On Saturday, I started to notice that logins to the vSphere Web (Flex) Client stopped working with Google Chrome. Upon a successful logon, it would immediately crash with "Shockwave Flash has crashed" message. I had seen this message plenty of times in the past and usually restarting Chrome would resolve the problem but this time it looked to be persistent even after a system reboot.

I took to Twitter to see if I was the only one hitting this issue since I was not able to find anything on the web and literally in minutes, I had several dozen replies with folks experiencing the same issue which apparently started several days ago but like most, including myself, thought it was an isolated event.

After a bit of back/fourth and a few other folks chiming in, it looks like Google actually went and published a newer version of Flash (27.0.0.170) with latest Chrome (61.0.3163.100) update. This newer Flash version is not even available for download and the current version as listed on Adobe's website should be 27.0.0.159. This issue not only affects VMware products that uses Flash but any website that has Flash content and I had also noticed few others sharing frustrations on Twitter for other flash-based websites.

Luckily, one workaround that I had found which others have also confirmed is to switch to Firefox which currently does not have this issue Its also been reported that latest updates from Firefox is also distributing the latest Flash which causes the exact same issue. Like most, Chrome is my default browser and it was annoying that I had to switch to another browser but that was the only way I could access the content I needed. Earlier this evening, I was looking at the VMware Reddit Channel and noticed a thread had popped up regarding this exact issue and it looks like more and more folks are now noticing.

I had quickly glanced through the thread and thought there was not any new info, but then I saw an interesting comment from Reddit user theVelement who apparently found a nice workaround that would allow you to use latest version of Chrome with the vSphere Web Client. He found that if you still had the previous or even older version of Flash, you could simply delete the latest version and Chrome would function again.

Disclaimer: Be be aware that the latest version of Flash (27.0.0.170) does resolve a major 0-day security vulnerability which is outlined here and reverting its affects can put you and your organizations at risk. Please use. One potential option to mitigate the risk of reverting the Flash version is to build a single jumphost VM that contains the workaround and ensuring it does not have any outbound network connectivity and limiting its access. This can be used temporarily to manage your VMware infrastructure that requires Flash until this issue is resolved by Adobe.

UPDATE1 (10/16/2017) - It looks like you can also simply replace the new pepperflash DLL with an older version and placing it within the 27.0.0.170 folder (in case Chrome tries to update it). If you are looking for a working Windows DLL, it looks like one has been posted on one of the Chrome Issues thread here. Please be aware that the latest version of Flash (27.0.0.170)  does resolve a major 0-day security vulnerability which is outlined here and reverting its affects can put you and your organizations at risk.

UPDATE2 (10/16/2017) - For those wanting to disable the auto-update feature of Chrome, you can do so by changing the following HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update\AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes to 0. Thanks toChip Zoller for sharing this tidbit!

UPDATE3 (10/16/2017) - VMware has just published KB 2151945 outlining the Flash issue which includes workarounds for both Firefox and Chrome.

UPDATE4 (10/17/2017) - Adobe has published an update here regarding the issue and it looks like there maybe a beta release as early as next week.

UPDATE5 (10/18/2017) - Adobe has just published a new beta build of Flash which includes both the security fix as well as the fix resolving the vSphere Web Client as well as other VMware-based products that rely on Flash (e.g. vCloud Director, etc). Depending on the platform, you may need to un-install the previous version of Flash and make sure you restart your browser. I just verified on my macOS system that I can now logon to a vSphere Web (Flex) Client without issues.

UPDATE6 (10/25/2017) - Adobe just published a new Flash update 27.0.0.183 which looks to resolve the original issue. I have successfully verified this on both a macOS and Windows system. You may need to un-install the beta build if you had that installed, which you can find here.

For Windows, the path is %LocalAppData%\Google\Chrome\User Data\PepperFlash

For macOS, the path is ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome/PepperFlash

On my Windows system, I found that I only had the latest version of Flash.


However, this system does have other user accounts and quickly going through another account, I found that it had an older version of Flash 26.0.0.151 which I was able to copy pepperflash DLL to the directory and then restart Chrome and the vSphere Web Client worked again!


On my macOS system, I was lucky that it still contained the previous version 27.0.0.159 and once I copied the PepperFlashPlayer.plugin to 27.0.0.170 directory and restarted Flash, I was able to login to the vSphere Web Client.


Although this is not ideal, at least for anyone who MUST use Chrome, there is somewhat of a workaround if you can find a previous copy of Flash. In the meantime, there has been no updates from Adobe but there is now PR being tracked on Chrome's public issue tracker which you can follow here.

Huge thanks to theVelement for sharing the workaround!

77 thoughts on “"Shockwave Flash has crashed" workaround for vSphere Web (Flash) Client

    • Thanks @Matthew Bayley — that made it super easy as I didn’t have any old plug-ins laying around! Appreciate it!

