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How to install Flash Player on Firefox Portable or Opera-USB

UPDATE because quite a few people still seem to land on this page: a current portable version of Flash is available in the Flash category (usually it’s the top post, sometimes it might be a little bit below). The XPI is only presented for illustration purpose, it’s totally outdated otherwise!

For a shorter/faster version lacking details, see the Quick Guide at the bottom of this post.

Firefox Portable, published by, is a version of Firefox specially designed to be run from the folder where it is, without requiring an installation. This means that it can be used without administrative privileges and from a removable media like a USB key. So in More tips to freedom on a restricted computer environment I presented it as the way to install Firefox on a restricted computer. Opera-USB is the equivalent thing for Opera (except that since Opera isn’t free software it wasn’t made portable by PortableApps).
Leaving aside the connection configuration issues that were dealt with in the above-mentioned post, there is another problem with restricted computers: you can’t install plugins like Flash or Java. I didn’t study the Java case yet. But as for Flash, Firefox will use the installed Flash player if: 1. there is one and 2. the one installed is the generic version (i.e., multibrowser) and not the MSIE-only version. Which means that on a classic restricted computer happily limited to MSIE 6, Firefox Portable will most likely not be able to use the installed Flash player.
I found 2 ways to solve this problem:

Solution 1: the XPI

Adobe published a special version for Firefox, which is supposed to install like any other extension (aka now add-on). It turns out that the XPI fails to install. But, you can download it manually (for this you’ll need to right-click the following link and choose “save as”:, unpack it (with any archiver supporting zip, i.e. you can do it with Windows if you change the file extension from .xpi to .zip), grab flashplayer.xpt and NPSWF32.dll and place them into the plug-in folder of Firefox Portable (in Data/plugins). Restart Firefox and voilà. For Opera-USB, the plug-in folder is program/plugins.
This method works and is quick and easy. The only problem is: Adobe doesn’t seem to update their XPI as often as they update the executable installer. This results in an outdated and thus insecure plug-in. As I’m writing, the version of the XPI is (17 July 2009) while the current version is

Solution 2: hacking the exe

Thanks to an article on eHow, I found this promising software called Universal Extractor (NB: it exists in a portable version). This free program, released under the GNU GPL v2, was designed to extract files from any type of archive or installer. It was suggested on eHow to use it to manually unpack the Flash installer, then grab the files as mentioned above about the XPI. Thus I downloaded the generic installer here (direct link), but when I tried to extract it with Universal Extractor it failed. I tried my luck with a 10.1 release candidate (RC4) from Adobe Labs, but it was not much better (it succeeding in extracting the files, but they all had strange names thus I couldn’t find the proper files, plus I thought they might be damaged anyway).
So, this leaves me with only two choices: grab the files from my home installation or grab the files from a site I consider safe to trust. For now I chose the second option. I came across a blog hosted by Opera Community, Tamil. They posted an up-to-date version of NPSWF32.dll. For Opera-USB, this is enough. For Firefox Portable, use this file along with flashplayer.xpt from the XPI. Restart your browser, then check your Flash installation.

Edit: at my home Flash installation, the Flash files (version from my Opera plugins folder have the following MD5 checksums:
NPSWF32.dll: f8efdcfc440a420d6c1ecd245ab20207 (size: 3884312 bytes)
flashplayer.xpt: a81fd3b03b8c6d6e5a14298110718d3f (size: 856 bytes)
I compared NPSWF32.dll’s checksum to the one at Tamil’s, it’s the same.

Sources and versions

While dealing with this $#!t I found the following more or less useful pages

I did those things to Firefox Portable 3.6.3 and Opera@USB 10.53 on Windows XP SP2. The Flash versions I tried were, and 10.1rc4. No registry key was hurt in the process, no CPU burnt and no hard drive failed despite the massive use of swap due to the ludicrous 512 MiB of installed RAM.

Quick guide (updated for Flash 11.1)

  1. download NPSWF32.dll and flashplayer.xpt
  2. save those files in Data/plugins (Firefox) or program/plugins (Opera)
  3. restart your browser, and optionally check your installation.

Update (June 1): you can also grab Flash 10.1 RC6 there.
Update (June 12): you can grab Flash 10.1 final here.
Update (22 March 2012): replaced broken MU link by a MediaFire link to version 11.1.

Posted in Adobe, Firefox, Flash, Opera, portable software.

20 Responses

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  1. chris says

    i install portable firefox on a different folder in drive c. that is not located in program files. I did not find the folder Data/plugins in the firefox portable folder in which i installed. Where can i find the Data/plugins folder?

  2. patheticcockroach says

    The paths given are relative paths, related to the folder where you installed your portable browser. So, in the folder where you installed Firefox portable (that is, the folder where “FirefoxPortable.exe” is), you have a Data folder. That’s the one. Open it and there create a plugins folder if it doesn’t exist already.

    On a side note, don’t forget that the version of Flash presented here is pretty much outdated. Check out the most recent posts in category: Flash for up-to-date versions.

  3. justin says

    how can i install flash player for portable opera in ubuntu 6.06

  4. patheticcockroach says

    Wow… That is old… I really have no idea, sorry. The Flash packaged here is only for Windows.

  5. Wesley Dev Andrew says

    If extracting the EXE package is your problem, you can try 7-zip program. I found the files NPSWF32.dll & flashplayer.xpt in “Flash player 10” . Not in “Flash player 10.1”

  6. patheticcockroach says

    Yeah but that’s a bit outdated… We’re at Flash 10.3 now, and they’re definitely not numbering their versions like Google Chrome 😀

  7. Felix says

    How it works in Firefox 6 or newer?
    Both Files are in the plugin-folder but it did not work!

  8. patheticcockroach says

    Are you sure you’re in the Data/plugins folder?

  9. Felix says

    Yes i’m!

  10. patheticcockroach says

    I just tested (with Firefox Portable 7.0.1), that’s still the right folder. Note that you should find a “plugins_readme.txt” file already in that folder.

  11. Felix says

    You can test any Video from (Homewshopping) they don’t work with any portable Firefox-Version.
    If you can play any of this qvc-videos please say me how and i will test it again.

  12. patheticcockroach says

    I don’t speak the language of this site, so I’m a little lost there… Still I managed to find their “LiveTV”, it’s in Flash indeed, and it works for me.
    To see if Flash works for you, better just check your Flash version on there:

  13. Felix says

    And i’m not good in english. 😉
    Not LiveTV!

    I hope the Link works, if not use the number in the searchfield to find the product – for example the number is 467787.
    Then go to “TV-Präsentation” (you find the Link under the picture).
    A new window will open but not play the video.

    Thanks for help!

  14. patheticcockroach says

    Ah ok, I found a “TV Präsentation”. This doesn’t require Flash but the Windows Media Player plugin… Don’t know if a portable version of this exists…

  15. Felix says

    Hmm, i tested the “Windows Media”-Link on the site and i hear the music – i see the wmp too.
    But on i can’t play the video (i don’t see and hear anything). 🙁

  16. Felix says

    The next test are running:

    I don’t know what i can do (for videos)…. 🙁

  17. Sgr says

    or u can grab this: gcswf32.dll from \PortableApps\GoogleChromePortable\App\Chrome-bin\18.0.1025.162\gcswf32.dll rename to NPSWF32.dll and place it here : \PortableApps\FirefoxPortable\Data\plugins that’s it.

  18. patheticcockroach says

    Nice alternative indeed! 🙂 (although as far as I know it won’t provide the 64 bits version)

  19. Anonymous says

    Thank you!

  20. Anonymous says

    yeeha!!! thanks. helps a lot!!!

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