Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fixing Flash problems in IE7

I've had this for a while, some of the Flash content on the BBC website wouldn't play (although this is better than the problems I had with their previous Real Player content which always seemed to kill my wireless router). I was told my version of Flash wasn't up to date. Re-installing Flash didn't make any difference and following the suggestions here didn't help either.

So I decided to have a closer inspection. I had a hunch it may have something to do with my user agent string, since Flash content worked in some places (including the BBC iPlayer, go figure). So I checked my user agent using the following HTML page

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" >
    <title>Untitled Page</title>
<body onload="javascript:alert(navigator.userAgent)">


Weirdly this showed my browser as IE6... Which was odd. Searching a bit further I came across this Microsoft article on user agent strings. BTW, the suggestion to type javascript:alert(navigator.userAgent) into the address bar didn't work for me, my guess is this was a security hole waiting for an exploit so has been disabled. Anyway I had a look in my registry to see what was happening and it turned out I had a registry key under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform. Part of it pointed to bsalsa.com. I guess I must have installed some of their stuff some time ago though lord knows why they need to fiddle with user agent strings.

Anyway, after deleting this registry key and a restart of IE my user agent string returned to something more sensible and BBC Flash content suddenly sprang into life. Not only that but I can now login into my Fidelity account as well, although that's not necessarily such a good thing given the current state of the stock market.

Update - Hmm, the registry entry has re-appeared, so one of the apps I use quite regularly is writing to that spot in the registry. Next step is to figure out which app it is...

Update 2 - Looks like PHPEdit was responsible, an app written in Delphi which presumably uses one of the components that come from bsalsa.com. I guess any programs using the component may cause the same problem. Getting the latest build from their website fixed the problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. This was exactly my problem and had been frustrating me for weeks.

I dont even know what the bsala stuff was, but I had 2 entries in my registry.

All working now ... just in time to watch the tennis on BBC :)