Windows XP Adobe Shockwave problem - SOLVED!

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Windows XP Adobe Shockwave problem - SOLVED!

Post by ssj100 on 10/2/2011, 10:44

Adobe Shockwave has not worked well for me for a long time. Last night, I knuckled down and decided to diagnose and solve the problem once and for all. During this process, I noticed countless posts from users sharing the same issue across various sites (via a Google search). Not once did I see a good method describing how to solve the issue. Anyway, I'm now going to put together a guide to solve this issue:

Why would one use Adobe Shockwave in the first place?
Well, the fact is, I rarely personally come across any site that uses Shockwave. However, I don't want to be restricted from viewing (some) content during my browsing. There is plenty of "entertainment" on the web that makes use of Adobe Shockwave. With Sandboxie + LUA + SRP, I feel extremely safe doing whatever I want/need to when browsing web-sites. For example, try playing a decent game on this site without Adobe Shockwave:
http://www.shockwave.com/home.jsp
Fact is, you need Adobe Shockwave for that site. And seriously, some of those games are rather fun!

The problem and how to solve it
Adobe Shockwave simply doesn't work properly (with games on the above site for example). The initial confusion can come from this site:
http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/welcome/
When I visit that site, I see the "Installation complete" sign and it appears that Adobe Shockwave is functioning fine. However, this does not mean Adobe Shockwave is functioning fine! A good test of whether it's functioning properly is to try playing a game like this (note you will also need Adobe Flash installed):
http://www.shockwave.com/gamelanding/joker_poker_2.jsp

Now most people will have Adobe Shockwave 11 installed (latest version 11.5.9.620 as of this post). However, when trying to load/play the above game, this screen will eventually come up:

Basically these "compatibility components" come from a version of Adobe Shockwave version 10 - the above process will automatically download and execute a file called "setup.exe" (which contains these "compatibility components"). Now don't ask me why this "backward compatibility" is needed, but it is! It's very frustrating for sure.

Now if you're running as an Administrator (naughty you!), you'll have no problem installing these "compatibility components". If you're running in a LUA, you'll first need to make sure your Administrator account has a password. You'll get the following pop-up:

You'll need to select "Run the program as the following user:" and select your personal Administrator account (I haven't tested it with the system's Administrator account, but I suspect this will also work).

Now if you're not using SRP or if you're using SRP without DLL blocking, then it will install properly and work fine. However, if you have DLL blocking enabled, you'll get the following errors (I'm only showing a couple of them):


Now to work out which path to allow in your SRP rules, you'll need to enable advanced logging and look for "Disallowed" logging. Otherwise, you can be lazy and make use of the following information:
Basically the path you will need to allow in your SRP rules is as follows:
C:\Documents and Settings\ABCDEF\Application Data\Macromedia\Shockwave Player\xtras\download\MacromediaInc
ABCDEF = name of your limited user account

This will allow all the Shockwave "Xtras" to load. Reload the web-site containing the Shockwave game and it will finally work! It all works fine sandboxed with Sandboxie too.

Now keep in mind that allowing the above path rule will mean that the path will be granted both writing and execution rights - obviously this is something you don't want from a security point of view. To plug this hole, you can simply adjust the rights of the "MacromediaInc" folder and block write access, as well as take ownership with your Administrator account.

To conclude, the above guide should help solve problems with Adobe Shockwave in Limited User Accounts and/or accounts with SRP DLL blocking enabled.

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