YouTube Woes – Cannot Watch Videos

By | May 31, 2009

I was recently helping a friend who was unable to view YouTube videos in Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP. Whenever she tried to view a YouTube video the following error message would appear:

You either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Adobe’s Flash Player

She had already re-installed Adobe Flash player several times before calling me for help. I confirmed that she had the latest version by having her visit Adobe’s site. Try following these three steps to fix the problem:

Step 1: Check IE Security Settings

This problem can be caused by unnecessarily high security settings in Internet Explorer. To restore IE’s security settings to their default level, access “Internet Options” from the control panel.

From there, click the “Security” tab, make sure you are in the “Internet” zone and click the “Default Level” button. The “Default Level” button will turn grey after it is clicked. Then click “Apply” and “OK” to close the Internet Options window.

Click "Default Level" to Restore Default Security Settings

Click “Default Level” to Restore Default Security Settings

Restart Internet Explorer and try again to view a YouTube video.

Step 2: Uninstall Flash

If you get the same error message, you may have a corrupt installation of Adobe Flash. Simply re-installing the Flash player will not fix the installation. You must uninstall the Flash Player first.

To do this you need to download the Adobe Flash Removal Tool, execute it, restart the computer, and then re-install Flash.

Firstly, download the Flash Removal Tool from Adobe’s website. Here is the link (if the link doesn’t work just type “Flash Removal Tool” into Google and click the first Adobe link).  Save the file to your desktop. Make sure you close Internet Explorer and any other applications that may be using Adobe Flash before you execute the uninstaller.

Adobe offers a MAC and Windows version of the uninstaller

Adobe offers a MAC and Windows version of the uninstaller

After you run the uninstaller you should receive a message that the uninstallation was successful. At this point, reboot the computer. Once the computer has restarted, go to Adobe’s Flash download site (If the link doesn’t work just type “Get Adobe Flash” into Google) and re-install Flash.

When Flash has finished installing, try viewing YouTube videos again.

Step 3: Reset Internet Explorer Settings

If neither resetting IE’s security settings or uninstalling/re-installing Flash worked for you, you may also want to try completely resetting Internet Explorer. To do this, access Internet Options as explained above, click the “Advanced” tab and then click the “Reset” button. This will delete all the temporary Internet cache, cookies, and reset all the settings to their original state.

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