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Chrome improves Flash sandboxing for Windows: 20 percent fewer crashes

With some fine-tuning in the way it sandboxes Flash, Google says that Chrome crashes have dropped significantly.


Google has improved Flash sandboxing in the latest version of its Chrome browser for Windows, boosting its security and reducing crashes by as much as 20 percent.

The change also means Windows 8 users will be able to use all of a Web site's Flash features in the mode formerly known as Metro.

By sandboxing Flash, a plug-in can crash without taking down the rest of the browser. Sandboxing was introduced in early versions of Chrome to prevent rogue tabs from causing such total browser crashes, and as an anti-malware measure.

Google ported Flash off the aging NPAPI architecture -- which it describes as "a thin layer of glue between the web browser and a native application" -- and onto its own sandboxed platform, PPAPI. "By eliminating the complexity and legacy code associated with NPAPI we've reduced Flash crashes by about 20 percent," Justin Schuh, a Google software engineer, wrote on the Chromium blog.

Considering 99.9 percent of Chrome users rely on Flash, most of whom are likely to be on Windows, that's a lot of users a bit less frustrated.

To get the improved sandboxing, Windows users should update to Chrome 21 if they haven't already, while Linux users will have had access to the new sandbox since Chrome 20. Apple users will see an OS X version shipped "soon," Schuh said, but did not give a timescale.

Correction at 7:15 a.m. PT: The story misidentified to which version of Windows users should update. It is Chrome 21.