    • Have tried this and it just keeps updating it to the newest version.. I’ve tried turning off updates in the registry but I have no such key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update\AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes windows 10… reading it looks like setting this to 0 or more than 77 will be ignored if you are on a domain and it needs a domain GPO to disable it… ok for here at home, but I cant edit domain policy on the corporate domain 🙁

      • Disabling Google Chrome updates is a red herring. I have Chrome 59 with updates turned off, and flash still got updated. What you actually need to do is disable Flash auto updates.
        In Windows 10 this can be done by editing the file: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash\mms.cfg
        Set the following:
        SilentAutoUpdateEnable=0
        AutoUpdateDisable=1

  1. Thank you. I also had the same exact issue. The HTML5 release with all features can’t come soon enough!

  2. When I copy the older flash, and restart Chrome…it deletes the old version folder. Is there a trick to disabling the update?

  3. There have been flash/browser/plugin issues with vSphere 6.0 all year with Chrome and IE. VMware’s work-around was to run a handful of commands resetting the client plugin cert. HTML5 isn’t fully there yet, so the ongoing joke since 5.5 is that we’re just stuck with the flash client forever, and let’s hope it doesn’t crash in the middle of something important.

  4. Also having this problem, glad I was able to find your site & post! Unfortunately in my environment I don’t have the rights to change a lot of files or control app delivery, we just get what gets pushed out and have to live with it. Gotta love continuous update cycles, aren’t they great!!!

  5. VMWare needs to get on this and bring parity to the HTML5 client. It’s unusable for those running vSAN.

  6. Grrrr. So in all the troubleshooting I’ve done, my Flash got messed up and Internet Explorer wants me to install Flash. I just downloaded it, and wouldn’t you know — it’s the new version! ?! (27.0.0.170) So I try that one…and now my IE crashes when access vSphere. Beware, the infection call “Flash 27.0.0.170” is spreading. If you try to install an older version, the installer checks and says it is an old version…and quits. Thank you Adobe. /s

  7. It is strongly advised not to undo this update; it addresses an active zero day in the wild which can elicit full remote code execution. Weigh up the benefits of accessing any sites versus being fully compromised. CVE-2017-11292 for reference, associated with APT BlackOasis.

  8. Firefox is now installing Flash plug-in 27.0.0.170, so is experiencing the same problem as first seen in Google Chrome.

  9. This worked for me:

    Disable updates: defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 0

    Time Machine restore old folder ~/Library/application support/google/chrome/PepperFlash/27.0.0.159

  10. Well apparently Firefox has jumped on the “auto-update is a good thing” bandwagon because now I can’t run it in Firefox either.

    I cannot believe that in 2017 VMware still tells us to use Flash to manage our enterprise environment. What ever happened to re-writing vSphere client in electron? Or better yet – give us back a compiled Windows/Mac/Linux desktop application.

  11. (This from a colleague of mine after I sent this ‘fix’—ok workaround—to others in my department experiencing the problem)

    Here is the rub. While backing down to a previous version of flash does remediate the issue, it leaves you vulnerable to an active zero day exploit that could prove quite nasty:
    https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/flash-player/apsb17-32.html
    https://securelist.com/blackoasis-apt-and-new-targeted-attacks-leveraging-zero-day-exploit/82732/

    • Indeed – you would certainly want to maintain a vsphere-mgmt-only browser for now, that employed this workaround. It’s not ideal.

  12. OSX: I had to remove the folder from /Users/UserNameHere/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome, copy in the ‘27.0.0.159’ folder and contents, then lock the folder from read/write otherwise Chrome would keep updating it.

  13. From my testing on MacOS, this affects all browsers running Flash Player 27.0.0.170. Folks may be seeing varying behavior such as “it doesn’t work in Chrome but works in Firefox” due to the fact that (on MacOS, for example), Chrome uses its own Google produced version of flash as a PPAPI plugin, whereas Firefox, Safari, etc. use the NPAPI installed Adobe Flash version (that on MacOS can be found in the System Prefs). I had to manually update the System version before the new version showed up in Firefox.

    In addition, vSphere 5.5 seems to work (6.0 and 6.5 (vsphere-client) crash). It has been a while since I’ve messed with Flash, but it may be that the 5.5 version is targeting a different version of APIs in the flash player, so 6.0 and 6.5 are tickling something that is causing the crash.

    Finally, I realize this is a stop-gap measure for most, but it isn’t clear at this point if Adobe/Google are even aware of this issue since it doesn’t affect all apps, and as such it is unknown when this will be fixed. 27.0.0.170 was rolled out as a patch for a zero-day exploit, so I would give a bit of pause before recommending that folks roll back the version they are running. (although with good security practices in place and most vsphere activity happening behind firewalls and via VPNs it is probably a relatively safe group). News regarding the zero-day exploit can be found here: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/adobe-patches-flash-zero-day-used-by-blackoasis-apt/ Definitely keep and eye out for a fix if you do roll back!

