Shockwave Flash Crashes In Google Chrome

Here are some simple steps to fix Shockwave Flash crashes in Google Chrome. The problem occurs when browsing a Flash-based website e.g. Facebook games or YouTube – the Flash plugin crashes with a message saying: “The following plugin has crashed: Shockwave Flash“.

Ignore the reference to Shockwave – the error message means that the Flash Player plugin has crashed – it has nothing to do with Adobe’s Shockwave Player which is a separate program.

What Causes The Crashes? As noted previously in updating Adobe Flash, Google Chrome already includes an integrated version of Flash Player which is automatically updated by Chrome – there is normally no need to download the standalone Adobe Flash Player which is intended for non-IE users.

However, if Firefox or a similar web browser is (or has ever been) installed on your computer, then you have likely also installed the standalone version of Flash for Firefox/Other web browsers – and this would include Chrome.

Updated Mar 2015 – Since the release of new features in Chrome 24, the ‘experimental’ PepperFlash plugin is now the default player for Flash content – there is no longer an integrated Chrome Flash Plugin.

Chrome may therefore have 1 or 2 versions of Flash Player installed – the new PepperFlash plugin and maybe the standalone Adobe version too. Having two versions enabled may cause the error message because they conflict with each other. Some users report audio and video problems with just the PepperFlash plugin too.

To fix the flash crashes, the aim is to disable all except one Flash plugin and retest. Follow these simple steps:

  • Open Chrome and type  about:plugins  into the website address bar at the top then press the ENTER key to display Chrome’s Plugins page.
  • Look down the list of Plugins for ‘Flash’ – if it says ‘Flash (2 files)’ you have Adobe and PepperFlash versions of Flash installed. If it says ‘Flash (1 file)’ you only have the default PepperFlash – both cases may cause Chrome to crash when accessing Flash-based websites…
  • Click on the ‘+ Details’ link at the top right of the Plugins page to expand the list of all Plugins.
  • Scroll down the list to find the Flash plugins – you should now see the full details of the Flash plugins which may display up to two versions of Flash:

PepperFlash and Adobe Flash installed

  • Look at the ‘Location:’ of each version – the PepperFlash version is in (…Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application etc) whilst the standalone Adobe (formerly Macromedia) version is in the …Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash etc directory.

If you have 1 version – PepperFlash:

  • Download and save to your computer the latest Adobe standalone version of Flash from Filehippo here (this is the non-IE version).
  • Close Chrome and then install this Adobe Flash you just downloaded. At the end of the installation it offers the option of ‘automatic updates’ – highly recommended to keep it up to date in future (see automatic silent updates for details).
  • Open Chrome and go back to about:plugins – you should now have 2 plugins (PepperFlash and Adobe).
  • Click on ‘Disable’ just under the Location of the PepperFlash version to disable it – it will become greyed out. Ensure that the Adobe version is enabled – if it is disabled (greyed out) click the ‘Enable’ link just under its Location to enable it. Now close the Plugins tab.

If you have 2 versions – PepperFlash and Adobe:

  • Click on ‘Disable’ just under the Location of the PepperFlash version to disable it – it will become greyed out.
  • Ensure that the Adobe version is enabled – if it is disabled (greyed out) click the ‘Enable’ link just under its Location to enable it. Now close the Plugins tab.

Final Steps

Visit the Adobe Flash Player test page to check that Flash is now properly installed and working ok.

Tip: From version 11.2 onwards, Adobe Flash offers automatic updating – however, it is still worth installing Update Checker to automatically check for new updates as it can check for updates to many other common free programs e.g. Adobe Reader, QuickTime, Java etc.

Other Tips – Updated March 2015

From readers’ comments, the above fix has worked for most but there are many different reasons for Flash crashes in Chrome so, if it doesn’t work for you, here are some further tips that may help:

1. Try the ‘How To Fix It’ steps again but the other way round i.e. this time Enable the integrated PepperFlash and Disable the Adobe version – then test to see if Flash no longer crashes.

2. See if Flash works ok in Incognito mode (click the Wrench/spanner in menu bar and choose ‘New Incognito Window’ to start Incognito Mode). Incognito mode disables all Chrome Extensions – if Flash now works without crashing then one of your Extensions must be causing the problem so, once back in normal Chrome mode, disable your extensions one at a time and test Flash until it stops crashing. The last extension disabled is the one causing the problem – leave it disabled and enable the others again.

3. Disable all Plugins except Flash. If Flash now works without crashing then one of your Plugins must be causing the problem – enable your Plugins one at a time and test Flash until it starts crashing again. The last Plugin enabled is the one causing the problem – disable it and enable the others again.

4. Update yours graphics card drivers (especially if they are old). Driver updates are often released to fix an issue with how Windows or individual programs work with a piece of hardware (e.g. graphics card) or to enable new features for it.

5. Disable Flash hardware acceleration to eliminate hardware or driver compatibility problems with Flash Player – untick ‘Enable Hardware Acceleration’ in the Flash Display panel. To view the Display panel, right click the picture (application image) during playback of a Flash video and, from the context menu, select ‘Settings’. The Display panel is the first panel (tab) shown at the bottom of the Settings window.

