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My Flash movie crashed their computers


4:22 pm on Mar 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have had a report that after I had added a flash movie to the home page of our site, it crashed all the computers in a lab where they still had version 6 of the flash player installed.

This is strange as I already had another flash movie on there which had not done this. The new one did use some code I got from the internet to create a visual effect - could this have been the root of the problem?

The lab has since updated their flash player and the problem is now fixed. I'm just wondering if this is something I need to worry about? I don't want this to happen to other people visiting my site, how can I make sure it doesn't happen?

2:05 am on Mar 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Most likely it didn't crash the computer, but it's entirely likely the Flash froze the browser, which could have sucked up the computer memory giving the impression of a computer crash. I've had this happen on stupid coding mistakes. To quote the cliche, "my bad."

My first guess is just that, an infinite loop or memory intensive process could have brought this about. The help files have a lot to say about optimizing memory - a Flash with lots of blends and transparencies can eat up memory very quickly. Sloppy coding can do it as well. For example, if you were to create a slide show that creates objects on the fly, and doesn't completely destroy unused/invisible objects, the Flash will run slower and slower until it freezes the browser. Again . . . sadly . . . from experience.

But in your case, since you said updating the Flash fixed it, it's most likely something being used by a later version that's not supported in older versions - for example, ActionScript 3.0 played on a player that only supports ActionScript 2.0. Ordinarily it just won't "work," but it's entirely possible it was trying to and encountered some method that wasn't supported.

This being the case, you might do a Flash version test before displaying the Flash. That is, with SWFObject or even home-grown Javascript, determine the Flash player version at the client, and if it's an old version display the update link instead of playing the SWF.

3:03 pm on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Cheers for the reply rocknbil. I guess I probably need to learn more about the Flash version test thing and do that in future.

I think in the meantime I will remove the suspect code I got from the internet and just put up a simpler movie!

2:47 am on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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yes, add something like this in your first frame of your flash movie, if the client flash player was older then 8 redirect them to update message....

var FLASH_VER = getVersion().split(" ");
FLASH_VER = FLASH_VER[1].split(",");

if(FLASH_VER[0] < 8)
_root.gotoAndStop(20); //Display update flashplayer link for example...