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Tech: Document Format keeps changing.

Don Firth 03 Nov 10 - 08:08 PM
Acme 03 Nov 10 - 08:21 PM
s&r 03 Nov 10 - 08:29 PM
Nick 03 Nov 10 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,Russ 03 Nov 10 - 09:43 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Nov 10 - 11:04 PM
stallion 04 Nov 10 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Grishka 04 Nov 10 - 07:28 AM
Don Firth 05 Nov 10 - 04:09 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Nov 10 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,Grishka 05 Nov 10 - 06:23 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Nov 10 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Russ 06 Nov 10 - 01:42 PM
GUEST 06 Nov 10 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,Grishka 07 Nov 10 - 04:45 AM
Tootler 07 Nov 10 - 04:08 PM
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Subject: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Nov 10 - 08:08 PM

I'm gettin' paranoid!!

My HP laptop hauled off and died about six weeks ago. My local Geek Squad (that's what they call themselves) took it to their shop and worked on it. Basically, terminal illness (among other things, the hard drive was about to die), and they couldn't save my four years worth of accumulated e-mail (not the end of the world, I needed to dung it out anyway), but they did save all my documents, photos, and such.

They charged me for their time ($150 for three hours) and offered to sell me a refurbished HP laptop for $100. The new old one has more features than my dearly departed machine, including a 17" screen compared to my old one's 15" screen.

But here's the rub:

All of my Microsoft Word documents (the book I'm working on, a batch of magazine articles I've written, essays, all sorts of stuff, including several hundred song sheets complete with chords) have converted themselves to Wordpad format. Pain in the behind!

If I pull a document in Wordpad format into MS Word and work on it, I then try to save it as a Word document by clicking on the "File" menu, then on "Save as." I then specify "Word Document," and click on "Save."

When I go looking for it again, it has gone right back to Wordpad format.

Any ideas as to how I can either convert the whole shebang to MS Word, or at least get something I save as a Word document to stay in that format?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: Acme
Date: 03 Nov 10 - 08:21 PM

Don,

Did the file type get changed when they "rescued" it? Were they/are they .doc or .docx or .rtf?

Wordpad is RTF, rich text format. At least it shouldn't lose your formatting, but I wonder if you have your preferences set so that Wordpad and not Word is the default document program? Click on your Start button and go to Default Programs (not sure what your OS is - but it should be there for the last three versions at least). What do you find?

Maggie


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: s&r
Date: 03 Nov 10 - 08:29 PM

I have a memory of something similar. To save in a different format I had to retitle the Item, so I would save 'Testing' as (save as) 'Testing1'. Don't know if that was a similar problem Don.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: Nick
Date: 03 Nov 10 - 09:21 PM

Converting stuff should be easy and you can batch convert files (eg stick 'batch convert rtf to doc' into google).

Out of interest if you create a new document does it work fine?

The other out of interest thing is that aside from taking your $s did they give you your old hard drive back?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 03 Nov 10 - 09:43 PM

Check this.
Tools, Options, Save
In the box labeled "Save Word Files as" you should see "Word Document (*.doc)"

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Nov 10 - 11:04 PM

It might be helpful to know:

1. What OS was on the old old machine.
2. What OS is on the new old machine.
3. What version of Word you were using on the old old machine.
4. What version of Word is on the new old machine.
5. Was either Word version part of an "Office" suite of programs, or were they both the "dummy" versions that came with most preloaded machines.

There have been at least three, possibly four, recent "Word formats." There have generally been import/export filters available to import any Word format into any Word version, but in many cases you can't export (save as) in all the formats that you can open.

It's possible that you're just missing one of the filters that you need, although it's hard to see how that would produce the symptoms as you've described them.

It's possible that Geek squad has somehow "lost the registration" of the Word version on the new old machine, especially if the machine came with a "Works" version and a previous owner upgraded to a "real Word." An unregistered Word may "loose functionality" and be unable to save format details.

It's also possible that you've just got something strange set in Word "options," but there have been several changes in where those options are and how you get to them in the recent versions. (In some versions you can set a default folder to save in that's pretty "persistent," so if you opened a Wordpad item by clicking it open and did "Save As - Word" without changing the destination folder the .doc/.docx file will be in a different place than the .txt/.rtf file, so it might look like it got changed back? when actually it just wandered off to somewhere you haven't looked.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: stallion
Date: 04 Nov 10 - 05:19 AM

Download Open Office, it's cheaper and asks you what you want to save the files in


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 04 Nov 10 - 07:28 AM

If you are really loading the versions you saved (e.g. "MySongs.doc" as opposed to "MySongs.rtf", same directory!), you discovered a bug in your WinWord. Tell your Explorer not to skip extensions (a good idea anyway; consider "New_porno_picture.exe") and tell us what filenames you see.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 04:09 PM

Thanks, everybody, for you efforts to help me solve the problem. But sad to report, nothing works.

