Two clarifying questions:
1. What version of Captivate was used?
2. What version of Presenter 7 were you using (there is 7.0.0, 7.0.1, 7.0.2, 7.0.5, 7.0.6, and 7.0.7)?
Captivate 4 and older would output to AS2, and Presenter 7.0.6 and older also output to AS2. Presenter 7.0.7 and newer outputs to AS3, so you would need to republish the SWF file from Captivate, using a newer version of Captivate (though I recall that Captivate 4 had the option to output to AS3), to be compatible with Presenter 9.
AS = Action Script
Not sure on the captivate version, I think 3. it was presenter 7.0.6 so it sounds like updating the files is needed.
This may be a dumb question but will new versions of captivate open the old files to convert them?
and, so far can't find the original .cp files, the demos were created in 2010 a couple of laptops ago! is there another way to convert the existing .swf files into something that will play in presenter 9??
If you can locate the cp files, then Captivate should be able to update the files to the newer version of Captivate.
As far as the SWFs, there is not a way that I know of to update them to AS3. Dealing with compiled files is a whole nother ball of wax.
Depending on how hard it is to find the source files, it may be easier to just create new Cp projects.