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I've been trying to use the mouse less when web browsing. However, if a flash program gets the focus, it will capture the all the keyboard strokes, making it impossible to do anything without moving the mouse first. Is there any way around this?

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Which browser do you use? – John T Dec 29 '09 at 18:38
Firefox, on XP and Ubuntu, but mainly XP. – Eugene M Dec 29 '09 at 18:42
Using Vimperator on Linux, I've also had this issue, and it's really annoying. – Dentrasi Dec 29 '09 at 18:50
I'll admit this is one of the most annoying features of most flash pages, when my default Firefox shortcuts no longer work due to some flash app. – Darren Hall Dec 29 '09 at 18:50
While I can understand the need for it for certain Flash applets, this has been annoying me with Chrome (and pretty much all browser for that matter) for years. I have to click the mouse somewhere in the page (outside of the Flash applet) to be able to do so much as changing tabs. :-| – Synetech May 31 '12 at 0:58
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It seems this is a bug in Firefox that is over 8 years old without an easy fix, judging by the comments. There is an experimental add-on you may want to try called Restore Window Focus After Flash, but that is just one user's perspective on which hotkeys should work within flash, and how it should operate - it may work out well for you though.There are many possibilities on how to handle the situation, which are outlined in the bug report comments, although it seems Mozilla hasn't accepted any of them yet or taken action of their own.

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There is even a bounty on the fix - – Darren Hall Dec 29 '09 at 20:42
That's interesting, $107.06 has been put towards it too! – John T Dec 30 '09 at 4:35
Just to note, the extension is no longer available. – Annan May 4 '14 at 18:57

Seeing your question, I decided to do some tests to try to find a way to move focus from a Flash object, back to the page using just the keyboard. I tried it on Windows in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and IE. Here’s the results with the simplest steps to accomplish the goal:

  • Firefox retains focus on the Flash object no matter what (practical/reasonable/feasible steps) I tried, so you may want to use the Firefox add-on that John mentioned

  • Chrome releases focus from the Flash object if you tap either the Windows or Alt keys twice in a row

  • Opera releases the focus by pressing Windows, then Alt-Tabing back to Opera

  • IE seems to put the Flash object in the normal tab-order of the page, so tabbing will move from elements in the page to the controls in the Flash object, then out to subsequent elements on the page, so tabbing enough times will bring the focus back to the page

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On Windows, try the following:

  • press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager

  • press Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+Shift+Tab until you get to the Processes tab

  • find plugin-container.exe in the list and press the Menu key or Shift+F10 to open the context menu

  • press T and Enter to kill the process tree

  • press Alt+Tab or Alt+Shift+Tab to switch back to Firefox and enjoy your Alt key again

This kills Flash support for the process, but since windows are processes in default config, you can press Ctrl+N it back.

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