Adobe Flash: End of life

At the end of the year, Adobe Flash will no longer run in web browsers. As such, any content that requires Flash, and doesn’t include an HTML version, will cease to run at the end of the year. You may need to check your Blackboard courses to ensure presentations still work.

Adobe will no longer support the Flash player at the end of December 2020, and major browsers have announced they will be removing Flash player at the same time (See announcements from ChromeSafari/WebkitFirefoxMicrosoft).

What is affected?

At Aston, this primarily affects content created with older versions of Adobe Presenter, which were published as Flash/SWF only.  You may also have material authored in things such as Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline, or content developed by third parties which requires Flash.

What is not affected?

  • Content published using later versions of Adobe Presenter, or other authoring tools, where the publish format included HTML playback.
  • Aston Replay/Panopto (see the note at the end of this page for more information), or if you have uploaded a narrated PowerPoint file (.ppt/.pptx) directly into Blackboard.

How can I check if my content is affected?

The easiest thing to do is to try to play your content – most web browsers have already blocked Flash from playing automatically.

For the instructions below, we’re assuming you’re using a recent version of Google Chrome.

  • If you’re using an Aston machine, your version of Chrome is held back, and will not update automatically. If you haven’t updated recently, Digital Services advise you upgrade. The instructions below assume you have installed the latest version of Flash available in the Software Centre.
  • If you are using Chrome on your personal device, you will always be running the latest version of Chrome, and the instructions below are also valid.

Confirm that Chrome is preventing Flash from running

By default, Chrome prevents Flash from running at all – you need to change a setting to get it to prompt you to run. If you have amended this setting, Chrome will tell you every time you launch it:

A screenshot of Google Chrome showing the Flash end of life notice

If you see the message telling you about Flash, click Turn Off to prevent it from running.

Try to view your presentations

Now you know Chrome won’t try to use Flash to play content, go into your courses and try to play the narrated presentations authored in Adobe Presenter or other tools.

As the presentation is playing, this means it does not require the Flash Player.

Look at the right hand side of your address bar. If you see a jigsaw piece with a white cross on a red background, this means Chrome has prevented Flash from running.

This means the presentation in question requires Flash to run and will not work after the end of this year.

What can I do if I have content that won’t play?

We’ll assume the content is in Adobe Presenter format, but the principles apply for other authoring tools.

Export the material again

The best thing to do is to export the presentation into HTML format, but this requires that you have the original presentation files available to you.

If you do, open the source material, and follow the instructions to export and upload to Blackboard. These would be the same steps you did you export originally but choosing HTML as the output format. (Note that HTML may not have been an option in Presenter when you originally exported the presentation)

Screen capture the Flash presentation

If you do not have access to the source material, you could do a screen capture while you’re playing the presentation in your browser.

The best solution, based on the tools all staff have access to at Aston, is to use Collaborate to record you playing back the presentation. Get in touch with if you’d like to explore this option.

What about Aston Replay/Panopto?

Panopto, the software behind Aston Replay, has used HTML playback for a few years now.

While not related to the above, it is worth letting you know that if you have sessions from prior to Panopto making this change (back in 2015), they will play back in the Embed viewer rather than the full viewer.

If you would like the full Panopto viewer for these sessions, contact with the details of the sessions you require, and we will reencode them. Note that the sessions will be made temporarily unavailable while they are reencoded.