6. Test Flash on another browser such as IE or Firefox – if it crashes there too then skip to step 7. If it does not crash there, your version of Chrome may be corrupt. The last resort is to uninstall Chrome and ensure you clear the browsing data during uninstall.

Then, reinstall the latest stable version (currently Chrome 24) and the problem will hopefully be fixed. Remember to backup all your bookmarks/passwords etc BEFORE you uninstall – you could also sign into your Google account and sync settings for use later.

If you do still have problems with Chrome, you may have to wait for a specific fix from Google or Adobe. In the meantime you could use the other browser (e.g. Firefox or IE) if necessary.

7. If the crashes are NOT just in Chrome – see our separate article Flash Crashes in ALL web browsers.

145 Responses to: "Shockwave Flash Crashes In Google Chrome"

  1. Ole Olsen says:

    thank you very much, the 3 versions solutions worked for me

  2. Kyle J. says:

    Thank you for useful information.
    I was testing a flex application and Chrome showed nothing while IE and Firefox functioned properly. With this information, I could solve the problem.

  3. Scott says:

    FWIW, I recently updated to OS X 10.8.1 from 10.7.4. Sites which consistently the references issue, no matter what steps I took, now load properly, after the OS update. I have also noticed that sites that use flash now load significantly faster.

  4. shivani says:

    Thanks so much for such a useful article and efforts you put. solved the problem right away!

  5. tramzal jeanne says:

    merci pour les explications qui m’ont bien aidée j’avais les 3 versions j’ai suivi vos explication et maintenant ca marche mieux merci

  6. Inês says:

    Thank you so much for this, it worked like a charm and those crashes were driving me crazy!

  7. Jarzan says:

    One additional “trick”: at least with ATI based graphics (even latest drivers) is to disable Flash 3D acceleration. The Chrome fix is correct, but at least Safari continues and causes windows flickering even after that fix, but disabling the 3D acceleration fixes the problems with Safari at least. Flash 3D accleration can be disbled by clicking MB3 in flash windows and then go to Settings.

    This might be bug in ATI drivers or Flash violating the 3D API, not blaming either without any further analyzis though.

  8. Jarzan says:

    Well, I did some further study, and you who are running ATI Radeon graphics card, there is a “feature” in GPU BIOS that causes the GPU to run with about half speed when running _any_ Flash content with Adobe Flash. This is due Unified Video Decoder (“UVD”) causing the GPU clock to run at half speed or even lower from normal.

    This causes extreamly bad performance in some cases and I have been able to cause a browser crashes with this as well. Lesser symptom is flickering windows and menus in broswers and other applications.

    You have two options:

    1. Disable the “hardware acceleration” from Flash, This prevents the using of UVD functionality.

    2. Get RBE (Radeon BIOS Editor) and ATI Winflash and modify the UVD clock speed in GPU BIOS to same level as the default clock is, With RBE you can see both the “boot clock” and “UVD clock” and you are likely to see the UVD values be _much_ lower than BOOT values. With those tools you can: Read-Patch-Write the BIOS. There are some other similar tools, but I am used to these two and they are very robust and easy to use.

    WARNING: If you choose to take the path #2, be sure that you understand what you are doing as the end result otherwise may be a “dead” GPU!!!!

    This is actually more serious problem as I thought and explains lots of the mystical symptoms over the time I have seen. This means that using Adobe Flash with UVD combination (hardware acceleration”) will seriously hurt ALL graphics performance including all Gaming and Business applications!

    I have tested this solution now with three different ATI cards and the difference is very significant after the BIOS update. This is operating system independent problem as _any_ application activating/running UVD cause the same thing to happen as it is hard-coded to BIOS level. This is also the reason why OC tools such as afterburner or others can’t help with this.

  9. Donna says:

    i use chrome alot and to play games but i use IE 9 to do all of my business and a few other things , which version do i download the non IE or the IE version ?

    • Joe90 says:

      You need the IE version if you want Flash to work in IE. Chrome has its own versions built in. The non-IE version is for other browsers e.g. Firefox but may also be used by Chrome if its built in Flash plugins are disabled

  10. mich says:


  11. Vicki says:

    Thank you so much for the help provided my this information……all seems to be working much better now. :)

  12. Jim Tucker says:

    Thank you so very much. Was just about to spend money and you saved the day.

  13. hybermat says:

    Thanks a lot, solved my problem

  14. Budd says:

    This Windows solution appears to be the same problem that has recently appeared on my Apple iMac running OSX 10.8 and Chrome 21.0.1180.89. I only have one Shockwave Flash 11.4 r402 installed. I’ve disabled it even though it has been notifying failure to load for the past 24 hours.
    The only downloads available at the recommended website are for Windows…

  15. Patricia says:

    Thank you very much for all detailed info, it worked out well!!!! with the issue of pages failing to load in chrome
    ( disabled 2 options out of 3, left flash alone)…..and did not know before why this problem was occurring in a healthy system until few weeks ago….Chrome developers should have seen this problem coming before putting us with a browser update!!!!!!. Spent manyyyyyy hours researching this problem…… Explanation was handy and very clear to follow…. problem solved!