ImPerfect solution

This family-owned computer service bureau survives the transition to PCs and Windows by taking on more individual clients, reports a pilot fish who worked there.

"We had a number of clients using WordPerfect for DOS to prepare court transcripts," fish says.

"Someone had written an involved series of macros to properly format their documents with double spacing, line numbers, headers and footers for this very specific application, and the ladies I supported were completely locked into that app."

One morning fish gets a panicked call from one of his favorite court reporters. She tells him she was trying to complete a 250-page transcript and ran out of disk space to save a backup copy.

Since she was running her DOS version of WordPerfect under Windows, she popped back into File Explorer and started looking for files to get rid of. Spotting a large file she didn't recognize, she deleted it and switched back to WordPerfect.

But now, she says, she can't do anything except scroll around in her document. It won't allow her to save or print. Can fish help?

I'll be right over, fish tells her. But when he arrives, he's puzzled too. Nothing seems to work -- not even leaving the program.

"I had her repeat the sequence of what she'd done," says fish. "She pointed out the directory and said she thought the name of the file she removed was 'wp.exe or something like that.' She had deleted her WordPefect program while she was in it.

"After trying everything I could think of, she finally did Print Screens of the 250-page document, so she wouldn't have to recreate it from her recording. Then she spent a couple days retyping it after I reloaded WordPerfect for her."

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