How to run older applications on your PC

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Typical PC users are provided with a starter set of applications that allow most people to function at a basic level.   If you are somewhat heavily involved in your industry or profession you may find that certain commercially available applications not provided by the manufacturer are nonetheless key to your profession or work day. 

Dealing with these kinds of key applications often is instrumental in your success and requiring that you continue to need access to them in their original installed version.   If true you may not be willing to upgrade to newer versions unless the new functionality is worth the relearn time.   It may simply not be worth it to totally relearn a new application, especially a complex one.

Here is a classic example that this author experienced recently.  As a qualified graphic artist I do all my own marketing materials.   I have used PageMaker from Adobe for years and I can virtually fly through even complex development functions in minutes rather than hours as many of my contemporaries do.  However, when Adobe stopped supporting PageMaker – ending at Version 7, replacing the Application with InDesign, I was neither impressed with the change or willing to invest hundreds.  Therefore I chose to maintain my usage of PageMaker and do whatever was necessary.  If you are in this category of involved user to a high degree then this article is for you.

Your first bit of edification is that this is only a solution for limited time periods as you will ultimately find that multiple disconnects resulting from unsupported elements of technology will stop your continued usage of an unsupported application.   Therefore, this article is intended only to support your ‘borrowed time’ usage when needed. 

Your first point of understanding is the version of Windows that the application is running on.  In my example above, PageMaker does not run native mode in anything beyond Windows XP.  It is not supported and will not launch on Vista or Win7.  So, unless you are a programmer you will typically be dealing with the need to continue using a PC with an out of date OS.   It also means dealing with a certain level of inconvenience when transferring data to and from the older PC.

The other thing to know is that you will be constantly dealing with other ‘unsupported’ issues – like everything new that is not onboard this older system.  This includes everything from access and output capabilities – creating a pdf as an example, does not function in PageMaker 7 on XP the way it now functions in InDesign on Vista or 7.  Therefore I now use a commercial pdf creator but it has some variance from Adobe.  This is the kind of issue that you will be dealing with constantly.

Finally, an older PC will require other unrelated maintenance regarding the application you are continuing to use.  Closely maintain your Windows Registry and use commercially available registry software to perform the needed registry fix operations.  This will allow you to achieve the necessary Registry Repair and you can continue to use an older PC running an unsupported application. 

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