How to Fix Couldn't Load Plugin PDF/Flash Error: Chrome & Edge

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Couldn't load the plugin on Chrome [Solved]
Couldn't load the plugin on Chrome [Solved]

The meaning behind the error Couldn’t load plugin implies your browser – most of the time, Chrome or Microsoft Edge has an issue with the current plugin selection, usually PDF or Flash.

Unfortunately, plugin issues are common and can arise on all modern browsers from Chrome to Edge, and Internet Explorer (see authentification plugins not working or even password manager Bitwarden plugin not functioning on Chrome or Firefox).

However, Google Chrome seems to be most impacted by the error stating it couldn’t load plugin. According to some users, this error occurs on Windows 10. Nevertheless, you can just as well stumble across the couldn’t load plugin Chrome Mac or Android phone error.

So, why do plugins cause problems? Why Google Chrome couldn’t load plugin PDF? Let’s take a closer look.

What does couldn’t load plugin mean?

Most often, this error is caused by either the obsolete Flash plugin or the PDF plugin. So here, we’ll be looking into solutions for these two.

As far as the meaning and causes behind Chrome couldn’t load plugin errors are concerned, it’s safe to say that an outdated browser installation can easily trigger problems.

Consequently, we recommend you update your browser to the latest version available. While you’re at it, you might want to use Chrome’s virus detector function to make sure no malware has managed to leak in.

You can also use the SFC tool to perform a scan at the system level and detect signs of corruption. Now, if your issue is related to PDFs, we recommend you make sure the PDF viewer is installed in Chrome.

Edge, on the other hand, is capable of managing PDF files without any help from a third-party extension – do keep that in mind. So, what do you do when it says couldn’t load plugin? Let’s find out together.

🖋️ Quick Tip:

The easiest way, although only a workaround, is to switch to an alternative browser. We strongly recommend Opera One as a skilled browser that presents various app integrations right on the homepage.

Opera One

Opera One

Forget about other browsers and install or launch plugins on this tool without annoying errors.

How do I fix Google Chrome failed to load plugin?

1. Couldn’t load plugin Flash

As you might have heard, Flash is no longer supported by major browsers. Many video streaming services such as YouTube switched completely to HTML5.

Insisting on using Flash can actually cause errors such as the mentioned one. The right thing to do is to disable the plugin completely.

To do that, simply go to the plugin section in Chrome and disable all instances of Adobe Flash. This will disable Flash completely on all websites.

Furthermore, you can also remove any traces of Flash using a tool from the Microsoft Catalog.

1.1 Update your browser & its components

  1. Launch Chrome and click on the ellipsis icon in the upper-right corner.
  2. Then, select Help and click About Google Chrome.
  3. This will make your browser check for available updates and install them accordingly (if any).
  4. Additionally, you can also make sure all components are updated.
  5. To do that, simply type this in your URL address bar: chrome://components
  6. Check each element in the list, then restart your browser.
  7. Then check and make sure all the installed components are up to date.

We took Google Chrome as an example here, but you can obviously adapt the steps to your own browser such as Edge or another.

This solution is confirmed to have fixed the couldn’t load plugin error for many of our users, so be sure to give it a go.

1.2 Check the Enhanced Mitigation Toolkit settings

  1. Go to the Enhanced Mitigation Toolkit directory and run the EMT application.
  2. When the EMT app opens, click the Configure apps button.
  3. Locate Chrome.exe in the App Name column. Uncheck SEHOP boxes next to Chrome.exe.
  4. Click OK and close EMT. Start Google Chrome again and check if the issue is resolved.

1.3 Delete PepperFlash Folder

  1. Use the following keyboard shortcut to open File Explorer: Windows + E.
  2. In the search bar, input this location then hit Enter: C:\Users\user_name\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data
  3. Locate the PepperFlash folder, right-click on it, then choose to Delete it.

2. Couldn’t load plugin PDF

2.1 Change Adobe Reader settings

  1. Open Adobe Reader and go to Edit.
  2. Select Preferences, then Internet.
  3. Locate Display PDF in the browser options and enable it / disable it.
  4. Refresh the page that you’re trying to view in Chrome and check if the problem is resolved.

2.2 Check if the PDF plugin is enabled

  1. Hit the Windows key, type Chrome, then open the browser.
  2. In the address bar enter chrome://extensions and press Enter.
  3. When the list of plugins appears, click on Details next to the desired extension.
  4. Locate the Chrome PDF Viewer and make sure that it’s enabled.
  5. If you see Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape in the list of plugins, make sure that you disable it by clicking the Disable button next to the plugin name.

If Adobe couldn’t load plugin in Chrome, you might want to check the Always allowed to run option next to the Chrome PDF Viewer plugin. This is helpful especially if you have several PDF plugins activated.

On the other hand, Edge is more likely to work just fine without any third-party extension thanks to the built-in Edge PDF Reader.

As such, we recommend you try uninstalling the plugin altogether or simply reset Microsoft Edge to restore it to default values.

Whatever your weapon (and by that we actually mean browser) of choice, you can easily save an HTML webpage as PDF in Edge or Chrome browsers.

2.3 Run SFC scan

  1. Press the Windows key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
  2. When CMD opens, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  3. Wait for the repair process to complete, then restart your PC and check if the error is still there.

Whatever the source of the issue – PDF or Flash – a plugin error can just as well be caused by missing or corrupted system files. Make sure you perform an SFC scan to at least rule out this possibility.

If Edge or Chrome couldn’t load plugin, you’re bound to have trouble viewing certain content. However, this problem can be fixed by using one of our solutions.