How to deploy mms.cfg config file to your Adobe Flash Player clients?

You have just downloaded the Adobe Flash Player distributable, created an mms.cfg configure file and you want to push it out to your network. You might be scratching your head on how to do this if you don’t have an enterprise software deployment solution?

Don’t worry – there is no need for that – all you need is Group Policy Preferences to push out your mms.cfg config file to your clients!The mms.cfg file details are as follows:

Item Details
Filename mms.cfg
Encoding UTF-8 or UTF-16
Reference: Flash Player 11.2 Admin Guide – Page 22
Contents 28 different options under version 11.2
Refer to Flash Player 11.2 Admin Guide – Page 22
Windows 32-Bit %systemroot%\System32\Macromed\Flash
Windows 64-Bit %systemroot%\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash

With Group Policy Preferences, I copy the files to the folder if the folder ‘Flash’ exists in any of the locations it looks at. If for some reason Flash is not installed or an older version is present it wont cause any problems. If any configuration settings are present but not known to Flash, it will simply be ignored by the program. Here are the specific details:

STEPS – Flash 11 32Bit ONLY:

  1. Open you Adobe Flash Group Policy object. Expand Computer Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Files
  2. Right click -> New -> File
  3. On the General tab set:
    1. Action = Create *
    2. Source file(s) = \\Domain.local\DFS\Install\AdobeFlash\mms.cfg (example)
    3. Destination = %WindowsDir%\System32\Macromed\Flash\mms.cfg
    4. Attributes = Archive
  4. On the Common tab set:
    1. Apply once and do not reapply = Ticked
      You can untick this if you need to change some configuration settings, then tick it after a period of time to improve logon performance.
    2. Item-level targeting = ticked
    3. Item-Level targeting conditions:
      Folder does exist = %WindowsDir%\System32\Macromed\Flash
    4. Description = “mms.cfg deployment to native OS”

STEPS – Flash 11 64Bit:

For Flash 11 on 64 Bit you need to deploy 2 files, because it installs 2 versions of the same flash, to support both 32 and 64-Bit.

FILE 1:

  1. Open you Adobe Flash Group Policy object. Expand Computer Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Files
  2. Right click -> New -> File
  3. On the General tab set:
    1. Action = Create *
    2. Source file(s) = \\Domain.local\DFS\Install\AdobeFlash\mms.cfg (example)
    3. Destination = %WindowsDir%\System32\Macromed\Flash\mms.cfg
    4. Attributes = Archive
  4. On the Common tab set:
    1. Apply once and do not reapply = Ticked
      You can untick this if you need to change some configuration settings, then tick it after a period of time to improve logon performance.
    2. Item-level targeting = ticked
    3. Item-Level targeting conditions:
      Folder does exist = %WindowsDir%\System32\Macromed\Flash
    4. Description = “mms.cfg deployment to native OS”

FILE 2:

  1. Open you Adobe Flash Group Policy object. Expand Computer Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Files
  2. Right click -> New -> File
  3. On the General tab set:
    1. Action = Create *
    2. Source file(s) = \\Domain.local\DFS\Install\AdobeFlash\mms.cfg (example)
    3. Destination = %WindowsDir%\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash\mms.cfg
      Note the difference for 32Bit Flash to 64Bit OS version.
    4. Attributes = Archive
  4. On the Common tab set:
    1. Apply once and do not reapply = Ticked
      You can untick this if you need to change some configuration settings, then tick it after a period of time to improve logon performance.
    2. Item-level targeting = ticked
    3. Item-Level targeting conditions:
      Folder does exist – %WindowsDir%\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash
      Description = “mms.cfg deployment to 64-Bit architecture for 32-Bit Flash”

The final view should look something like this:

Footnotes:

* If you select Create, the policy will only work if there is no file to begin with. If it already exists then no action will be taken. If you use Replace it then means you can update the file and it will redistribute regardless of whether the file is there or not.

Important Links

Adobe Flash Player Administration Guide for Flash Player
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/articles/flash_player_admin_guide.html
Contains detailed information on mms.cfg configuration options.

Adobe link for Enterprise deployment
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/enterprise_deployment.html
Did not find a lot of this information useful however its an official resource.

%WindowsDir%

Automatic updates management in Flash Player 11

http://forums.adobe.com/message/3980758

Feedback

If there is anything that needs more clarification/further explanation please leave a comment. Through your comments I can try and make this article as complete as possible.

Leave a comment ?

14 Comments.

  1. Remeber to use %WinDir% and not %WindowsDir% when creating this!

    • Hi Alex,

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      Regarding the syntax, what I originally entered is correct, and in fact the preferred syntax to use in Group Policy Preferences. Although Group Policy Preferences (GPP) does use the system variables of each client machine the GPP has its own set of variables that they prefer you use. From memory it had something to do with both performance and error handling. The list of syntax used within GPP can be found here:
      http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753915.aspx

      So in summary, %WindowsDir% is a GPP environment variable and %windir$ is a Windows variable. They both redirect to the active Windows directory and both are supported in GPP.

