Yesterday, Microsoft announced that Adobe Flash would soon be enabled by default in Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 and Windows RT. As of a little while ago, this change has finally gone into effect.
When the Redmond software giant unveiled IE10’s built-in support for Flash nearly a year ago, it did so with the caveat that only a select number of pre-approved websites would be supported in the Immersive IE (formerly known as “Metro IE”) experience. In fact, only Desktop IE on Windows 8 provided unfiltered access to the technology. This was done to ensure that performance and battery life remained excellent across the board, no matter what you were trying to do.
While many of the most popular websites were included in the whitelist, some were not. Worse, the development teams behind a number of high-profile websites weren’t even aware of the whitelist, making it difficult to watch videos or interact with certain types of content on their sites. The internet’s reliance on Flash has decreased significantly in recent years, but it’s still a very crucial thing to have. Enthusiasts soon figured out how to customize the whitelist for themselves, but these changes needed to be made on a per-person basis and could be overwritten by a new whitelist release unless updates were disabled entirely.
Now, four-and-a-half months after Windows 8 and Windows RT hit the market, Microsoft has decided to reverse the way IE10’s Flash support works. Flash is now enabled by default in both the Immersive and Desktop IE experiences on Windows 8 and Windows RT, and the whitelist has been transformed into a blacklist – or, as the IE team calls it, a “block list” – which forcibly disables Flash (except if you’re running Desktop IE on Windows 8) on websites which are known to have compatibility issues.
An estimated 4% of websites are still incompatible at this point, but there are actually only a dozen websites on the initial release of the “NoFlash” list:
In some ways, the IE10 Flash blacklist is a semi-public shaming for these websites, which need to get their act together and improve their Flash content. Thankfully, Microsoft has a number of tips on how to do so, including best practice guides. Overall, the change to the way IE10 handles Flash content is good for both users and developers.