Flash Headaches

OK. The basics. I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit. It's completely up to date as is Firefox - using 20.0.1. Ever since I updated to this latest version of FF, Flash has been a complete and utter nightmare and I type this after TWELVE solid hours today trying to fix the problem that's been plaguing me for about a week now.

Flash is being a total nuisance. The problem persists in other browsers too - Opera, Internet Explorer, Pale Moon and Comodo Dragon. In fact the only one I haven't tried is Chrome because I'm anti-Google. It's funny how whenever one updates Flash, Real Player and Quick Time they're eager to try and dump Chrome upon you.

I have lost count of how many times in the last week I have downloaded and reinstalled the latest version of Flash. It simply isn't funny any more. The usual pattern is, it will be installed and I go to YouTube and it works fine. Until I reboot my computer that is. Then, it's back to square one - I'm pestered to download the latest version of Flash yet again and round and round in circles I keep going.

OK. I have tried practically EVERY piece of advice that has been offered here. Honestly. Tried downgrading Firefox. Downgrading Flash. Going into safe mode. Disabling hardware acceleration in Flash and in Firefox. Altered firewall settings. Created a new profile. Disabled all plug ins. Etc etc. You name it, I have tried it.

What happens is this.

I go to YouTube and get the tedious black fuzzy screen telling me "Adobe Flash Player is required for video playback" with the "get the latest flash player" link beneath it. I click the link. Flash downloads. Installs. Great. I can watch some videos on YouTube BUT I cannot look at any flash based sites. For instance : is totally blank. (By the way, I am using NO extensions apart from Last Pass for my passwords) No animations show on Adobe's site.

When I reboot the computer that's when the misery truly kicks in. If I don't reinstall Flash then when I click on a YouTube link, the browser either hangs completely or I'll get on to the page, a black outline flickers briefly and the whole screen area is a white blank. I usually have to press CTRL-ALT+DELETE to shut Firefox down from the task manager. I never get any error messages and no crash reports show when I go to "about:crash" or whatever that option is called.

I know and am more than aware that a great many people are having similar problems with Flash. Yes, I have read through adobe forums and they're as helpful as a chocolate teapot. Followed their advice many times and the result is always the same no matter which browser I use. Even running in Firefox safe mode makes zero difference - the browser hangs dead and it's back to task manager to get out of it.

Yes, I have run virus and malware scans. Nothing. I rebooted Windows into Safe Mode and YouTube works with no problem but back in normal Windows, it's back to the tedious game I've been outlining.

I am literally at my wits end with this. Like I've said, I have tried other browsers and the problems persist. Flash always demands to be updated. Again. and again. Until last week, I've never had any real problems with Firefox. Been using it since 2005 and have no desire to change, but I can't help but get a sneaking feeling Adobe and Flash are deliberately making life as awkward as possible for non-Chrome users.

I really cannot make head or tail of this problem. System Restores have done nothing. Resetting Firefox doesn't help either. All I want to do is surf the net with none of these headaches. I've lost an entire day today wading through pages and pages of forums trying every odd little suggestion and nothing has worked. I'm reasonably computer savvy so do understand heavier things and am unafraid to tinker around and not screw up.

Fact is, Windows 7 is working fine. It is Flash that is completely screwed no matter which version I install as proved by the same headaches appearing in all the other browsers. I've also lost count of how many times I've had to reinstall RealPlayer as well.

I hope I've been as detailed as possible and will gladly answer any questions or suggestions. This is driving me insane and costing me a lot of time and energy that I cannot really afford to be losing. This is my last resort... I've reached the end of my tether with this!

Thank you in advance.

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