Flash Cookie Remover® - small, light, easy tool

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Flash Cookie Remover® - small, light, easy tool

Postby Tom T. » Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:51 am

Here is a simple, 449-byte tool for Windows® client operating systems, which will delete all Flash cookies (a/k/a "Local Shared Objects", "LSO", "Permanently Identifiable Elements", and "PIE") and other user information and settings stored on your machine by presently-supported versions of Adobe® Flash Player®. It requires no Fx add-ons, uses no Javacript, and requires no installation, checking for updates, etc. Place it on your desktop, or anywhere you like with a shortcut in your start menu or whatever.

This program was written and tested on Windows XP® SP2® Home® and Pro®, but should run on all other versions of XP. It is expected to run on 98®, 2000®, ME®, and Vista®, but has not been tested on those systems yet. (Beta testing and feedback on those systems appreciated.)

For any readers who are not familiar with batch files, instructions follow the program code and Readme.

Code: Select all
@echo off
rem Flash Cookie Remover® version 0.31 beta © Copyright 2009 by Tom T. SOME RIGHTS RESERVED.
rem Licensed under Creative Commons License v3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/)
if exist "%appdata%\macromedia" rd /s /q "%appdata%\macromedia"
if exist "%appdata%\adobe" rd /s /q "%appdata%\adobe"
if exist "%appdata%\sandbox\defaultbox\user\current\application data\macromedia" rd /s /q "%appdata%\sandbox\defaultbox\user\current\application data\macromedia"
if exist "%appdata%\sandbox\defaultbox\user\current\application data\adobe" rd /s /q "%appdata%\sandbox\defaultbox\user\current\application data\adobe"
pause
exit

README

Please copy and paste the following notes and instructions to a text document, "FCR Readme.txt" or similar. Please *read before using the program*, and keep handy for future reference. If you distribute the Program under the Creative Commons License listed, please note that the Readme file is part of the Program, and therefore must be distributed as part of it, subject to the Modification exceptions provided under the full text of the License.
****************************

README for Flash Cookie Remover® version 0.31 beta. © Copyright 2009 by Tom T. SOME RIGHTS RESERVED. Licensed under Creative Commons License v3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/)

PLEASE READ BEFORE SETUP OR USE.

1) CAUTION: If you have other products installed that were once under the Macromedia brand before its acquisition by Adobe, such as Dreamweaver®, click Start > Run and type %appdata%\macromedia (enter) to see if any other products besides Flash store information in the Macromedia folder. If so, and you wish to retain such information, add \Flash Player to the appropriate lines, with or without Sandboxie, e. g.
Code: Select all
if exist "%appdata%\macromedia\Flash Player" rd /s /q "%appdata%\macromedia\Flash Player"


2) If you prefer to keep other Adobe information in the Adobe folder, modify the Adobe line by adding the specific folder:
Code: Select all
if exist "%appdata%\adobe\Flash Player" rd /s /q "%appdata%\adobe\Flash Player"

I use no other Adobe products, but noted that playing a Flash video created a numbered folder inside the Adobe\Flash folder, which number I presume is unique, and therefore identifying and potentially a privacy leak. I don't like having useless, empty folders on my system anyway.

3) Sandboxie® users who browse with multiple sandboxes running simultaneously may have to copy and add lines substituting the name of each additional sandbox for "defaultbox". This does not apply to non-registered Sandboxie users, for whom the above is sufficient.

4) If you are using Flash Cookie Remover® as a replacement for the Firefox add-on, "Better Privacy®", the latter performs two other privacy-related functions. Replace these functions as follows:
  1. For the blocking of <a ping...>, use Firefox NoScript add-on > Options > Untrusted > check "Forbid <a ping...>", and in Options > Trusted, uncheck "Allow <a ping...>".
  2. To disable DOM storage, go to about:config, enter dom.s in the Filter bar, and double-click "dom.storage.enabled" to toggle it to False.
(5x) (Experienced batch file users may skip to the Disclaimer.)

5) Instructions for novice Batch File users:
  1. Copy and paste the above code lines to a text document.
  2. Save as "Flash Cookie Remover.bat." When prompted about the extension change, click "yes"
  3. After finishing your use of Flash at a site, double-click the icon. All Flash and Adobe cookies and folders will be deleted.
  4. I always put the "pause" in my batch files until I'm satisfied that they're working properly for me, so that I can see any error messages. When you are similarly satisfied, you may eliminate the line containing the "pause". The program will now run in a split-second and disappear.
  5. These folders are created, whether in Sandboxie or on your system, only when needed. They will re-create the next time you use Flash, so no worries about deleting it. Thus, eliminate the "pause" when it tests well for you.

DISCLAIMER: THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS OFFERED IN THE HOPE THAT IT MIGHT BE USEFUL, BUT IS OFFERED "AS-IS"; CONVEYS NO RIGHTS; AND CARRIES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. THE AUTHOR CANNOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, FROM USE OF THE ABOVE. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH THESE TERMS, DO NOT USE THIS INFORMATION OR PROGRAM.

THIS PROGRAM IS SOLELY THE WORK OF THIS AUTHOR, AND NOT OF NOSCRIPT, THIS FORUM, GIORGIO MAONE, OR INFORMACTION. NO SUPPORT IS OFFERED AT THIS FORUM OR ANYWHERE ELSE. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

THE SOFTWARE IS NOT FAULT-TOLERANT AND SHOULD NOT BE USED IN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT MANAGEMENT, LIVE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL, HOSPITAL OPERATING ROOMS OR MONITORING SYSTEMS, OR IN ANY OTHER SITUATION IN WHICH FAILURE OF THE SOFTWARE MAY POSE AN IMMEDIATE HAZARD TO LIFE OR LIMB, OR OF SUBSTANTIAL PROPERTY DAMAGE.


The author wishes to thank Foam Head for valuable feedback on Versions 0.1. and 0.2.
The author wishes to thank Giorgio Maone and forums.informaction.com for hosting.

(end of Readme file)
****************************

Changelog:
v 0.31 beta 20090624 0520 UTC
x corrected names of Flash Player folders
x completed quotes of commands, obviating reference to same in Readme.

v 0.3 beta 20090622 0605 UTC
+ added Readme
+ added instructions to disable DOM storage and block <a ping...>, as a much-larger Firefox add-on also did
x completed retrofitting of changelog
+ additional acknowledgments

v0.21 beta 20090620 0938 UTC
+ Added "if exist" to eliminate all needless error messages. Eliminated as no longer relevant the Instructions relating to said messages.
+ More specific intro re: systems supported, names of target elements.
+ Started changelog (incomplete)

v 0.2 beta 20090618 0330 UTC
x Added versioning
x Added compatibility info
x Included license in code as well as on presentation page

v 0.1 beta, first version, posted 20090615 0551 UTC

© 2009 by Tom T. SOME RIGHTS RESERVED. This work is licensed for the good of the Internet Community under the Creative Commons License v3.0. See the following Web page for details: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
Last edited by Tom T. on Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:21 am, edited 9 times in total.
Reason: v 0.3 beta; updated changelog; added Readme, <a ping, DOM storage, add'l acknowledgments
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Re: Quick, easy, simple way to delete Flash cookies

Postby GµårÐïåñ » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:13 am

Thank you, I am sure someone will find it useful and you have done the work for them. As for the path you mentioned, in all windows systems, the use of the reserved % items will result in the appropriate matching path on the particular Windows version.
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Re: Quick, easy, simple way to delete Flash cookies

Postby Tom T. » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:02 am

GµårÐïåñ wrote:Thank you, I am sure someone will find it useful and you have done the work for them. As for the path you mentioned, in all windows systems, the use of the reserved % items will result in the appropriate matching path on the particular Windows version.

Thanks. My only concern was that there might be a version that did *not* store them in %appdata%, but rather in some other directory, or that there might be more intermediate folders between %appdata% and the Macro/Adobe folders. So long as all versions use the parent %appdata\macromedia and ... adobe, it's all good.

FTR, in some Open Office folders, you have to drill down through three or four layers of empty subfolders before getting to the folder with the goodies in it. "Chinese nested boxes" -- for no particular purpose that I can discern, but I'm sure they had a good reason... maybe.
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Re: Quick, easy, simple way to delete Flash cookies

Postby GµårÐïåñ » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:42 am

This might help both you and the users who might need it with Windows environment variables:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment_variable#Examples_from_Microsoft_Windows

Also, the reason for nesting is often that the same company has multiple applications and putting everything in the root would cause conflict, overlap or configuration issues if not properly sequestered. Adobe -> (Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc.) and so you need to separate them under the Adobe branch and then within each of those, there is need for compartmentalization of data and resources and so on. Asinine and as painful as it seems, there is usually a logic to the madness, but that's for professional dev, others are hit and miss.
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Re: Quick, easy, simple way to delete Flash cookies

Postby Tom T. » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:33 am

GµårÐïåñ wrote:This might help both you and the users who might need it with Windows environment variables:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment_variable#Examples_from_Microsoft_Windows

Thanks, but I'm quite comfortable with them. In fact, I created my own: Start > Run %fx% takes me to the Profile folder. Why not just make a desktop shortcut? Because I can put this in batch files. Same with system32 -- I do have a DT SC, but also an EV, %s32%, for easy batch writing.
GµårÐïåñ wrote:Also, the reason for nesting is often that the same company has multiple applications and putting everything in the root would cause conflict, overlap or configuration issues if not properly sequestered. Adobe -> (Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc.) and so you need to separate them under the Adobe branch and then within each of those, there is need for compartmentalization of data and resources and so on. Asinine and as painful as it seems, there is usually a logic to the madness, but that's for professional dev, others are hit and miss.

Thanks, but that wasn't the question. Please take another look -- I wasn't asking for everything to be in the application's root, or not to be sequestered. The complaint was that you drill down through EMPTY folders (empty except for a subfolder, which is also empty, except for a subfolder...) before getting to the meat. I will give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that even though those folders are empty on my system, they might not be on someone who had different components installed (in this case, of Open Office). Thanks as always for your time, Bro.

btw, will edit OP based on your assurances that the file paths using EV will work on all current Win OS. thanks for helping with conciseness.
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Re: Quick, easy, simple way to delete Flash cookies

Postby GµårÐïåñ » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:49 am

I understood your question and the response was actually intended to answer that but I will try to make it more clear. The reason for the nested empty folders is either something was installed based on the reason described and when it is removed, the folders were not cleaned up either intentionally or as a side effect bad installer coding. Or, an installer who has those dependent items created those folders (even if you didn't select it to be installed) because the check if DirExists functions generally run BEFORE "do I have anything to install there" code which means that if those directories don't exist, it will create them in anticipation and then if nothing to install in them, they are left behind. Again, a well done installer code would account for that but many use wizards to create their installers and not custom code them, so the error checking and path validations are done based on what the installer company thinks is the best practice, sometimes leaving those annoying paths with nothing in them. Did I do better in clearing that up? Clear as mud? :P
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Re: Quick, easy, simple way to delete Flash cookies

Postby Tom T. » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:32 am

That was *perfect*. Well done!
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Re: Quick, easy, simple way to delete Flash cookies

Postby GµårÐïåñ » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:46 am

Thank you sir. :mrgreen:
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New version available

Postby Tom T. » Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:06 am

Version 0.21 is available in the OP, with feature enhancements, simplified instructions, single version supporting both Sandboxie and non-Sandboxie users with no code changes, beginning of a changelog (work in progress), etc.

I know that everyone had good intentions in posting other useful tools here; however, this thread was specifically started, and the program written, in response to concerns about the lack of security knowledge, and disparaging remarks towards the NoScript community, of the developer of Better Privacy®.

I know that no one meant to hijack this thread, but as the program was announced specifically as a substitute for Better Privacy, I would respectfully ask that all off-topic posts, e. g., of sw that does not remove Flash cookies, be placed in another topic, as the existing OT posts have been. Then this thread will be easier to follow as the program evolves. Thank you very much.
Last edited by Tom T. on Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: confirm split ot OT posts to new topic
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Flash Cookie Remover® v 0.3 beta released

Postby Tom T. » Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:24 am

Improvements include:

+ added Readme
+ added instructions to disable DOM storage and block <a ping...>, as a much-larger Firefox add-on also did
x completed retrofitting of changelog
+ additional acknowledgments

Still very much appreciate anyone with access to Win 98/98SE, ME, 2000, Vista, or Win7 Beta or RC testing this and advising results.
Thank you.

I don't miss the previous add-on at all.
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Flash Cookie Remover® v 0.31 beta released

Postby Tom T. » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:24 am

http://forums.informaction.com/viewtopic.php?p=5955#p5955

Fixes include:
x corrected names of Flash Player folders
x completed quotes of commands, obviating reference to same in Readme.
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