Stop videos from autoplaying in your browser

When you go to a website to read an article, you want to read the article, not listen to a video.

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Peggy Deras wants to know how to stop videos from playing automatically when she visits a website. She read my previous article on the subject, and discovered that it no longer works.

For obvious reasons, PCWorld readers in particular hate videos that start playing automatically when a webpage opens. I covered this topic at the beginning of last year, but things change, and it’s time for me to revisit it again.

And no, it’s not hypocritical for a site that uses autoloading videos to publish an article on stopping them. It’s a sign of a healthy separation between editorial and advertising.

[Have a tech question? As Answer Line transitions from Lincoln Spector to Josh Norem, you can still send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

My previous instructions still work for Firefox and Internet Explorer. So I’ll just cover Chrome and Edge.

I’m also sticking here to Adobe Flash videos. I’ve discussed HTML5 videos elsewhere.

Chrome

  1. Click the three-line menu icon in the upper-right corner and select Settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Show advanced settings link.
  3. Scroll down a little further to the Privacy section and click the Content settings button right below the word Privacy.
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  4. In the resulting “Content settings” dialog box, scroll down to the Plugins section and select Let me choose when to run plugin content.
  5. Click the Manage individual plugins link.
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  6. On the resulting Plugins page, find Adobe Flash Player and uncheck Always allowed to run.
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The next time you encounter an auto-running Flash video, you’ll get a gray box with a jigsaw piece icon. To play the video, right-click and select Run this plugin.

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But this isn’t a perfect solution. Sometimes Run this plugin isn’t on the menu. Other times, only the audio plays.

Edge

Microsoft’s newest browser has an option to turn off Adobe Flash. You’ll find it if you click the menu icon, and select Settings > View advanced settings. Turn Use Adobe Flash Player off.

The bad news is that it doesn’t work—at least not for these videos. But there’s hope. A future version of Edge promises to have ad-blocking support.

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