      Hope that helps,
      Ivan

  2. Thanks Ivan! I tried using %WindowsDir% but it wouldn’t work, will look into this again…

  3. Michael Curtis

    Hi Ivan,

    Excellent set of blog posts on this. I have successfully rolled out Flash 223 to 64 and 32 bit machines. The MMS installed fine on 32 bit machines, but not 64 bit for some reason. I have noticed that the 64 bit version already has an MMS file, but not one I pushed out.

    I was thinking about breaking out the MMS Group Policy so I could update it without having to push out the whole of Flash again. If for some reason I had to turn off auto update I could just republish that Group Policy.

    He is are my settings

    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/262417/gp.png

    Can you see the error?

    Best wishes

    Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      What action have you used for the files?

      Actions
      This type of preference item provides a choice of four actions: Create, Replace, Update, and Delete. The behavior of the preference item varies with the action selected and whether the file already exists.

      Create
      Copy a file (or multiple files in one folder) from a source location to a destination location if it does not already exist at the destination, and then configure the attributes of those files for computers or users.

      Delete
      Remove a file (or multiple files in one folder) for computers or users.

      Replace
      Delete a file (or multiple files in one folder), replace it with another file or files, and configure the attributes of those files for computers or users. The net result of the Replace action is to overwrite the files at the destination location. If the file does not exist at the destination, then the Replace action copies the file from the source location to the destination.

      Update
      Modify settings of an existing file (or multiple files in one folder) for computers or users. This action differs from Replace in that it only updates file attributes defined within the preference item. All other file attributes remain as configured on the file. If the file does not exist, then the Update action copies the file from the source location to the destination.

      I used create from the beginning and know that my clients did not have the config file previously. After the rollout to the new version of Adobe Flash 11.2 started, I changed it from Create to Update so it would reconfigure it on the clients. I could have chosen Replace as well.

      If you want the ability to turn off the auto-update there are a couple of ways to do it. Use Replace for the GPP Files, turn off IIS on your internal distribution server so clients cant contact the server or block the external URL to the XML file at adobe website through your proxy/firewall server. Note – they should be temporary measures.

      Cheers,
      Ivan

  4. Michael Curtis

    Hi Ivan,

    I used Create for both 32 and 64 bit. I have used Apply once and do not reapply. Should I change it to replace?

    Best wishes

    Michael

  5. Noticed you recommend on 64 bit putting mms in
    %WindowsDir%\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash\mms.cfg
    but adobe’s site says it is
    %WindowsDir%\SysWOW64
    see
    http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/administration-configure-auto-update-notification.html

    Your setting seems more sensible, but do you know which is correct?

    • Ho George,

      What can I say… Adobe are wrong, I am right. :)
      They must have put a syntax typo in, surprisingly easy to do.

      I have tested this myself and it works.
      Ivan

    • If you are deploying “”Flash Player 8 or later””, store the mms.cfg file in the following location depending on the operating system:

      Windows NT, 2000 — C:\WINNT\System32\Macromed\Flash
      Windows XP, Vista — C:\WINDOWS\System32\Macromed\Flash
      Windows 95, 98, or ME — C:\Windows\System\Macromed\Flash
      Windows 64 bit — C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash
      Macintosh — /Mac HD/Library/Application Support/Macromedia

      For player versions “”earlier than Flash Player 8″”, store the mms.cfg file in the following location depending on the operating system:

      Windows NT, 2000–C:\WINNT\System32
      Windows XP, Vista– C:\WINDOWS\System32
      Windows 95, 98, or ME–C:\Windows\System
      Windows 64 bit — C:\Windows\SysWOW64
      Macintosh– /Application Support/Macromedia

  6. Guys! Don’t forget about read permissions for your domain computers on folder where the config file is located ))) I spent a lot of time to solving the problem when my computers wasn’t be able to read the config file.

    • Hi Rinat,
      Yes you are right – If you are referring to deploying the mms.cfg file to the clients using GPP, then yes you will need either Domain Computers, or Authenticated Users permissions to access the file. This is required for pretty much all GPO\GPP deployments (in fact most remote system deployments)
      As for the C:\windows\System32\Macromed\Flash folder on the clients, it needs to have full permissions to SYSTEM for it to work properly.
      Cheers,
      Ivan

  7. Hey, this worked great for me, thanks Ivan! In my situation, I found that it worked better for me to use “Replace” instead of “Create,” because if the file already existed then the policy was essentially useless. By using “Replace,” it overwrote any previous file, and it created a new one if the file didn’t exist in the first place. But again, great job with this – Thank You!

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