Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Rolling Adobe Flash Player back to a Previous Version to Fix Software Compatibility Issues (like Dentrix)

Keeping up to date with the latest and greatest versions of software is important for many reasons.  Software updates fix bugs, remove security risks and provide new functionality.  Unfortunately, newer versions of software can conflict with other software and cause unexpected results.  

For example, two weeks ago Henry Schein, the producer of a widely used dental software called Dentrix, pushed out an update to Dentrix which was not compatible with the most recent version of Adobe's Flash Player.  This rendered many pieces of the Dentrix software inoperable including employee time sheets, scheduling, health records and more.  Often times the quickest way to fix an issue that occurs after an update is simply to roll back the conflicting software to an older, compatible version.  In the case of the Dentrix update, rolling back the Adobe Flash Player to a previous version allows the software to function normally until the issue is resolved by Dentrix.

Rolling Adobe Flash Player back to a previous version requires uninstalling the current Flash Player and installing the desired version of Flash Player.

To uninstall the existing Flash Player
  • Open a web browser and search for "uninstall flash player".
  • In the search results, click the link for the uninstaller that matches your operating system.

  • Adobe's Flash Player uninstall page dynamically displays the current flash player version, in this case
  • Click on the "uninstaller" link under the section "Download the uninstaller for Flash Player".

  • Once the uninstaller downloads, click "Run".

  • In the Adobe Flash Player window, click "uninstall".

  • Once the uninstaller has completed click OK.
To install the desired Flash Player version
  • In a second browser window, type the search term "Flash Player archive".  
  • In the results click on the "Archived Adobe Flash Player Versions - Adobe Support" link.

  • Scroll down the archive results page, then click on the desired archived compatible version of the Flash Player.  In this example, and what solved the Dentrix issue mentioned above, the desired version is

  • Once the installer has downloaded, double click to open the zipped file with Windows Explorer if it does not open automatically.
  • Double click to open the archive folder.
  • Double click the folder displaying the version number downloaded, not the debug folder.

  • Double click the .msi Flash Player Windows installer package to install the archived Flash Player version.

  • When prompted to install, click "Run".

  • Click "Next" at the welcome screen.
  • Once the installer is complete, click "Finish" to close the installer.

  • To verify the version installed is the one desired, go back to the uninstall Flash Player browser window.  Click refresh to dynamically detect the current Adobe Flash Player version and verify it is the one selected.

Whatever compatibility issues arise, or what the reason to roll back a software version is, many software companies handle this process differently.  Luckily, Adobe keeps an extensive list of archived versions of their Flash Player handy so if an older version is ever needed, it is easy to find and replace the existing version.  Uninstalling the existing version to install an archived version is a quick and easy process that can be accomplished in less than five minutes with the right tools.

As always, you do not have to know everything in IT, you just need to know where to go to find the answers.  In this example, Adobe has all the answers you need!

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