Painful Lesson on Legacy Software

My mom is in the middle of a (potentially painful) lesson on legacy software. Namely, don’t use it. She has… *ahem* had all of her addresses in an ancient copy of Parsons Technology Addressbook 7.0. I forget exactly how many years ago Bob Parsons sold to Broderbund and they killed the product off, but it’s been a while. Complicating matters, the software appears to use a proprietary format MS Jet database to store the info in, and I’m having trouble (read “okay, what possible formats could an ABA file be?”) opening the stupid thing with anything but a text editor.
What necessitated this is a) the lack of installation media or download files, and b) a hard drive failure. Even though we had a backup, as is often the case, a full filesystem restore failed to really bring the machine back up to snuff. “No problem,” I said, “because we have the data, and that’s what counts.”
That is, until you don’t have the program with which to access the data… then the data doesn’t count for much.
So, I am working on making this NOT be an “I told you so,” moment, but I confess, the sadistic part of me is standing at the ready. I must silence him. BAD sadistic son. Go back to your cave until you are needed! I’m also keeping a close eye on Pegasus Mail, which my mom still swears by. I used to love it, but over time, my perception of it became somewhat jaded and it seemed quirky. Of course now there’s no way I’d give up Thunderbird for Pegasus. That’s not really important at the moment, since it’s still fairly current, but I really hope to avoid going through this routine again in a few years with her mail.
So, off to boot a machine from a dead external hard drive. Wish me luck.
Update: Attempts to boot a spare machine from the hard drive are resulting in BSOD on startup. Not good.

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