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A Web surfing essential

A Web surfing essential

The Internet was once a text-only place. Then along came faster connections that allowed simple graphics and animations. Now, thanks to broadband, the Internet is a full-blown, interactive extravaganza.

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Adobe Flash is one of the primary tools for website interactivity. Using the Flash Player, you can watch videos, listen to audio or view interactive animations. Everything happens right in your Web browser.

For most browsers, you need to install Flash Player manually - Chromehas it built in. Fortunately, it's a free download. Just go to Adobe's site and follow the instructions.

You may already have Flash Player installed, but it might be an older version. This can leave your computer vulnerable to hackers and viruses. Check to make sure you have the most recent version of Flash Player here.

Caution: Adobe tries to include third-party offerings with the Flash download. For example, in Firefox it asks you to download McAfee security and in Internet Explorer it recommends the Chrome browser and toolbar. Make sure you uncheck these options before downloading Flash, unless you actually want them.

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