Both machines have Windows XP, same incarnation as far as I can tell.

I'm using the exact same version of Word on the "new old" machine that was on the "old old" machine. The same. Word 2002. The Geek had a very wimpy little word processing program loaded on the "new old" machine (less features than Wordpad), so I pulled out the distribution disk I received with the Dell laptop that rolled over and died about six years ago (how long has it been since any outfit sent you the distribution disks for the pre-loaded software anymore?) and loaded that. That was what I was using on the Dell, before I got the "old old" Hewlett-Packard Pavilion and then loaded on it and used rather than activating (at a substantial cost) the Office package they had pre-loaded (I don't really need spreadsheets, PowerPoint, etc., at least not at that price). That same Word 2002 has worked fine for me for many years.

I tried changing the Default Programs, but it had no effect, and when I pulled up the "Default Programs" window again, it had reverted to "Custom," where it had been when I first opened it. Tried it a number of times and it had no effect. Simply went right back.

In "Tools, Options, Save," it already reads "Word Document (*.doc)," but it doesn't seem to have any effect either.

No, the "Geek" didn't give me my hard drive back. He said that it was moribund, and it was touch-and-go getting my documents and other stuff transferred. He said that I really needed a new laptop, and he offered me the refurbished one, saying, "It will at least keep you going until you can get a new computer."

My "old old" HP had a 15.5" screen, and the "new old" HP has a 17.3" screen. My wife and I watch a lot of NetFlix movies on the laptop and we've come to really like the larger screen. So—I'm computer shopping.

Does anyone know if you stomp and scream and throw a tantrum you can get them (HP, Dell, etc.) to send the distribution disks for pre-loaded software along with the new machine? I have a friend who works for Microsoft, and she says that about every three or four months (when her computer starts slowing down and acting up) she resorts to what she calls "The Nuclear Option:"   Katie reformats her hard disk and reloads all of the software she uses. "It's a pain in the neck and it takes a couple of hours, but then it runs like a brand new computer and it saves me a lot of time and aggravation in the long run." Sounds like a good plan, but of course you have to have the distribution disks.

Anyway, thanks for the assistance. It looks like my real solution is to spring for a new contraption.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 06:17 PM

Word 2002 was about the last "real Word," and since it was designed directly as part of the first and only "NT Based Office" it has (or had?) remained reasonably viable longer than others. Very large numbers of business were (and apparently are) still using Win2000, and Office 2002 was the most compatible version for them. It was never the "most compatible" version for WinXP but it should run.

My Office 2003 on WinXP started "losing functionality" sometime around 2006 when WinXP updates quit worrying about destroying "obsolete programs."

The losses I saw were not something most users would even notice, but they made it impossible for me to use Word 2003 for functions our (actually Lin's) business relied on. At that time Lin had Win2000 and Office 2002 on her machine, so we just "struggled with it."

A relatively minor problem with getting the distribution disks from the computer manufacturer is that Microsoft provides NO SUPPORT for an OEM version of anything, so you have to rely on the computer maker for all support. Most of the mainline makers are reasonably good at providing the support you need, but it is a variable to consider.

Especially with WinXP, the frequent upgrades meant that reinstalling from your original disks got you an obsolete version, and you always had to download an "SP" update. (Anyone now running WinXP must be at SP3 in order to get security updates.)

Unfortunately the maker of all our previous desktop machines (since 1981) no longer exists. It apparently became impossible to build a good "business machine" that could compete with the glorified portable television/telephone/boom box/game box machines that have become the only thing on the market.

I'm still running a desktop from our old maker, but at the time of purchase Vista was the only OS they offered. Despite an upgrade (that Microsoft still says is OEM and unsupported by them) to a version that claimed compatibility with XP programs, almost none of our older programs would run reliably, so I had to purchase Office 2007. Lin's old Win2000 suffered "massive hardware death" so she has a no-name from Ribbit, with Vista and Office 2007.

There is NO WAY Lin's business could have continued with Office 2007, but since she suffered a medical problem that "pushed her into retirement" Word 2007 was adequate for the seven years of correspondence with lawyers required for obtaining "disability assistance" and we are now both officially "retired." It's not really "good" for much else, but we are able to force it to do a few interesting things that "most users" apparently aren't supposed to know about.

