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:
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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.

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

  1. Grace says:

    Thanks, worked for me!

  2. Roy says:

    @Richard – good to hear that fixed your issue! Ps unless you really still need Java (only about 1 in 500 sites use it nowadays) it is best for security to uninstall it – Java has had so many security lapses in the last year.

    Or, if you need to keep it for offline apps like Open Office, you could at least disable it in the browser per https://techlogon.com/java-7-update-10-adds-ability-to-disable-java-in-all-browsers/

  3. Richard says:

    I too have been suffering with this issue, and tried just about everything I could find to fix it, including disabling pepflash permanently. Still I got these freezeups where it could take 10 minutes to bring up Windows Task Manager. Stopped using Chrome altogether. Then I noticed my avast software wanted me to update my Java, both versions 6 and 7. Googled “multiple versions of Java” and found that you should uninstall prior versions if you have any. There’s a neat little page Java.com has that scans your setup and tells you which ones to uninstall using Change/Remove Software. I would give you exact steps but since I no longer have out of date versions I can’t reproduce exactly. Anyway, since removing all prior versions of Java I have been running Chrome for 2 days with NO PROBLEMS!!! Yay! Anyone still having issues with Chrome, I urge you to try this, as it seems to have done the job for me.

  4. Gareth says:

    Many thanks for this, PepperFlash was causing full screen video to break up and flicker irritatingly for me, finding this hint and disabling it saved me lots of head scratching and meant I could get back to youtube videos in < 10mins. Thank you! :)

  5. Bryle says:

    Not working

    • samir says:

      I noticed that if you have VLC media player installed, it installs a web plug in too you can find it under (adobe flash) if you have it installed. i just disabled it and it’s working fine now :)

  6. doron says:

    worked fine for my machine, thanx…hope they fix it soon.

  7. Inés says:

    A mi me pasó lo mismo, es el AdBlock, pero no lo quiero sacar, como puedo hacer???
    Ahora estoy con ventana de incógnito. Podré seguir así????

  8. Horri says:

    The plugin which crashed my shockwave is AdBlock. I love that plugin but it will have to go now:-( Thanks for the article and great debugging advice.

  9. Will says:

    Roy, alright, I understand it’s not a URL. But where do you go to, and what do you do with this: C:/WINDOWS/system32/Macromed/Flash/NPSWF32_11_5_502_146.dll

    You haven’t made any of this clear. I tried going into Windows program files, and don’t see how you use this. You need to be more specific and instruct how to do this. People could do permanent damage to their OS.

  10. richard says:

    Thanks guys, everything is now working fine. I followed your advice to rename the pepflash dll and disable pepperflash plug in. My old shockwave was very out of date because in a vain attempt to get more speed out of my setup I disabled anything that checks to see if you need updates. Maybe not such a good move. But I now have latest shockwave, have only 1 plugin working, and don’t get shockwave crashes anymore. I still get unresponsive page message sometimes, but it’s an older machine and may be under resourced. I’ve heard that a fix for that is to change your waiting time to 20 seconds from 10, but haven’t tried it yet.

  11. jack says:

    thank you very much

  12. Ben says:

    I have experienced the same problem with Pepperflash. I will disable it and then when I start Chrome again, it restarts Pepperflash.
    The only way it has worked for me is to rename the Pepperflash dll.

    (I found this in the Google forum)

    Install Adobe Flash player from Adobe web site
    Open Chrome:\\plugins (type this into Chrome address bar)
    See the Adobe Flash Player Plugin
    Note the location of pepflashplayer.dll
    Go to that file location with Explorer (Not browser Explorer, file explorer)
    Right click on the file
    Left click on Rename in the popup menu
    Change the file name (I just change the dll extension to lld) or you could delete the file, but I don’t usually like to do

    Restart Chrome
    Check the plugins again
    If another pepflashplayer.dll shows up rename that one also and restart Chrome.

    If you are unable to follow these instructions, or don’t know how to find the pepflashplayer.dll file, then you need to get someone to do it for you

    • Eidh says:

      @Roy: Does that prevent the crashes from occurring??

    • Roy says:

      @Ben – thanks for the tip, works a treat!
      @Eidh – that workaround lets you permanently (at least until next version of Chrome) disable Pepperflash so you can use Adobe’s Flash plugin instead. Won’t necessarily fix all crashes but if Pepperflash was the cause then it provides an alternative – many people find that Adobe’s version does fix the crashes.

  13. Will says:

    OOPS! I do see PepperFlash in the LOCATION line, a few down from the top. So, what do I do? I had uninstalled Adobe FlashPlayer, but it is still in the C drive anyway, so I would think things should work, unless I don’t understand this well enough (I’m sure I don’t).

    • Roy says:

      @Will – your listing shows you now only have the Pepperflash plugin which is an integral part of Chrome i.e. you do not have Adobe’s separate Flash plugin (as you uninstalled it).

  14. Will says:

    Roy, or somebody,

    OK, here is a copy & paste of what my plug-ins shows. I don’t see Pepper Flash, so I can’t see why Shockwave Flash crashes. In addition, when I expand the + sign to show all, I first have a scroll bar on the right, but as I used it, it disappears and nothing will move. This is really messed up.

    Plug-ins
    Plug-ins (17)
    Details
    Adobe Flash Player – Version: 11.5.31.139
    Shockwave Flash 11.5 r31
    Name: Shockwave Flash
    Description: Shockwave Flash 11.5 r31
    Version: 11.5.31.139
    Location: C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\PepperFlash\11.5.31.139\pepflashplayer.dll
    Type: PPAPI (out-of-process)
    Disable
    MIME types:
    MIME type Description File extensions
    application/x-shockwave-flash Shockwave Flash
    .swf
    application/futuresplash Shockwave Flash
    .spl
    Disable Always allowed
    Chrome Remote Desktop Viewer
    This plugin allows you to securely access other computers that have been shared with you. To use this plugin you must first install the Chrome Remote Desktop webapp.
    Name: Chrome Remote Desktop Viewer
    Description: This plugin allows you to securely access other computers that have been shared with you. To use this plugin you must first install the Chrome Remote Desktop webapp.
    Version:
    Location: internal-remoting-viewer
    Type: PPAPI (in-process)
    Disable
    MIME types:
    MIME type Description File extensions
    application/vnd.chromium.remoting-viewer
    .
    Dis

  15. richard says:

    Hi Roy, I followed your instructions and disabled pepflash, leaving only Shockwave Flash 10.1 r53 enabled. Closed down normally, but when I rebooted, pepflash was enabled again. Like a pesky zombie, keeps rising from the dead. Any thoughts? By the way, the url for the plugins page for me is chrome://plugins, not about:plugins.

    • Roy says:

      @richard – you’re right, a recent update to Chrome seems to have broken the ability to permanently disable Pepflash. This bug has been raised at http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=173821

      Until it’s fixed you would have to disable Pepflash every time you start Chrome which is a pain :-(

      about:plugins is a shortcut to chrome://plugins – you should be able to use (or bookmark) either. PS – is there a reason you’ve stuck with Flash 10.1 – it’s pretty old now compared to 11.5?

      • Eidh says:

        I have 11.5 & it still crashes all the damn time. I don’t need both flash players so why does Chrome even have one?

      • Roy says:

        @Eidh – you’d have to ask Google but Microsoft have started doing a similar thing – IE10 in Windows 8 also includes an integrated Flash Player.

      • Eidh says:

        So should I just uninstall Shockwave??

      • Roy says:

        @Eidh – if you want to play Flash content then you need a Flash plugin. If Pepperflash works ok then you don’t need Adobe’s version too but otherwise, switching to Adobe’s version may resolve the crashes.

      • Eidh says:

        I have no idea if it works. I’d have to uninstall Shockwave to find out I guess.I was having issues with Shockwave before the update too tho. Seems it’s always been an issue. Maybe that’s why Chrome has it’s own flash player now. I guess I could just disable Shockwave right?