Q: I have trouble playing Facebook games because my Flash Player software settings seem to disappear. What's wrong?
_Marie Ridner, Lakeland, Fla.
A: You are caught in an internet technology transition. Websites and browsers are moving away from the Flash animation and graphics technology, which has been vulnerable to hacker attacks.
Adobe Systems, the owner of Flash, set the stage for this change in 2017, when it announced that Flash will be phased out by the end of December 2020. That caused websites such as Facebook to say their games would switch to another animation technology. Meanwhile, web browser makers Google (Chrome), Mozilla (Firefox) and Microsoft (internet Explorer and Edge) also began phasing out Flash.
Your problem is that the browsers are making the transition faster than Facebook is.
Here is why that matters: Each time you enable Flash on Facebook, you are really making a settings change in your web browser, not the Facebook website. But browser companies are making it more difficult for you to keep those Flash settings. For example, the Chrome browser is now designed to forget your Flash settings every time you close the browser, forcing you to enable Flash again each time you begin a browsing session.
Future browsers won't be able to use Flash at all. For Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Internet Explorer, that happens near the end of 2020.
There is nothing you can do about this except be patient while Facebook games make the switch from Flash to another technology that web browsers support.
Q: My two-year-old laptop has been trying to update Windows 10 every day or two. But the update (called KB4507435, or "cumulative update for Windows 10 version 1803" for 64-bit PCs) fails to install every time. What should I do?
_Aron Rolnitzky, Shoreview, Minn.
A: You can skip that update and go on to the next one, which is far more important.
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The update you are having trouble with is one of the last fixes for the nearly obsolete version of Windows 10 that you have (version 1803, which expires in November.) You would be better off to skip that update and instead download the newest version of Windows 10 (version 1903, which became available to Windows 10 Home and Pro customers in July.) These updates to a new version of Windows 10 usually work smoothly.
Even so, here are some ways to make sure all goes well:
- Make sure your hard disk has 32 gigabytes of free space; that is how much storage capacity is needed to process the update. Previously, this type of upgrade required only 20 gigabytes of free disk space.
- Disconnect attached PC devices, such as flash drives, external hard drives, printers or scanners.
- If you are using a non-Microsoft antivirus program, temporarily disable it (some antivirus programs, such as Avast, can interfere with the update.)
You can download the 1903 update by opening the toolbar's "settings" icon toolbar and clicking "update and security." Under "Windows update," click "check for updates." If the 1903 update is shown, click "download and install now." (For other methods, see tinyurl.com/y39m3qec).
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