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Firefox plugin questions!

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I have Vista Home Basic x64 and Firefox 3.02 for about two months. During that time, I've installed two of the more important plugins manually, Shockwave Flash and the Windows Media Player plug-in.

As far as the Shockwave Flash, I've always had a question about it First, Is it the same thing as Adobe Flash? According to the FAQ on, it is not. It specifically states that "Shockwave Player does not include Flash support. You will need to install Flash Player separately".

So now I'm a little confused! My initial Flash install was for Internet Explorer 7. That was before I had a chance to install Firefox. During that installation, it installed all of its files in C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash.

Inside Flash are all kinds of files, including two that you can update, FlashUtil9f, which according to is for Shockwave Player and NPSWF32_FlashUtil, which is actually an exe. I'm assuming NPSWF32_FlashUtil may be for Shockwave Player too.

I've updated FlashUtil9f before, but can't remember if I've ever updated NPSWF32_FlashUtil. I've also never been sure that any of these files or the updates you get from them have anything to do with Firefox.

Anyway, after I installed Firefox, I received that drop-down message about installing the missing Flash plug-in. Then when I clicked "install plugin" it said that the install was unsuccessful an that I would have to install it manually. But before I did, I did some searches about Firefox and Adobe Flash. Much of what I found told me that people were having all kinds of problems.

Now as I write this, I can't even remember how I ended up getting Flash installed on Firefox. Seems there's all kinds of methods listed. One of which is to go the the Firefox add-ons page where an Adobe Flash Player is listed. However when you click on Download Now, all it does is take you to the Adobe Flash install page:

Once there, when you click "Agree and Install now" it downloads an .exe. Now I can't remember if I ever ended up running that or not. I must have, because Shockwave Flash is now in my Firefox add-ons plugins. And everything works fine too. I can watch YouTube and all with no problems.
But there are files for Shockwave in my Firefox plugins folder!

That's why I'm trying to get to the bottom of the different ways listed to supposedly get Flash to work on Firefox. One site says all you really have to do is download NPSWF32.dll and put it in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Firefox\plugins folder. However I've also read where if you do that, you'll then have two Shockwave Flash's in add-ons.

One more thing. I've learned that Flash 9.0.r28 and earlier versions of the Flash plugin installer copied two files to the installation directory of Firefox. NPSWF32.dll to the plugins folder and flashplayer.xpt to the components folder. But I guess newer versions don't do that.

All I know is that I currently have no Flash files in my C:\Program Files (x86)\Firefox\plugins or components folder. But I guess that's ok, because everything works.But, in your opinion, should I at least have NPSWF32.dll in my plugins folder? Would it make any difference, performance-wise?

Let me quickly list what I have in my Firefox add-on Plugins: BitTorrent, DNA Plugin, Java Platform SE, Microsoft Office 2003 for Netscape Navigator, Microsoft DRM Netscape Network Object, Microsoft DRM Store Netscape Plugin, Mozilla Default Plugin, Shockwave Flash Version 9.0r.124 and Windows Media Player Plugin.

Now do I really need all of these? First of all, Microsoft Office 2003 for Netscape Navigator, Microsoft DRM Netscape Network Object, Microsoft DRM Store Netscape Plugin and Mozilla Default Plugin, all installed by themselves. I was never asked if I wanted them or not. Currently I have all of those disabled until I find out more about them. I look foward to your suggestions on those.

Finally, and I'm sorry this has been so long a post, I went to a site the other day, and up popped a drop-down that said "Additional plugins are required to display all the media on this page". So I clicked on "Install Missing Plugins" and up popped the "Plugin Finder Service". It said, "No suitable plugins were found" "Unknown Plugin (text/html)" This has also happened on one other site for me.

So now I'm thinking, "What the heck is this? I thought I had all of the plugins I need?"
And I don't know if it was asking for the Real Player or Quicktime Player or not. I would think it would let you know if it would. So any ideas on this one? It's a mystery to me! I did some searches on this and apparently found that quite a few people have run into this, though I found no solution for it.

Ok, so that's it. I've written enough. I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

Jan LaFata
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I can't claim to know the answer to your questions, but I am wondering if an uninstall and reinstall of the flash plugin would help? The current versions all have the same number (9,0,124,0) but, as you have discovered, they vary according to whether the browser uses Active X or not.

Perhaps the first thing to try is to upgrade to Firefox 3.0.3, which came out yesterday, because it may include new versions of the plugins you need.

If that doesn't help, you could try the uninstall reinstall option. There is a special uninstaller that you should use, and you can get it here;

Uninstaller; (read the instructions, IE users may need to reboot after running it)

Flash plugin for IE; (read the installation instructions, you may need to be online for the install to complete properly)

As you have Firefox installed, you will need the new plugin for it, because the uninstaller will have removed the old one

Flash plugin for non Active X browsers;
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