartoons mocking everything from unicorns to badgers to World War III. Before you update your browser of choice to permanently kill off this piece of internet history, just remember that Salad Fingers walked so today’s goth TikTokers could run.