Windows 8 Challenges with Patching Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash Player v10 iconWindows 8 and Flash are making strange bedfellows. 

Any company that is using Windows 8 is almost certainly still using Windows 7 (or earlier). Supporting multiple versions of Windows can be daunting enough but with Microsoft’s decision to patch Flash for IE via it’s Windows updates, running both Win8 and Win7 can cause some additional challenges. (Note that Microsoft has only taken over Flash on Windows 8. Flash updates for earlier versions of IE or other browsers such as Chrome and Firefox are still provided from Adobe)

Usually a sys admin hears about a new version of Flash Player and he/she simply obtain the update from the PDQ Deploy Package Library and deploy it to their computers. Done. They check it off their list and move on to some other must-be-done-now-or-you’ll-be-fired task. But with Flash and Windows 8, it’s now a multi-step process, and quite often, a process that isn’t finished in a single day. One option is to just apply the Flash updates to your computers and then wait for WSUS to take care of Windows 8.

Since Adobe and Microsoft are not on the same release schedule, a critical patch provided by Adobe may not make it into the MS patching schedule for several weeks

You may deploy patches to your Windows XP/Vista/7 systems and then patiently (or impatiently) wait for MS to release the version for Windows 8 and IE 10. 

This has a multi-platform feel to it that many SMB’s may not be used to. Afterall, if your business decides to have Linux/Windows/Mac systems, then you are already used to different releases, different vulnerabilities, different… everything. 

As long as you are sticking with Windows 7 and moving gradually to Windows 8, just be aware that you will likely be doing Flash updates on different schedules. 

For our part, we’ll keep the Package Library as up to date as we can. You’ll likely notice Flash for pre-Win8 will be out sooner than its counterpart. As an example, we made the IE and Plugin packages for Flash 11.5.502.135 available last week. We are still waiting to obtain the Flash Update for Windows 8 (11.3.377.15). Once we have that we will add it to the Library.