We are a professional dance company, and one of our classic shows, made about 12 years ago uses Flash Player for dynamic video projection. I have no technical knowlegde about Flash, all I know is that the .exe-file still runs, even on my personal desktop where Flash has been uninstalled and brand-new company laptops which never had Flash downloaded.
The original files have been lost so all we have is the one .exe file (with back-ups), run on a very old laptop which is kept unconnected from the internet. My fear is that we will be unable to do the show ever again if this laptop stops working and we cannot run the .exe-file on other computers. But the fact that the file still works is confusing me. I don't know if there is a difference between the web-plugin and standalone files, and I don't know where to look to figure this out myself.
I'm sorry, I forgot to ask the actual question, I want to know if the .exe is going to keep working or if we need to find a futureproof solution
Nobody can say if it will keep working. It might be blocked by the system or by a future antivirus, anything. Since it's just (I assume) a movie, I suggest you look for a way to do video capture from a playback, then you'll have a regular video file.
Much of the day-to-day work that we've been doing on Flash Player over the last decade is the invisible work of keeping up with the latest changes to browsers and operating systems. That work is no longer happening. At some point, it's almost certainly guaranteed to break, but I have no idea when that will happen, or why. The browser plug-ins have to contend with both changes from browser vendors (almost all of whom have dropped support for all browser plug-ins in the last month) and operating systems, but the projector/standalone player/executables still face risk from changes at the operating system.
Running old software in the modern world isn't a new problem (there are lots of banks and governments still running mainframe software from the 60s), and there are standard approaches to running legacy software. Converting your old computer into a virtual machine image for forward compatibility might be a cost-effective and workable option. Solutions like VMWare Workstation or VirtualBox are commonly used, but the specifics of that work are beyond the scope of what we're going to provide guidance about here. (It shouldn't be too hard to find an expert on legacy software archival to consult on this kind of work.)
Running in a virtual machine incurs overhead from the additional complexity (you're running windows on a computer built in software, which is itself running on windows running on actual silicon), so your expert will need to take some care in configuring it for consistent performance, and you'll want to thoroughly test it to make sure that it performs consistently as expected, etc. I definitely wouldn't want to find out about a crash or unexpected performance issue in front of an audience.
Regardless of the path you choose, there's work and cost involved. Do you spend time and money updating that show using modern technologies (and maybe taking it as an opportunity to refresh the creative), or on preserving it as-is? It's a highly situational choice that you'll need to make relative to your time, budget and interest.
Our support partner HARMAN might be an option, if this is a problem that you just want to pay a consultancy to handle. They work primarily with large enterprise organizations (banks, government, industry, etc) to repackage legacy Flash content as standalone applications with the intent of providing longevity for those critical applications.
You can read more about HARMAN here:
Thank you for the information, this was the answer I was expecting, so I'm glad its confirmed. I actually recorded all the parts of our file using OBS and cut all the different parts into Qlab, which is the industry standard for video/audio playback in (Dutch) theatre as far as I know. A virtual machine is a good alternative if the artistic leadership isn't happy with the quality of my conversion, which is unlikely, but could happen, as there is some quality loss...
I will discuss if we can share the file with you, I will get back to you on that in a DM.
Also, as someone that's been working on the team for the last 15 years, I know we'd all love to see what you did with Flash in the context of dance and live performance. If there's a link or a video that we could check out, it would be really cool to see. I can reach out via email if you're open to sharing, but would prefer to keep the link private.