This new-fangled internet thing is just too Flashy for me!
August 18, 2009 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Firefox / Flash-filter: Currently, I'm running one of the last versions of Firefox 2.0 (2.0.0.20). I haven't upgraded to 3 yet, but I think I'm just about ready (well, YouTube is forcing me). I have a few concerns before I do...

Okay, so my computer OS is old (Windows 2000), and I'm not planning on upgrading until I buy a new computer. My internet connection is a very slooow dial-up. As I said above, I use Firefox 2.0.0.20 for 75% of my internet browsing. I have the bare minimum installed on it so as not to weigh it down any more than it already is. I don't have Flash installed for Firefox, and, to be honest, I don't want it. There are very few websites I go to that use Flash for anything other than ads and other junk I don't want to see. I don't feel I'm missing out at all. I really don't want to install Flash and then install all the Flash and ad-blocking extensions. I just really don't want it on my Firefox period.

The only site I go to regularly that requires Flash is YouTube, and I go there daily using IE6 (the other 25% of my internet browsing). I never upgraded my IE, but now there's a little banner on YT threatening that they're not going to support IE6 any longer. Either I have to update to IE..8?, Google Chrome, or the latest Firefox. I really like having two separate browsers: one without Flash so that I can do my regular browsing as painlessly as possible and the other only going to YouTube, basically. So, I decided to check out Chrome, but I learned that both Chrome and IE8 only support WinXP+. Firefox 3.x is the only browser that still supports my OS.

Alright, if you're still reading, here's my question.
A) (My #1 choice) Would it be possible to have both the un-Flash-y Firefox I'm using now (2.0.0.20) (NO FLASH INSTALLED) AND the newest version of Firefox (which WOULD have Flash installed) (which I would use primarily for YouTube) on the same computer.. at the same time? If so, how (Keep in mind that I'm a MORON when it comes to technology. Please use SIMPLE, detailed explanations.)? To clarify, I want something like two icons on my desktop: one for FF2 (no Flash) and one for FF3 (with Flash) and to be able to have them running at the same time.
B) (My #2 choice.. I think) If Option A is impossible, it looks like I have to upgrade FF and install Flash. Would it be possible to have two ... profiles (is that what they're called in Firefox): one that HAS Flash and one that DOESN'T have Flash installed?? Possible or no? If so, once again, how? And how would I switch between the two? Could I have both profiles running at once, or do I have to choose (if this is even possible)? Once again, I'd want one profile that has no Flash installed and one that has it installed.
C) (My absolute LAST choice) If I really have to suck it up and install the newest Firefox as my sole browser AND I have to choose completely between having Flash and not (so basically, if I'm forced to upgrade and install Flash), what extensions are most recommended so that I have total control over what my browser displays? And I only want it to display YouTube videos on the YouTube website. I don't want to see anything else basically (Flash-wise, I mean). This is my LAST choice option, so this is what I'll do ONLY if I have absolutely no other choice.

Anyway, if you've read this entire thing, bless you and thank you in advance for your patient responses. I've made this anonymous because I have too many stupid tech questions to my name already. And I kind of think that I don't get good results because people are just like, 'sheesh, it's this idiot again!' I will pop in later today, and I will respond to comments/questions. Thanks again!
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Sheesh, it's this idiot again!

You should be able to install a newer version of Firefox separately. Make sure when the installer is running that you install it in a different location. You may also have to set up a different profile with Firefox 3, since it may default to using the same profile as your Firefox 2 installation does. Start > Run > "C:/New/Firefox/Location/firefox.exe -p" to open the Profile Manager and set up a new profile.

Now that you have two distinct Firefox installations, install Flash. It will probably be applied to all of your browsers.

Finally, open Firefox 2 and install this addon which will block Flash in your web browsing with FF 2.
posted by jgunsch at 7:23 AM on August 18, 2009


You should be able to get accomplish A using portable firefox (wiki). You could have a regular firefox and a portable firefox or two portable firefoxes. You'd have to play around with them to see which works better with and without flash.

You should be able to do B using this set of instructions. As far as I know you should be able to have two profiles, one with and one without flash.
posted by oddman at 7:29 AM on August 18, 2009


You say you don't want to install lots of extensions, but why not just install the one, NoScript? This will block Flash on everything apart from sites you whitelist. Whitelist YouTube, disable the blocking notifications, and away you go. (I've not used Flashblock, so I don't know if that has a whitelist feature or not. If so, you might be better off with that).

I know you didn't want Flash installed at all, but I do think it's a far more elegant way of achieving the result you want without trying to mess around with profiles or multiple browsers, especially as I don't think you'll be able to have two versions of Firefox open with two different profiles at the same time (I could be wrong about this, though).
posted by chorltonmeateater at 7:48 AM on August 18, 2009


Upgrading to the latest version of Firefox is a good thing to do. It's more secure and includes all the latest bug fixes. Upgrading to Firefox 3 does not mean you need to install Flash. That's an entirely separate thing.

I would recommend going ahead with the upgrade, solely because of the security improvements. Handle Flash by installing the Flash plug-in, but as jgunsch mentions, also install a flash blocker. This means you'll see place-holders in pages where Flash elements would normally automatically load. Clicking one would load it, but otherwise it isn't downloaded, doesn't slow the page down, and acts just like you didn't have Flash installed.
posted by odinsdream at 7:54 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree with odinsdream, go forth with the upgrade and then install flash. Then install the add-on Flashblock. Just whitelist youtube and it will be like you have a separate browser for youtube. I also recommend Adblock Plus to help block all the ads the suck bandwidth.
posted by DJWeezy at 8:19 AM on August 18, 2009


Yes, just install Flashblock and be done with it. :-)
posted by Silvertree at 11:06 AM on August 18, 2009


You probably want the 3.5.x version, actually, and install Flashblock and Adblock Plus, as others have mentioned. Better performance.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:23 PM on August 18, 2009


Sheesh! Ha ha, okay I see jgunsch recognized me anyway! Kidding.. Anyway, I'm the OP. And, despite my predilection for options A or B... everyone made option C almost seem palatable. So, I think I'm going to scrounge together the advice from chorltonmeateater, odinsdream, DJWeezy, Silvertree, AND stavrosthewonderchicken and get the latest version and add the extensions. I wasn't absolutely clear that the extensions were as simple and effective as you've made them seem. Really, I can block EVERYTHING except YouTube? And for every other site there will be placeholders that I can click on if I do decide I want one particular element to load? And if I go with a mixture of NoScript, Flashblock, and Adblock Plus there won't be TOO much crap that will pass through undetected? It really won't slow my connection down too much?

If so, I think that IS what I'm going to do (much to my surprise)! However, thank you to jgunsch and oddman for the alternative options because I am going to keep them in mind in case I realize I've made a huge mistake. I think (I hope) this will work out much better than I ever anticipated. Thank you all so much!!
posted by Mael Oui at 9:38 PM on August 18, 2009


Mael Oui: That's correct. AdBlock alone will save you lots of headaches, and may be enough for your needs. It will block ads of all types, whether they're Flash or just regular images. If you install FlashBlock, it will block all flash elements regardless of what they are, and clicking on them will activate each one individually.
posted by odinsdream at 8:52 AM on August 19, 2009


Excellent! Thank you again for making Option C seem more doable than I expected! This'll be my weekend project.
posted by Mael Oui at 7:58 PM on August 19, 2009


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