|Re my #3.|
Did you find the file UninstFl.exe in:
C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash directory? If so double click it. Were there any files there at all? You might have to temporarily unhide all files from Folder Options.
Note that the first link in #4 is for uninstalling much later versions than 7.0 r14.
For yours #3 seems to be the correct way forward.
Otherwise it could be that files have gone missing but left registry entries behind. Type msconfig in the Run box and see if there is any mention of it in startup. If so you could untick it to "hide the symptom".
I don't normally advocate registry cleaners but in this instance it might be an idea to download CCleaner, run the registry scan and tell it to remove "only" any entries that are relevant to your issue.
Please come back and let us know the outcome.