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, Any value containing ‘/’ is not supported, including: http:// (or https://).
  • Do not use “www.” prefix, which is stripped (for example, loads as
  • 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 “”
  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!?


Watch CNN on Surface

I’m bizarrely addicted to watching CNN in the mornings. It’s part of my routine. I can’t function without it. Recently, in an effort to become healthier, I invested in a treadmill. My thought was that all of my CNN time in the morning could just as easily be spent on a treadmill–two birds, one stone, right?

Not so fast, my friend.

The problem I ran into was that I couldn’t hear the TV unless I cranked the volume up to 70. This is a solution, but I don’t like it. I don’t want to keep the volume maxed out on the TV. My next thought was wireless headphones. Good thought, but I don’t have any. I also wasn’t excited about potentially having to switch between audio modes on the TV, having to possibly introduce a stereo receiver, or any other audio shenanigans.

So then I had another good thought: I’ll just stream CNN through their website on my phone! I couldn’t get it to work. Okay, I’ll use my wife’s iPad to do it, then! I couldn’t get it to work. Oh, well. I guess I’ll just watch Netflix on the treadmill.

Several weeks later…

“Oh, yay! My Surface is here! Wait a minute, this thing’s got IE10 and Flash–surely it will be able to stream CNN from their website!!”

Guess what? It didn’t work. Not right away, anyway. With some tinkering, I was able to actually get it working, though! I don’t love the solution because it’s way more than a casual user would ever think to try, but I’m still happy to have it.

There are three things that I did to get it working:

  1. Run IE from Desktop Mode. I’m not sure why this is necessary, but it works in desktop mode and not in tablet mode. If you know the solution to this, I’d love to hear it. But for now, I’ll just flip to Desktop Mode and run a shortcut from the desktop. (Additionally, I wasn’t able to figure out how to access the Trusted Site list from tablet mode, which is needed for the next two items…)
  2. Add to the list of trusted sites. This is what I thought would solve the problem. I thought that for sure the issue was just that CNN wasn’t able to save whatever authentication cookies needed to be saved. However, after adding to the list, the page got stuck in an authentication loop where the page would just keep refreshing and asking my to choose my provider.
  3. Add to the list of trusted sites. This was the key. It appears that the authentication is routed through, and a cookie is expected when you get back. The cookie was being blocked, and that’s why I was then asked to authenticate again.

CNN streaming on Surface

There was a fourth thing, but it was a little different. I wasn’t able to scroll the list of available programming. I was able to fix that by zooming out with Ctrl + -. Like the rest of my solution, it wasn’t ideal, but it worked.

So, at the end of the day, I had what I wanted. I can stream CNN live from my Surface, and I can use headphones to hear what’s going on over the wirrr of the treadmill. I guess I need to find a new excuse to avoid working out in the morning.

%d bloggers like this: