When Adobe Flash Builder 4 cannot locate Adobe Flash Player

After installing the latest Flash Builder 4, ready to launch the app in debug mode, and bang! Flash Builder doesn’t find Flash!

Here is the ominous message:

Flash Builder cannot locate the required version of Adobe Flash Player. You might need to install the Flash Player or reinstall Flash Builder.

Do you want to try to run your application with the current version?

So Flash Builder, the tool used to compile Flash apps, cannot even launch its own result of compilation?

After the usual drill of uninstalling Flash Player and installing it again with all debug flavors of it, the problem is still there.

By the way this process is not trivial, you must:

1/ uninstall Flash Player by running a special tool making sure your web browsers are not running
2/ install the debug flavors you want:

The debug version for IE on Windows:

Download the Windows Flash Player 10.2 ActiveX control content debugger (for IE) (EXE, 2.99MB)

The debug version for Firefox on Windows:

Download the Windows Flash Player 10.2 Plugin content debugger (for Netscape-compatible browsers) (EXE, 2.95MB)

Now you would think after reinstalling Flash Player as suggested in the error message it would work?


The problem arises when you don’t use the HTML wrapper to launch the app.

By default in the Project Properties (Project / Properties / Flex Compiler / HTML wrapper), “Generate HTML wrapper file” is checked.

This mean that when you run the app (or debug it), an HTML wrapper will be created and your default browser (or the one you manually set in Windows / Preferences / General / Web Browser) will be launched pointing to the location of that wrapper.
And most of the time it will work as the Flash Player installation above usually does its job.

But if the “Generate HTML wrapper file” is unchecked, Flash Builder will attempt to launch it without web browsers.
The problem is that it doesn’t even know the path to the Flash Player by default, even though it’s located in one of its own subfolders:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Flash Builder 4\player\win\10.1\FlashPlayerDebugger.exe

The solution is to make sure your .swf files are associated to the debug Flash Player:
1/ In the Windows Explorer, right click on any .swf file you find
2/ “Open with…”, “Choose default program…”, “Browse…”
3/ find your Debug Flash Player, most likely located somewhere in the vicinity of C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Flash Builder 4\player\win\10.1\FlashPlayerDebugger.exe

Now the error message should be gone and all is fine.

Would that be possible for Flash Builder 4 to try this location by itself?
Or at least write a more meaningful message than reinstalling Flash Player and/or Flash Builder?

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9 Responses to “When Adobe Flash Builder 4 cannot locate Adobe Flash Player”

  1. Kdansky says:

    This happens to me every single time I have to setup my dev environment. One might think Adobe would fix such a ridiculous issue at some point. Next time, I’ll go with HTML5 from the get-go. Thanks.

  2. John says:

    Same here.
    To get it work I have to use uninstall tool, then I have no flash player at all on my pc.
    Next I install debugger version for IE. After that If I Run as debug it work fine.
    HOWEVER I can’t use flash anymore in general. For example if I go to youtube, it says I don’t have flash player, so I install it and I can watch youtube, but then I can use flash builder anymore.

    This is driving me nuts. I can’t use debugger version for flash in general, but I can’t use normal flash player for debugging. So it’s like reinstalling 10x per day. God I hate windows7 x64.

  3. I am so sick of having to do this every time I set up a dev environment!!!! Thank GOD 4 the FRENCH!!!!

  4. Roman says:

    Thank you! You saved hours of my time.

  5. santiswaroop says:

    gr8, it worked, thx u

  6. [...] this link is the issue: Flash builder 4 can not find the debugger Like this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

  7. tanna1952 says:

    what if html wrapper is checked and it does it?

  8. Golfagoon says:

    I have a feeling that the only thing Adobe is interested in is that every 6 month bring a new version and push it for sale. Fixing bugs is not a part of it. I thought after paying so much money for a package (Web Premium) at least it works . WRONG and I need to try to fix the FB4.5 debugger now. What happened to the great Macromedia company?

  9. Dajka Ferenc says:

    Hey man!
    Thanks for the help this shit drove me crazy.