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Held Hostage by Ancient Software

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Submitted by Sara Smith on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What happens when your computers outlive the makers of your business-critical software? The answer isn’t pretty …

“In 2008 my wife and I purchased a local business. The company, which had been operating for 18 years, relied on a proprietary software application. A single e-Machines PC provided Internet access.

Before long we discovered the company that developed the proprietary software was out of business. The backup functions didn’t work, the diskette drive in the DOS computer didn’t work and there was no back-up of any of the databases. With the help of a friend we also found out we couldn’t port the application off the current hard drive. Then, the fan in the computer failed and we quickly had to scour for a replacement that would support that old a hard drive.

The new system unit has a USB port, but it can’t be accessed. The monitor has since failed, as has the keyboard.

The only printer this system works with is an Okidata 184 tractor feed. We can’t upgrade the printer because we can’t load any drivers. We can’t load any software because there’s no access to the computer. The other computer won’t support a new software application. Consequently, we’re on very borrowed time…”

To tell your own horror story and enter the contest to win a $75,000 technology makeover, go to cmitsolutions.com/techmakeover. (update: contest closed)

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