Help me... When I'm trying to install Flash I get "Network error. Please check your Internet connection and try again."
Okay, okay, so sometimes PCs aren't the easiest thing to use.
Flash animation had been working fine on my machine, but some months ago it stopped working, displaying a a little red "X" inside two small boxes rather than showing me the Flash movie or the splash image for the Flash movie, but I don't care much for graphics and Flash, so it wasn't a big deal for me.
I also noticed that references to YouTube videos in blog posts had the same issue with the little red "X" and I was unable to watch the video. But, once again, not being able to watch YouTube videos was not a big deal for me and in fact improved my productivity.
But lately I have noticed that I can't even enter some web sites if they have Flash on the first page without any non-Flash "Skip Intro" button. For example, I just tried to visit the Sony web site and could not see anything.
So, finally, I decided to get to the root of the problem and fix it.
The obvious assumption was that I needed to re-install the Flash player. So, I tried that, but the installation would not complete successfully. I kept getting this error message:
Network error. Please check your Internet connection and try again
I checked, but there was no problem with my Internet connection. I could browse the Web and send and receive email fine.
That led me to continue that something was blocking Flash.
I did a Web search for that error message, but only found some suggestions about a firewall blocking Flash or a pop-up blocker. I don't have a firewall for my dial-up connection and could not find any settings that seemed to be designed to block Flash.
I was stumped.
I asked myself "What else do I know?"
One thing I knew was that months ago, maybe around the same time that Flash stopped working, I noticed that all Web graphics were very "muddy" looking and low quality. I quickly realized that this was an attempt by MSN to "accelerate" dial-up Web access and I also knew that you could right-mouse "View original image" to see the full-quality graphic. Alas, there was no such option for the red "X" Flash images.
It occurred to me that maybe this MSN "acceleration" was blocking Flash, so I set out to figure out how to disable the MSN Web "acceleration."
There is an icon for the MSN Connection Center in the System Tray in the lower right corner of the screen. It show you your connection speed, amount of data transferred, and your acceleration mode. If you right-mouse on the icon and then mouse over the "Acceleration" menu, you see a list of the acceleration options. If you have this Flash problem, your acceleration setting is probably "Fastest", which gives you the fastest Web page loading.
I changed the Acceleration setting from "Fastest" to "Faster" (actually, I tried "Normal", but I use "Faster" now), hit "Refresh" for the Sony web page, and Presto! I see the Flash image. Ditto for YouTube. Mystery solved. In fact, I already did have the Flash Player, but the "Fastest" MSN web acceleration setting was blocking the downloading of Flash content.
Actually, I'll just leave my acceleration on "Fastest" since I rarely wish to see any Flash content, but at least now I know how to get Flash content if for some reason I want to.
My hope is that by documenting my experience in a blog post, other MSN dial-up users can solve their own difficulties with Flash.
Of course, I'm not sure how many of us diehard Luddite dial-up users are left these days, maybe just me and a few dozen other people in the entire world?