How to Stop Flash From Loading Automatically With FlashControl [Chrome]

Saikat Basu 08-04-2013

stop flash from loadingFlash is the hero or the villain depending on which side of the fence you are sitting on. Even a few years back, using Flash in animation Rise Of the SWF: Flash Animations That Will Make You Feel Old [Stuff to Watch] Do you remember when a company called Macromedia introduced their rich web plugin, Flash? Back then, Flash was an exciting new prospect. It introduced the ability to animate, using frame-by-frame and using motion-tweening, add sound,... Read More was the high point of web creativity, and it was a wonder just gaping at them. HTML5 arrived and we aren’t so awestruck anymore. But Flash is yet to be a dinosaur. It is still very much a part of online games, web applications, Flash forms, file uploaders, Flash music players, and of course – online video. Though, sites like YouTube and Vimeo are gradually going native with HTML5 video players.


There’s some good news and bad news. The bad news is that Flash is not always an animated white angel. The good news is that you can disable it. Why would you want to stop Flash from loading? The reasons are quite a few:

Stop Flash from Loading in Google Chrome – The Default Way

Chrome bundles a Flash player with its default installation. You can go into the Settings and disable all plug-ins including the Flash plug-in. The ‘Click to play’ feature of Chrome can solve your browser crashes and slowdowns by deactivating Flash, Silverlight or Java plug-ins.

You can take the Settings – Show Advanced Settings – Content Settings – Plug-ins route. Select Click to play or Block all. You can also Manage Exceptions by entering the URLs of the websites where you want the plug-ins to work. Click to play gives the user control over when the plug-ins should be run. You can click the blocked area on the webpage to load the plug-ins selectively.

stop flash from loading

If you want to disable only the Flash plug-in, click on Disable individual plug-ins… and then in the following screen, click the link to disable it.


stop flash loading chrome

A faster way to reach the same plug-ins page as above is to type chrome:plugins in the address bar. To disable Adobe Flash Player, click the disable link under its name. Click it again to re-activate it.

But there is an even better way to master your control over irksome Flash videos on websites. As usual we turn to a handy Chrome extension called FlashControl.

Using FlashControl – A More Powerful Way

There are many ways (and quite a few browser extensions) to keep a check on Flash. Muting sounds in webpages with embedded audio or Flash How To Mute Sound On Webpages With Embedded Audio Or Flash It happens to all of us. We love using browser tabs to open more and more links in the background and then go through them one by one. However it is really irritating when some... Read More is one thing you can look into to save your eardrums. But what we are looking to do here is to block Flash by default or selectively enable it when and where we want.


FlashControl helps to address many of the situations that we discussed above, perhaps the most annoying of which I find to be the auto-playing Flash ads. FlashControl is a Chrome extension that uses blacklists and whitelists for selectively blocking and unblocking Flash content. As the extensions defines itself – the main feature is the ability to re-block Flash without refreshing webpages, which means you can reclaim memory and reduce CPU usage on demand.

stop flash loading chrome

After installing the extension, the FlashControl icon is displayed on any site with Flash content. By default, all sites are on the blacklist i.e. Flash is disabled by default. One of the highlights of this extension is the ease with which it lets you configure which sites to include or exclude on the fly. As you can see below in the screenshot, I land on a site like Nat Geo and see all Flash videos disabled by default including the Flash advertisement video on the right.

stop flash loading chrome


I simply have to click on the blanked out video space to make it active and start playing. Great sites like NatGeo and YouTube run a lot on Flash, so it’s better that I whitelist the site to save myself from repeatedly clicking on the greyed out spaces. If this is the first time you have come across these terms, let me explain – Whitelist is a list of sites that have been allowed a privilege (e.g. allowed to run Flash). A Blacklist is just the opposite…they have been denied the permission.

stop loading flash

FlashControl seems to be simple and minimalistic from the icon on the Omnibar. But click on Preferences to display the Simple Interface. This doesn’t tell you much except that you can change the default behavior.

stop loading flash


Select the Advanced Interface to bring all of FlashControl’s features out into the open:

stop loading flash

Key Features of FlashControl

1. Power management option allows you to stop Flash from loading when a computer is not in use. You can specify the interval.

How to Stop Flash From Loading Automatically With FlashControl [Chrome] flash control08

You can configure FlashControl to disable Flash completely when tabs are in the background and inactive. When you bring them in focus, Flash is automatically activated.

2. The Filter Manager supports wildcards and regular expressions. The Filter Manager works in three dimensions –

stop flash from loading

  • You can filter all Flash elements on a website. For e.g. a specific website or webpage is persistent with its noise Flash ads.
  • You can filter some Flash elements on a website. For e.g. you can block the ads while allow the video player or a chat box to load.
  • You can selectively filter some or all Flash elements that originate from a common source. For e.g. you can block a specific advertisement provider used by multiple websites.

