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why windows XP recognizes swf files as unknown files even I have installed flash player and Shockwave player ?

Posted on 2007-09-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
why windows XP recognizes swf files as unknown files even I have installed flash player and Shockwave player ?
Question by:Ameerh24
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Ashish Patel
ID: 19977966
That extension is not registered in your System File Type.
To manually do that, open explorer and then go to Tools, folder options, in File Type tab add New.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Ashish Patel
ID: 19977972
OR the shortest way is right click the swf file and then select Open With/Open and then when the program's list comes, select FlashPlayer and check ON the check box to Use this always.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 19977990
I assume when you say you have installed flash player, you have actually installed the executable (.exe) flash player and not just the plugin for IE/Firefox?
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 19978371
The main reason that *.swf isn't registered with an Open action is that it is expected to be launched from the code embedded in a web page, and rarely as a standalone downloaded *.swf file.

I created the following Right-Click option to "Open in IE" for the *.swf file type.
Copy and paste into Notepad, add 2 extra blank lines at end.  Save as eg. Flash_In_IE.txt.  Close Notepad.  Right-Click *.txt file and rename to *.reg file.  Right-Click *.reg file and choose "Merge".  Icon should change to blue "e", and "Open in IE" should be bold and at the top of the right-click menu.  In addition, it should also show on the Right-Click > Open With list.

--------- start of text to copy (DON'T copy this line) ------
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Content Type"="application/x-shockwave-flash"



@="View in IE"

@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\" \"%1\""

--------- end of text to copy (DON'T copy this line) ------


Author Comment

ID: 19980125
Phatzer, maybe you are right .. I think it's just a plug-in for IE/FF..
LVL 39

Accepted Solution

BillDL earned 2000 total points
ID: 20188766
I don't normally contest decisions or recommendations, but I am doing so now.

If any answer is to be accepted, it should be asvforce's, but I would be happy with a points split.  Phatzer asked a question to clarify something that he had some doubt about.  My follow-on comment explains asvforce's answers in a little more detail and offers a quick alternative method of adding a Right-Click menu to open saved *.swf files.

It is clear from Ameerh24's question and description that he has installed the free Macromedia (now Adobe) Flash PLAYER in just the same way as practically all computers around the globe, rather than the full retail program that allows you to CREATE Flash content.

That being the case, this IS a plugin and nothing more.  It always has been.  There is no actual program executable called to open the file in its own program interface like a multimedia file in Windows Media Player.  Instead, the file type *.swf (Shockwave Flash Object) (and another one - *.mfp - Macromedia Flash Paper) are intended to open Internet Explorer and display in that using an ActiveX Control (plugin) recognised by Internet Explorer.  It works the same way in other browsers like Firefox.   Shockwave Flash content is usually registered as an allowable content in Internet Explorer so that nothing ever prompts the user to open the file in another program, because there is none.

You can find the Internet Explorer "plugin" by searching for files named "flash*.*" and you should find the *.ocx file for the version of (Shockwave) Flash Player usually in the \Windows\System or \Windows\System32 folder in its own folder named eg. "Macromed".  Example:

If your version of Windows and Internet Explorer have the option, then the Tools > "Manage Addons ..." menu also allows you to see a list of registered ActiveX Controls and other types of plugins.

Just like any other Internet web page content (eg. the images and script files that all make up a web page), the actual Flash file (*.swf) is fetched from where it is on the Internet and temporarily stored in the user's "Temporary Internet Files" folder while loaded in the web browser.  That obviously allows you to copy *.swf files out from that folder to another folder where you have standalone Shockwave Flash files.

Presumably this is how Ameerh24 has discovered that *.swf files show with the standard "unknown file type" icon and prompt for a program to use when double-clicked.  The other possibility is that he has found such files on an installation CD or found direct links to someone's files on the Internet.

The expression "unknown file type" isn't really correct, because *.swf files ARE known and registered, but just aren't "associated" with a particular program by default.  This is the crux of the original question.

Of course, there ARE standalone programs that DO have the ability to load and play Flash files retrieved this way.  For example the popular and free image editing program named IrfanView (http://www.irfanview.com/) has a range of plugins/addons, one of which is a Flash Player.  The same is true of many multimedia web pages you visit, such as YouTube.  They load their own Flash Player into their web page, and then fetch the Flash content from wherever it is.  This is usually in the form of Flash Videos (*.flv), and again there are a number of standalone programs that can play back *.flv files from your computer eg. FLV Player - http://applian.com/flvplayer/index_jeroen.php

In addition, some programs allow users to package up Flash content into their own *.exe file with an integrated player.  Downloadable funny games work like this.

In normal use, however, if a standard *.swf file is fetched and loaded into a web page, the writer of that web page (or the program that helped create it) "embeds" the target Flash file into it using code.  In other words, the code in the web page tells the web browser to grab the content, stick it where it needs to be, and plays it back however it tells it to.  The flash file never actually becomes part of the web page.  That's the Shockwave Flash ActiveX Control being used by Internet Explorer.

It is all INTENDED to work this way rather than loading Flash content from the Internet into a standalone "media" player that opens in front of the browser window, and is similar to the manner in which Windows Media Player components are used to show a media file right in the web page.

So, what I am saying here is that asvforce's two answers are absolutely correct from the kick-off and there should be no doubting which answers should be accepted.  

LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 20203443
Well - no it is not clear what the asker thinks he had installed. And his last comment tells me that he really thought he had thought he had installed full blown players and not just plugins.

Split is ok with me here (on all participating experts)
LVL 39

Assisted Solution

BillDL earned 2000 total points
ID: 20204718
But that was my point.  Macromedia/Adobe Flash and Director are the creation tools, while the "players" are Flash Player and Shockwave Player respectively.  There is, to my knowledge, no "full blown player" for either except those that exist as non-Macromedia/Adobe (ie. 3rd-party) standalone players available for offline viewing of downloaded content.  The "players" installed by the Macromedia/Adobe downloads only install and work as client-side runtime plugins.

There is one issue that clouds the idea of "full player", and that is with respect to the more recent client software downloads and redistributables of Shockwave Player.  It now comes as slimline version OR with a set of extras, and their respective installed states depend on preferred methods of deployment and the version of Director used to author the content being loaded and viewed.

When created with certain versions of Director, the actual Shockwave/Flash file being loaded (along with the installed plugins at runtime) may download additional content as needed to render the content as intended.  

Nevertheless, the client players (Shockwave, Flash, and Authorware Players) still run as browser plugins over the Internet or from other media sucvh as CD's, and not as standalone programs that can be opened from a start menu shortcut or program *.exe by the user when desired.


Anyway, I'm not going to argue this point any more, because what I'm really saying is that I'm quite sure Ameerh24 would have known whether the Flash or Director design applications were installed:
because they are pretty expensive:
and place the user in an Edit/Preview situation rather than the use of the totally free "players" from the Macromedia/Adobe site that load almost transparently within the user's web browser when flash content is encountered.

If I have misunderstood any of the comments here, then I apologise for appearing argumentative or petty, and I'm perfectly happy if we all get a points share - or if I get no points at all :-)
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 20205201
>>I'm quite sure Ameerh24 would have known whether the Flash or Director design applications were installed:
:) Do not be so sure. And you never know who installed the machine and so on.

I got your point the first time. :)
It should have been a split, I agree
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 20219511
Whoops, who accepted that?
If that was you, Ameerh24, thank you very much and I hope that the info provided was helpful.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 20221838
The Asker - if it is a Cleanup accept, you will see a notice from the closing Moderator.

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