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Mozilla blocks auto-loading of plug-ins by Firefox

Apart from the latest Flash that is

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Firefox users should experience faster, safer browsing thanks to Mozilla's decision to block browser plug-ins from automatically loading – albeit with one exception.

"Poorly designed third party plugins are the number one cause of crashes in Firefox and can severely degrade a user's experience on the Web," said Michael Coates, director of security assurance at Mozilla, in a blog post.

"This is often seen in pauses while plugins are loaded and unloaded, high memory usage while browsing, and many unexpected crashes. By only activating plugins that the user desires to load, we're helping eliminate pauses, crashes and other consequences of unwanted plugins."

The function, which Firefox calls Click to Play, will cover all plug-ins except the latest version of Flash, although you can rig it to autoload other plug-ins individually, as well. Users of older versions of Flash will have to upgrade in order to get automatic loading.

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Get used to seeing this (click to enlarge)

"Flash is deployed on a variety of websites users interact with on a regular basis. At this time we believe the best balance of control, ease of use and security is to encourage users to adopt the current version of Flash by only applying Click to Play to outdated versions," Coates told El Reg in an email.

The next step is to institute the scheme for other plug-ins, including Silverlight, Java, Acrobat Reader, and all others. Mozilla hasn't given a date yet on when this will be rolled-out to the general public – presumably there's a heavy test load to get out of the way first.

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