  14. Any VMware staff reading this should make the resolution of a reliable vSphere management tool the highest priority. We are stuck on vSphere v6 because of backup tool compatibility, but probably wouldn’t go to v6.5 as we lose the things that are better managed with the fat client (Update Manager, Profiles etc.) And the HTML5 client doesn’t even have full functionality yet. So the big spruik from VMworld that they have “one-pane” management of Azure, AWS and a VMware cloud sounds really hollow when they do not even have a reliable management tool for their core product. We have to restart the vSphere Web Client on the vSphere v6 appliance once a week. I get the impression this may be a fatal case of taking your eye off the ball in the all the cloud hype

    • I couldn’t agree more with @Grant Fisher. Though I’m not 100% sure I believe even in version 6.5 there are still some dependencies on flash. For now I use VMware Workstation 14 Pro for administration tasks.

      • There is no flash in the 6.5 vSphere *HTML* web client. 6.5 was released with a flash version (at https://vc/vsphere-client) and a regular html version (at https://vc/ui). Both run on the VC or VCSA servers simultaneously. The html client works great and is fairly snappy in my limited experience, and they put effort into making sure that there was minimal work for plugin developers to port over their plugins (*if*, that is, the developer used the HTML bridge technology that was introduced in 5.5.2). The downside, however, is that it is not yet feature complete. I *believe* that getting it to feature complete status is a high priority.

        • You can get a few more features in the HTML5 interface by running the Fling (beta) version on a separate server that points to the vCenter: https://labs.vmware.com/flings/vsphere-html5-web-client. I’ve been using it for many months against 6.0 and 6.5 vCenters. It’s not functionally complete (no update manager, alarm actions, etc.) but is ahead of the officially supported version that’s baked into 6.5. If you don’t like running beta code, even 6.5U1 is a big improvement over the one in earlier releases.

    • Seriously looking for an update from VMware! I’ve nearly bashed three laptops today trying to get this working. On Monday and Tuesday, at least I was able to use IE to access vCenter. I don’t even have that luxury now. I’m forced to use the HTML5 client…

  15. Thought I’d share my workaround here for everyone’s benefit, works on my Windows 10 desktop. For Mac OS procedure is similar.;
    Step 1.
    Go to https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions.html, scroll down to where it says;
    Flash Player archives
    Release and Content Debugger archives
    Download the;
    •(Released 10/10/2017) Flash Player 27.0.0.159 (405 MB)

    Step 2.
    Expand and extract the following three files from the 27_0_r0_159 directory, NOT the 27_0_r0_159_debug directory;
    flashplayer27_0r0_159_win.exe
    flashplayer27_0r0_159_winpep.exe
    uninstall_flashplayer27_0r0_159_win.exe

    Step 3.
    Quit all browsers (Chrome, IE, Firefox, etc.)

    Step 4.
    Run;
    uninstall_flashplayer27_0r0_159_win.exe
    and uninstall the current Flash Player from your local PC.

    Step 5.
    Disable Chrome;
    Navigate to the following location, depending your Windows version:
    32bit Windows: C:\Program Files\Google\Update
    64bit Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Update
    Explore the contents of the “Update” folder and rename the “GoogleUpdate.exe” to “DISABLED_GoogleUpdate.exe”.

    Step 6.
    Run and install;
    flashplayer27_0r0_159_winpep.exe
    To install the Flash Player browser plugin.
    Select “Never check for updates (not recommended)”

    Step 7.
    Run and install;
    flashplayer27_0r0_159_win.exe
    To install the Flash Player for your Windows OS.

    Step 8.
    Remove previous ShockWave plugin from Chrome. Navidate to;
    %LocalAppData%\Google\Chrome\User Data\PepperFlash
    Delete the 27.0.0.170 folder.

    Step 9.
    Open your Browser you wish to use to login to vSphere Web Client, enter your credentials and you should have access to the vSphere Web Client as before the Flash update.

    • I tried the fix above and it worked! But after a reboot it seemed to break again are you experiencing the same issue?

      • Hey Raj, yeah, experienced that same problem before. You have to implement Step 5. Disable Chrome auto update, of all the procedures of disabling Chrome update, the ones I documented is the only one I’ve found that worked and stick. I’ve tried registry key, scheduler task and neither worked for me, so please follow step 5 to disable Chrome update. Once you’ve done step 5, redo Step 8, I bet Chrome have already downloaded a copy of 27.0.0.170 in the %LocalAppData%\Google\Chrome\User Data\PepperFlash directory, so delete it, that is the PPAPI that is causing this crashing issue with vSphere Web Client. Once you’ve completed Step 5 and Step 8, you should be good again. The method of disabling Google Chrome update I documented above is very easily reversed either by reinstalling Google Chrome or rename the GoogleUpdate.exe back and Chrome will auto update again. So don’t reverse the Google Chrome update back until Google release a fix to the 27.0.0.170 PPAPI Flash Player, otherwise you’re gonna have that crash problem again.

    • Vincent, these steps worked great. After the updates, Chrome DID still alert saying that it had an outdated version of Flash and offered to update it, but you can bypass that option by just clicking on the “run this time” button to run with the old version which then works fine.

      Thanks for the info.

  16. Problem fixed. Chrome updates can also be disabled in scheduled tasks – my Win10 system didn’t have the reg keys above.

  17. Thanks all for the info, great stuff, but we need to get on VMware to get a flash-less adobe-less web-client going. We can blame flash all we want but we have been warned that this is going away… just saying.

  18. Same issue on windows 10 (1703) and IE 11. Uninstalling update KB4049179 (contains version 27.0.0.170) reverts flash to version 26.0.0.137. Now i can access the vsphere webgui again!

  19. I suggest following workaround:
    1. Install Chrome-portable-64bit (does not contain flashplayer) to c:\bin
    2. copy the folder from a previous flash version (e.g. 27.0.0.159) to c:\bin\GoogleChromePortable64\Data\profile\PepperFlash\
    3. create a startup.cmd with the follwing content within the c:\bin\GoogleChromePortable64
    —snip–
    .\GoogleChromePortable.exe –ppapi-flash-path=.\Data\profile\PepperFlash\27.0.0.159\pepflashplayer.dll
    —snap—
    4. start portable-Chrome with this cmd.

    That works for me. Note that this is an unsupported solution.

  20. Thanks VG! I hit this issue a number of times and also concluded that it had to be a problem, that’s what led me here. To resolve it, I had to use Microsoft Edge which does work but I don’t like using Edge, I prefer Chrome.

  21. Do we really want to push installing a version of flash with a known issue that is being actively exploited where you most likely use administrative privileges?

    Second, item, Microsoft has released the flash patch for windows and now IE is crashing.

  22. All of the browsers installed on my laptop crash…including IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera…I followed the instructions here and nada…nuh uh…nothing…

  23. Struggled with this using a WIN OS and finally realized that I had to remove/update or add the pepflashplayer.dll file provided by VMWare in 3 locations within my WIN 10 OS.

    Chrome – C:drive > Users > %name of the PC% > AppData > Local > Google > Chrome > User Data > PepperFlash > 27.0.0.170

    System 32 – C drive: > Windows > System 32 > Macromed > Flash >

    SysWOW64 – C drive: > Windows > SysWOW64 > Macromed > Flash >

    I then turned off Auto Updates for Adobe Flash Player and also disabled and stopped the Adobe Flash Player Update Service within the WIN 10 Services menu.

    Once I did this all was well…for the moment until the next crisis rears it’s ugly head! 🙂

  24. I was getting the same issue.
    – Same error in Chrome.
    – Flash would crash in Firefox.
    – Internet Explorer 11 would just crash.

    You’d never have this issue with the C# Client!

    Anywho, I installed the beta Flash Player for ActiveX and IE is working again. I’ll go through FF/Chrome now to resolve the issue.

    • Agreed! I was also able to use the Beta version to finally get Chrome operational. Sigh.

  25. The Beta version solved the issue. It also look much faster than before. Did anyone notice the same behavior?

  26. Wowwww…Its worked for me too.Downloaded Adobe from Download Flash Player for Opera and Chromium based applications – PPAPI
    Removed all the old versions and restarted MAC.Its started Working,
    Thanks for the Post.

  27. Thanks William, greatly appreciated !!! I called vMware yesterday and they were not aware of anything ! Of course, why bother with the customer’s needs. I still cannot believe vMware continues to push their miserable web https flash web application. Wake up bvMware and get your act together !

  28. For Chrome User:
    Just keep in mind to allow your installed flash (beta) to get access to the vCenter Server webclient site.
    (klick on the icon [i] infront the URL thats called “Sow website information” and click on flash -> get access to the page)

  29. I added the vsphere URL to the ALLOW list in the Chrome Flash settings. mine appears to be working with chrome now.

  30. This is how I got it back to work on the latest Windows 10 Build 1709:

    de-install: latest Security Update for Adobe Flash Player ( control panel / Programs and Features / view installed updates
    check now if vcenter will work in your browser ( I am using the latest Internet Explorer )
    to avoid that the Flash Update comes in again:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3073930/
    download wushowhide.diagcab en start it
    select hide updates, and check the box in front of the Adobe Flash Update
    done

Thanks for the comment!