Start in safe mode. Run msconfig.exe. Look for the flash service and turn it off under the startup tab. Restart. Go to add/remove programs, uninstall flash. Then go to the Flash site and download and reinstall flash.
Tried to use regular start up. Ran msconfig.exe went to Services ( not start up ) and found Adobe Flash Player Update. It was “Stopped”. Clicked on it to erase the check symbol. Hit Apply. Window appeared, “An access denied error was returned while attempting to change service. You may need to to log on using an Administrator account to make special changes.”
Never use MSConfig to deal with services. Use services.msc–just type it into the start menu or Run dialog box.
And, yes, you’ll have to be an administrator. Programs and Features (what Add/Remove Programs is now called in Windows 7’s Control Panel) also won’t work if you aren’t an administrator. Despite technically not being necessary, Flash has always required Administrator privileges.
This is a big reason why I don’t like forced automatic updates. Sure, you need to update, but they should tell you why and let you choose whether it’s worth it to risk bugs like this, or just wait a bit and see how things shake out. The security hole has been there for a while, a couple more weeks won’t hurt.
Particularly with a company like Adobe with their abysmal track record on these things. They aren’t Google, that’s for sure.