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Retrieving Film Lists From an Old Computer

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  • Retrieving Film Lists From an Old Computer

    I feel I need to start a new topic on this subject as it sort of is connected with a conversation between myself and Ali Hipperson dated 9th March 21 in the "What 8mm Films Did I Watch Last Night" thread, but would now be classed as going "off topic."

    Ali is contemplating publishing a list of his films on this forum for all to see. It had the blessing of Doug. Great idea.
    I know many of you keep an inventory of all your films and I do too....... computerised until 2 years ago and now written in a book. What I did was to transfer the whole file across to my "new" computer and thought everything would be hunky dory. No. Even though the file is a text file listing various aspects of the film EG. Film name / Length / Condition etc. What I did was to have a box / border around each subject. Consequently, when I attempt to open the file now, it just comes up as a lot of incomprehensible nonsense. It appears the computer cannot handle the border line.

    My question is..... is there a type of file I could convert it to that would re-align all the writing and boxes to allow me to carry on inputting information as it was on my original computer?

    As you can gather, I am not a computer buff, so any help would be welcome.

  • #2

    I am not much of a computer buff either, but I would start like this:

    There are many types of text file, so I would right click on the file, select properties from the menu, and near the top it says what type of file it is (e.g., .docx or .doc, txt., or ftm., there are loads). And in most cases it will say what is can be opened with.

    Now, as you seem to have discovered you may not be able to open this file type in your new computer. Because your may not have an application in your new system that can handle it (i.e., the thing you are using to open it with).

    If this is so, there are two courses. Convert the file to a type that can be read by the app on your new system, and just search google for an online converter of file types to change the original over so it can be read...there are many online converters, it depends what file types you need (e.g., search docx to doc online converter). For example, as a last resort things like a docx files (and most text files) can often be converted to the most basic txt file format type, from which sensible data may be copy and pasted into a new document.

    If this cannot work for some reason, then I would explore what does open the original file type and see if I could get that application into my new system and try to open it on my new system using that.

    So sorry I can't be more specific...but in essence my search would start by identifying the original file type, and work from there in terms of what apps in your new system can handle it...and if not possible what conversions may be possible.

    If none of this worked I would go to plan B! Best of luck.


    • #3
      Hi Melvin, do you remember what the application was that you used for creating the list? If you don't, could you share the extension of the file (like Ozzie suggested above)? If you could share either, it will be easier to look for the right conversion tool.


      • #4
        Thanks both of you. I will have a bit of a twiddle about based on this information, and see what happens. I will let you know.


        • #5
          See: The Complete List of Document File Extensions for Developers (


          • #6
            I would say Ozzie's info was very good and a great way to proceed. I sometimes get articles written in Word and saved in redundant formants which don't open in modern systems, so convert them when needed using the method as described. As mentioned above you need to find the format, described as 3 letters, for the easiest route out. I do hope you get your info back.

            I save my film inventory using a spreadsheet, as a part of Open Office. It gives you the flexibility of rearranging the info, depending on the way the sheet is laid out, of finding out how many scope films owned, or what Tom and Jerrys you have, for example. If you have a Google account then you also have the option of importing the data into Googles own spread sheet program, which is safe as its not stored on your local drive in case of similar problems in the future.


            • #7
              Melvin - when I'm doing my Inventory, I will do it in Excel on my laptop. I will then:

              1. Copy it into my tablet.
              2. Keep a copy on a couple of memory-sticks.
              3. Print-off a couple of paper copies and even laminate one copy.
              4. Email a copy to myself, so I will also have a copy on my phone.

              I'm not particularly 'computer-literate' but I have learnt over the years to use technology to assist with something like this, but not to depend solely on it or in other words, 'put all my eggs in one basket'! Back in the day I simply had my Inventory of the time typed-up, and put in plastic wallets having already made a photo-stat copy of the same.

              I used to have teach my clients that the best 'firewall' was not the latest antivirus software etc - rather simply 'turn-off' your computer when you are not using it! That was back in the earlier days before 'phising' got really sophisticated.

              Nowadays 'clouds' are all the rage and the anonymous hackers just sit back with there bot-programs and 'fill their boots' - clouds might be convenient (lazy) for people, but they are very a dangerous concept and are incredibly unsafe from a security aspect!

              All that said, I wish you good luck in retrieving your own Inventory 🤞


              • #8
                Hello again, everybody.

                Thank you for all your advice. I managed to track down the file type ( WDB ) and tried different methods to open it to no avail. I then trolled the internet and found an app that basically claimed it could open any file, so I tried it and........ BINGO! The files I have not viewed for a couple of years were there on my screen in all their glory! I have done enough for today, my head is spinning. I will attempt to both print a copy of the files and try altering / updating them on a later date, but for today........ thanks to you all....... I am a very HAPPY CHAPPIE !!


                • #9
                  That's great to hear Melvin! 😊


                  • #10
                    WDB files, I think, came from Microsoft Works. Now, that is a blast from the past!
                    Glad you managed to resolve it.

                    My preferred format is still a plain ASCII text file. No matter what will happen, any application will be able to read that in. The medium on which it is written is a different story though! Progress...


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rob Koeling View Post
                      WDB files, I think, came from Microsoft Works. Now, that is a blast from the past!
                      Rob - The problem with the likes of me, the uninitiated, is that a " WDB " file doesn't mean a damn thing. I just cannot CANNOT understand why there are so many variations. As far as I can see, a file is a file is a file.......... just another complication dreamt up by some computer programmer somewhere to justify his existence.
                      I know that is a bit of a controversial remark, and no doubt appears to be extremely ignorant to the initiated, which it probably is, who know exactly why the variations exist. I just feel sometimes that these obstacles are just created for effect because "Hey....... it's a computer!.... Gotta be complicated!"

                      Here endeth the sermon / Rant !


                      • #12
                        I completely share your frustration, Melvin! I've been in a similar situation far too often. I think that the core of the problem is the fact that the user isn't really at the heart of the software 'solutions' that companies come up with. They often think about what is possible. You can excuse the developers, but certainly not the companies they work for. Microsoft has a lot to answer for in this respect!


                        • #13
                          I would assume a "WDB" file would be one for Windows Data Base, without any knowledge of it except that's the way programmers seem to name things.


                          • #14
                            Melvin - the real reason rests with what the world has now become (in the eyes of the 'tech' industry) and that is one giant 'consumer society'.

                            It's the R&D guys at these tech-firms who compete with themselves to see 'what else can we do/change with this particular: computer, software, cell-phone etc...and the Execs encourage this so that even an individual item, such as a cell-phone, is constantly being tinkered with (under the guise of 'improvement') so that these big tech-companies can be constantly bringing ostensibly the very same product to market as often as possible - hence iPhone issues a 'new' version every year or sooner.

                            This strategy is particularly aimed at the young market of 10-30yr olds who think that they must ALWAYS have the very latest cell-phone etc - when in reality, they still haven't worked out how to fully use the previous version, simply because they haven't had it long enough before the next version is pushed on them.

                            And this all happens under the powerful and ever unhealthily growing influence of, 'marketing'! 🙄