Henry from Chula Vista writes:
Stupid question ! Why is it that the new Microsoft operating systems are not made backward compatible ? We have invested many thousands of hard earned dollars in software that Microsoft makes obsolete. I believe that is the main reason why we hold on to XP. It’s not because we don’t like change. Microsoft should provide some sort of conversion program. I have been using Quicken 4 for Windows (32 bits) and Windows 7 (64 bits) can’t use the many years of data.
Henry, actually a great many files are compatible even though operating systems and programs change. For example, most documents, even those dozens of years old can be opened using Word or other office programs. Most images in standard formats can be opened in any image editing program like Paint or Photoshop or Paint.net. The file I’m opening from my OneDrive below, was actually started in Word back in 1998.
According to the folks at Quicken, you can convert your data files for Quicken 2004 to the latest version of Quicken fairly easily if you upgrade from Windows XP. After transferring your old Quicken files to your new computer or copying the files you backed up to your updated computer, open your data files in your newer version of Quicken (one that’s compatible with your new OS) and it should automatically ask you to start the conversion process.
If it doesn’t find it immediately go to File menu > File Operations > Find Quicken Files.
You can then select all Quicken date files on the computer or just specific files. Click Find to start the search. In the Data Files Found area, select the file you want to open and choose open.
Quicken data can be exported to an Excel compatible format, which means they should open not only in Excel, but in other Excel compatible programs such as OfficeLibre.
Open the report you wish to convert and click Export Data in the Toolbar. Choose Excel Compatible Format as the file type and then name the file and save.
For a program like Quicken, which is made by Intuit, Microsoft wouldn’t provide the conversion features, because they probably don’t have the proprietary information necessary to convert the files. That information belongs to the maker of Quicken.
Actually, Windows is known for stressing backwards compatibility and trying help older programs run on more current versions of Windows, but at some point you end up trying to get parts for a 1979 hatchback to work in 2015 SUV.
On the website for Quicken, they say “Each version of Quicken evolves from prior versions. Over time, the core product changes drastically from the much older versions, which may cause problems when you upgrade to a newer version.”
That’s true for Windows as well. One strike against a lot of backwards compatibility for some older programs are current security features. Many old programs aren’t compatible with modern security measures and it’s unlikely that the developers of those programs would want to update them for free to keep them functioning. They would prefer that you buy newer versions of their programs with all the bells and whistles.
As more and more software programs switch to a subscription model, concerns about backwards compatibility may become a thing of the past as more programs become cloud-based and are constantly updated to meet changing needs.