You can simply use the FlashControl buttons from the Omnibar. But if you really want realize the Chrome extension’s power, you have to get down and dirty with the Filter Manager and Resources Panel. FlashControl uses pattern matching, wildcards and regular expressions to put all Flash embeds through a sieve. Find the detailed and well-explained how-to on the extension’s Wiki Page.

Your Browser – A More Peaceful Place?

FlashControl will remind you of another extension we had covered a while back. FlashBlock Use Flash Block To Selectively Block Flash Elements [Chrome] While Flash is on its way out and about to be replaced by HTML5, it is still used abundantly for web content, predominantly for displaying annoying ads. Not only are a lot of flash elements... Read More had a similar content-filtering purpose of blocking Flash videos during a browsing session. FlashControl is more powerful and flexible. I did not notice any bugs in the last few days I used it. Personally the filter managers allow me to selectively apply Flash blocking on sites which are far too intrusive with their auto-play Flash ads. I do not advocate the complete block of internet ads AdBlock, NoScript & Ghostery - The Trifecta Of Evil Over the past few months, I've been contacted by a good number of readers who have had problems downloading our guides, or why they can't see the login buttons or comments not loading; and in... Read More because it is the umbilical cord which sustains all the free knowledge we get.

Flash Control gives me more options and a precision weapon to take on disrupting Flash videos. What about you – do you consciously disable Flash? Have you tried FlashControl or anything similar? What is your take on the options it offers? Or readers have already recommended FlashControl on our Best Chrome Extensions The Best Chrome Extensions A list of only the best extensions for Google Chrome, including suggestions from our readers. Read More page. Your vote will only bolster it more.

Related topics: Adobe Flash, Google Chrome.

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  1. Michel
    May 30, 2016 at 2:57 am

    It's now 29 May 2016 and the article needs a serious update about FlashControl, for I just installed it this evening, it now being 10:55 p.m. EST, and the extension's interface has extremely changed in both appearance as well as settings.

    • Saikat Basu
      May 31, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Yes, lots of updates are planned across the site. Unavoidable because the web changes at the speed of thought :)

      • Michel
        June 6, 2016 at 1:21 am

        Thanks for the acknowledgement, Saikat; and you're right about changes occurring. If I was maintaining a Web site, then ... I don't know that I wouldn't become discouraged, including quickly.

        Anyway, thanks for the non-spiteful reply.

        • Saikat Basu
          June 6, 2016 at 4:29 am

          You are always welcome Michel. And keep coming back :)

      • Michel
        June 6, 2016 at 2:09 am

        Good website, btw. I've made off-and-on use of it for ... many years. The domain name is good. It isn't one that's easy to forget and it can, based on the general domain name, provide for everything we can think of. It's one of the best resources I know of.

  2. AC
    May 11, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Flash Control seems to be the solution to unwanted, intrusive Flash Ads. There are pages that offer content I can't get anywhere else, and they try to do the sneaky thing of running Flash the moment I click anywhere on the page. The Flash program opens up another window or tab with Ad content. Of course, since plugins are click-to-run by default for me, I just end up with a giant grey "click-to-run" thing popping up on my screen every 4-5 pages I browse. By blacklisting that site, I seem to have prevented this altogether.

  3. Marcus
    October 5, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Hi man, this DOESN'T WORK. It works on some videos. But like when I search for a video in youtube, then click on it, it auto loads and begins playing. This sucks because when I save tabs I have like 100 videos open and THEY ALL START playing, it's mayhem and crashes my comp. I even disabled the autoplay flash in the chromse settings; no go.

    • Ben
      February 24, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      It does work. Youtube uses HTML5 not Flash. There are tricks to force Youtube to use Flash.

    • Saikat
      February 25, 2015 at 3:54 am

      The easiest way probably is to use the Disable Youtube™ HTML5 Player browser extension. Available on both Chrome and FF.

  4. Lee
    September 5, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Why are you trying to plug your own site? Disabling Flash plug-in is the most basic, and is covered by the author in this article itself. Do you understand what the author is trying to say - this article is for more granular control of flash ads. You are an opportunistic space & time waster.

  5. Roman
    July 10, 2013 at 6:03 am
  6. macwitty
    April 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    One of the fist thing I install. Flash on a Mac is not the best combination if you not like the noise of the fan.

  7. Nevzat A
    April 9, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Besides an annoying behaviour, Flash videos generally cause Browser hangs, freezes and overall slowness. It's good to have such options to control it.

    For Firefox addicts like me, we have "FlashBlock" extension : [NO LONGER AVAILABLE]

  8. Subrato saha
    April 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Thank you so much. Your article is so much important for everybody.
    Hope you will give more such important articles for us.
    Again thank you.