Why is Adobe recommending a McAfee security scan during the installation of flash player?

  • Strange. Never got that prompt while installing Flash.
    – kinokijuf
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 19:52
  • Flash Player? What is that? Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 2:18

4 Answers 4


It's an affiliate thing. Adobe get paid to promote McAfee's anti-malware software. You have nothing to worry about in terms of security, it's just a marketing trick to get you to buy an AV.

  • 5
    oh, but I do worry when it gets down to this, when an AV scans your system, it also creates reports that will be uploaded to their servers, that information can contain sensitive information related to me and/or my client(s).
    – user17464
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 7:27
  • 5
    Computer - that is a totally separate issue, and while it may be true, the vast majority of the time it isn't
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 8:45
  • 5
    Moichendizing! Moichendizing! McAfee the Antivirus. McAfee the breakfast cereal.
    – Scott Pack
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 3:38
  • 3
    Only an issue if you're running one of the competitor's AV packages and it turns out to be one that's incompatible with McAfee's particular iteration. It's been known to get in a knife fight with Kaspersky, leaving bystanders variously traumatized. Commented May 1, 2013 at 6:04
  • 1
    @Pacerier It's a reference to a scene from Spaceballs.
    – Polynomial
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 15:33

Adobe is installing a highly limited version of McAfee antivirus on your system and then doing a limited scan to possibly find malware (as expected with limited software). Adobe also pushes the Bing toolbar, the Google toolbar and the Google Chrome Browser at you among other offerings they've included. Funny thing is their installer routine is not intelligent enough to check for prior installations before recommending any of this software.

While there are good intentions in recommending this software, (McAfee for people with no antivirus at all might be a good thing, the Chrome Browser might be more secure than Internet Explorer) it's mostly done as an affiliate kickback program to provide a revenue stream for Adobe's "free" Flash plugins and Acrobat Reader.

It's not totally harmless as the McAfee scanner has been incompatible with already installed competitor's antivirus packages, sometimes knocking them out of action or preventing their virus signature updates from working. Also, reinstalling Chrome on a system that already has it installed can mess the Chrome Browser install up to the point I've had to reinstall Chrome.

When you manually trigger Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader and Oracle Java updates, you can tell the upgrade to not include these affiliate packages. They also can be removed through Windows add/remove programs routines if you have problems with them. As they are legitimate software annoyingly installed, they follow the rules for uninstall.

  • Chrome Browser is more secure than Internet Explorer.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 18:50
  • When that is offered by your Adobe Flash upgrade screen instead of McAfee... And as of late in 2015, Chrome is more secure than Internet Explorer. Back in 2012, Chrome was having some issues as well. Disclosure: Chrome is my major goto of choice for iffy websites, Firefox for dev features I like that are sometimes more user friendly than Chrome and IE as webdev compatibility tester and very little else. Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 19:54
  • @Firefox, What's wrong with using Chrome for dev? Why use Firefox which seems abit "clunky"?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 2:41
  • Nothing at all, just personal preferences, Chrome and Firefox are often open side by side anyway during dev along with the IDE and a Virtualbox VM running the Linux server. Joy of running an i7 with plenty of memory and screen realestate. Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 4:15
  • How much would that cost?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 10:26

I just updated Adobe's Flash Player and it didn't even offer me the option NOT to install the McAfee junk. Luckily I have a program called "WinPatrol" installed, which alerts me to anything attempting to install itself in my Start-Ups and gives me the option to say NO. Then I can simply uninstall the junk.


As Polynomial says, there is that affiliation - many companies promote other installs when you update or install a package. It is pretty common business.

That said, it is always a good idea to scan any new software that you install. If you already have a good A/V or antimalware solution, stick with that, otherwise I would recommend getting one.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .