Registry Hack for Flash in Win RT

One of the measures Microsoft has taken to improve security in Windows RT is to only play Flash content from sites on their Compatibility View (CV) list. Over time, I doubt this will be much of an issue as more and more sites are moving to HTML 5 and away from Flash, but it causes some pain now because there are sites I want to use that haven’t found their way onto Microsoft’s list.

Let’s ignore the problem with other sites for a moment and focus on a different problem. What if you’re a Flash developer, and you want to get your application approved by Microsoft and onto the CV list? You need a way to test your application, right? Microsoft has published an article about a registry entry that will override the CV requirement for a single domain.

The short version is that you just need to add the domain to the following registry value:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Flash\DebugDomain]

The article adds some important notes about the value to enter:

  • Direct URLs to a page or resource are not supported (for example, contoso.com/xyz). Any value containing ‘/’ is not supported, including: http:// (or https://).
  • Do not use “www.” prefix, which is stripped (for example, http://www.movies.yahoo.com loads as http://movies.yahoo.com).
  • Only a single domain is supported.

So, using this same trick intended for developers, we can override the restriction for individual sites. I tried this out on my Surface RT with a site that I had problems with previously, and it worked like a champ. Here’s the step-by-step version of what I did:

  1. Go to Desktop Mode
  2. Open a Run prompt by pressing Windows key + R
  3. Run “regedit”
  4. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer
  5. Right-click Internet Explorer and choose New > Key; name the new key “Flash
  6. Right-click Flash and choose New > String Value; name the new value “DebugDomain
  7. Double-click DebugDomain and enter the domain; I used “digital.olivesoftware.com”
  8. Close Registry Editor
  9. Open Internet Explorer, browse to the site, and enjoy Flash content!

This works great, but it’s annoying that you can only do one domain at a time. An idea for making this slightly less painful is to export the Flash registry key to create shortcuts. To do this, right-click “Flash” in Registry Editor and choose Export. You’ll be prompted to save the key to a file, and you can update the key by double-clicking the file that is created. Using this method, you can create several shortcuts for sites that you visit frequently. It’s obviously not ideal to need to update your registry before browsing to a site, but, hey, it’s better than not being able to use your favorite sites, right!?

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