I haven't seen much about Office 2010, despite several searches. I find lots of "glowing ad words" but NO INFORMATION that's particularly useful.

Windows 7 is claimed to solve all of the problems with Vista, but all I find at Microsoft is "it's prettier" and "you can choose what kind of trash obscures what you're trying to do so you won't get as bored."

The real point of all this is that if you decide to get a new machine it will be difficult to get one with WinXP or any of the old (functional) Word versions. If you do manage to do so, you can expect progressively increasing "unanticipated" difficulties.

For what I expect would be your uses, you probably can take the Win7 and the "basic" Word that's likely to come with a "bargain priced" computer. Vista claimed that the "Word" that came with Vista machines was a "real Word" and not like the old "Write" pseudo-programs from previous versions. The basic package now appearing on new machines appears to continue with a fair version; although I haven't been able to make any real comparisons.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 06:23 PM

When saving your files, make sure you proceed as follows: "File -> Save as ...", in the dialog window appearing then, consider the dropdown-selection-box ("combobox") labeled "File type", at the very bottom. If it says "Rich Text Format", click onto it, select "Word document", and your problem is solved. (You will have a new .doc file and the old .rtf file, delete the latter.)

If you did so already and it didn't work, please tell us what exactly happened. Did "Rich Text Format" continue to appear when you tried to save next time?

"Tools, Options, Save" looks like the default format for documents your are creating newly, a normal "Save" command on an existing document will never change its type.

If these hints fail to help you, we need to know the complete filename suffices of the files you are actually reloading, and of the ones you are actually saving. Please use your Windows Explorer ("Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Windows Explorer" or similar), there select the menu "Extras -> Options -> View" or similar, make sure "Hide extensions of known file formats" is unchecked. Then navigate to the folder in which you assume your files, note their name extensions (.rtf, .doc?) and the dates of last change. Tell us what you see.

BTW: Such problems cannot be solved by money, you have to learn anyway.

Knock on wood.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 06:30 PM

With respect to the present problem:

Your inability to customize and get your settings to "stick" suggests that you may be running at the "reduced functionality" that results when your Windows OS and/or Office Programs are "unregistered."

The Geek Squad that sold you the machine should have taken care of that, at least for the WinXP, but might not have. The old Word that you transferred from your previous machine may need to have the "registration" transferred to the new machine.

At the Start button, you should find a "Windows Update" and/or a "Microsoft Update," and clicking there should take you to a Microsoft site where you can let them "check for updates." If it's there, the "Microsoft Update" is the better choice, since it should check all your "Microsoft stuff," including Word. "Windows Update" may look only at the Operating System.

If the registration(s) aren't up to date, they should send you to the right place to take care of it, or should at least give you instructions for how to do it.

Any installation from "original disks" more than a week old needs a visit there anyway, so it should be productive even if your real problem doesn't get eliminated.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 06 Nov 10 - 01:42 PM

Don,
Have you tried this?

right click on the icon for a doc file
if you don't see "Open with" in the list
hold down the shift key when you right click
Point to "Open with"
click on "Choose Program"


from the list called "recommended Programs:"
select "Microsoft Word for Windows"
put a check in the box labeled "always use the selected program to open this kind of file"
click OK

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Nov 10 - 09:16 PM

Sometime before I retired from full time employment, I realised that once I finished I would no longer get the free upgrades of MS Office from Work that the license they had allowed us, so I downloaded Open Office and started to use that. Open Office will read and save to MSOffice *.doc format and I have found that it does so very well. Since retirement I have continued to work part time for the UK Open University and have used Open Office for my work with them, converting files to MSOffice format as needed and it worked absolutely fine. I don't have need of some of the obscure functions but I do use features such as comments in text documents.

Although Open Office does do things differently from MSOffice, it is sufficiently similar that you can learn to use it fairly quickly. It has the twin advantages of being free and providing versions for all the major operating systems.

In your situation, that is an alternative solution you could consider. It certainly would cost you nothing (apart from time) to give it a try.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 04:45 AM

Apart from time and learning effort - these are the two rare ressources for the affluent.

Problems of the type described above may occur with free and expensive software alike. If you hire geeks, you must be able to control their success, for which you may hire another geek, whom you have to control ...

Anyway, it is sometimes a good idea to write off your investments in old software and try a new one, if you have good reasons to hope it does a better job for you. In Don's case, I don't see such reasons, from what he wrote.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Document Format keeps changing.
From: Tootler
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 04:08 PM

Oops! GUEST 06 Nov 10 - 09:16 PM was me. My cookie had got lost and I have only just noticed.


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