Corrupt Powerpoint files with Flash Player 19

Corrupt Powerpoint files with Flash Player 19

I’ve recently received a spate of reports from users at my workplace about a very odd issue. Powerpoint files were being reported as corrupt on an increasing scale. The users would receive a warning in Powerpoint and were prompted to repair the file with the message “Powerpoint found a problem with content. Powerpoint can attempt to repair the installation” but the repair would never work. If they saved the presentation the resulting file was corrupt, and no amount of tweaking appeared to fix it.

The dreaded repair warning

The dreaded repair warning

As the complaints grew we checked everything, server disk issues, permissions, Powerpoint updates. Nothing seemed to fix it and users became more and more irate.

Purely by accident we noticed that these machines were all running Flash Player Those machines that were running v18 weren’t having an issue. We did some testing.

Currently we push out Flash Player 18 via Group Policy and disable the auto-update feature so really every machine should be running the same Flash Player version. In this case though it turns out that some of these machines had Flash installed by hand during the giving-out-to-user stage and our install script wasn’t removing previous versions.

So with a quick tweak our Flash install script become this;

for /f "tokens=2*" %%a in ('reg query "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Macromedia\FlashPlayer" /v CurrentVersion') DO SET "FlashVersion=%%b"

set FlashVersion=%FlashVersion:~0,2%

if “%FlashVersion%”==”18” goto end
“\\\support\Apps\Adobe\Flash Player\uninstall_flash_player.exe” -uninstall
del “%windir%\Flash.”
“\\\support\Apps\Adobe\Flash Player\\install_flash_player_18_plugin.exe” -install
“\\\support\Apps\Adobe\Flash Player\\install_flash_player_18_active_x.exe” -install


Flash 19 is removed and Flash 18 is installed.

With this fix Powerpoint on those machines stopped complaining about presentations becoming corrupt and it was just a case of restoring any PPTX files that had become genuinely corrupted by users saving the corrupt version.


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Oliver Marshall
Oliver works as Head of Sales at a leading provider of IT services to the education sector. Out of hours he's a runner with a limp, has a board game addiction and a owns a dog that looks like a badger.
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