Recovering files from old programs

Tips & Hints

Files created in superceded programs can be difficult to recover

Posted 5 May 2003

Software companies would have your believe your programs should be upgraded every two years. Hardware companies would like you to buy a new computer every second year. Our belief is the life of a computer is three to five years and software can last for as long as you find it useful.

It’s quite common to find people using ten-year old software. Computers are tools so if it does the job so there is no need to replace it. But eventually the time comes to upgrade, and that is when there may be problems with older software.

A recent caller to our ABC Sydney computer help spot had exactly this problem. He was a happy user of PFS First Choice, but sadly his computer had died and the new computer had come with MS Word. He wanted to know how he could open his PFS files.

The first thing to do is make sure your new software is properly installed. MS Word, for example, comes with a huge number of converters but the default installation only installs a few. Microsoft have additional converter packages available from their website.

In the case of PFS First Choice, Microsoft don’t have a converter and this is when you have to use an indirect method. Microsoft’s, and our, suggestion is to open the file in PFS, save into a file format such as RTF and then open the document in Word.

The type of file you save as depends upon the nature of the file. The generic file types depend whether it is a word processing document, a spreadsheet or database. We’ve previously listed the standard types of file formats.

When the old computer has died, you may not be able to access the older files to save them in a compatible format. That is when you may need to buy software that can convert it for you. There are a number of services and software packages that do this, a search on the net should find the appropriate package.

Replacing an old computer is just one of many situations where you can lose data. That is why a backup is essential. If you have a backup, even in an old format, it can be recovered.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ABN 082 635 765
ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2011