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How to completely disable Flash Shared Objects

Macromedia Flash has its own cookielike functionality under the hood, which are being used more and more often by advertising companies to track usage. Although cookie tracking is well understood by most web users, Flash Shared Objects (henceforth: FSOs) are not. As they are internal to the Flash Player application, cookie blockers and browser settings have no control over them.

There is functionality in the flash player itself to disable FSOs in general or on a site-by-site basis, but most users never touch these settings. Two links on the 'proper' way to accomplish this are here and here. I just wanted a way to toggle this behavior on and off, however. Thusly, a batch file was born:


@echo off

REM - This batch file uses (abuses?) the fact that under windows, you cannot have a file
REM - and directory in the same location with the same name to prevent MacroMedia Flash from
REM - reconstructing its "Shared Object" repository.

REM - There is some faculty inside of Flash itself to enable/disable storage on your local
REM - system, but why trust them, eh?

REM - Running this script the first time should disable Flash Shared objects.  Running it a
REM - second time will re-enable them.

REM - Use at your own risk, eh?

REM - This batch file lives at http://www.elifulkerson.com

cd %appdata%
cd Macromedia

IF EXIST "Flash Player.disabled" (
   del "Flash Player"
   rename "Flash Player.disabled" "Flash Player"

   echo Flash Shared Objects are now ENABLED

) ELSE (

   rename "Flash Player" "Flash Player.disabled"
   echo DISABLED > "Flash Player"

   echo Flash Shared Objects are now DISABLED


)
echo -
echo -
cd \
PAUSE

This batch file, when first run, moves the existing FSO store to a location where the Flash Player cannot find it, then creates a 'plug' by placing a new file in the old name so that Flash Player cannot re-create its store. When run the second time, it removes the plug and restores the original FSO store, which restores all of the saved Flash Player data. To run the batch file, download it here (or type/cut/paste it in if you are comfortable with that) and doubleclick it. (Depending on your browser, you might have to right click and 'save as' that link)