Author Topic: File type not correct  (Read 908 times)

Offline mb66

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File type not correct
« on: February 12, 2018, 02:57:52 PM »
I have an old Mac that I use once a year during tax season to run Quickbooks Pro V5. This year, when I turned on the computer the date was set to 1956, so I must have a dead battery. After resetting the date, I found I could run Quickbooks but the associated data file is not recognized anymore as a Quickbooks file. The file seems to be there and is over 5M in size and shows an access date of Feb 2017, which all looks correct.  But the OS seems to think it is a generic "PC file" type. Can anyone help?

Offline macarone

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2018, 03:37:30 PM »
I assume it's not just a question of double clicking the file, but that you can't open the it from Quickbooks either, which may mean it is corrupt.

Did you try booting into OS 9 with the Command-Options keys down to rebuild the desktop?

If the file is corrupt, this probably won't help, but it can't hurt either.

Offline mb66

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 05:37:02 PM »
If I open the file from within Quickbooks, Quickbooks says it is not a valid QB file. If I double-click, the OS tries to open it with a CAD program instead of with Quickbooks.  I made a backup copy last year on a ZIP drive, and it is behaving the same way. Doesn't seem likely that both copies are corrupt.  No I have not tried to rebuild the desktop (did not know of this).

Offline Astroman

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 12:41:40 AM »
if the desktop rebuild doesn't bring back the info (correct icon), you may create a dummy new file and check it's file type and creator with a utility that shows these properties (Filebuddy is a convenient one). Then edit your old file info and enter those values.

Offline mb66

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2018, 04:28:43 PM »
I did the desktop rebuild and it made no difference at all. I guess that editing the file info is the only other thing to try, but that won't be easy since this computer is not on any network, and I don't have a networked computer with a 3.5 inch disk drive or zip drive to transfer files. I will have to plug in an Ethernet cable and try to get connected.

Offline mb66

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2018, 04:20:21 PM »
I found the problem and I had completely mis-diagnosed what had happened. When I started the computer earlier this month for the first time in about a year, the date had come up to some time in 1956 or so and I couldn't open the Quickbooks files.  I have restarted it about a half dozen times in the last two weeks and it always booted fine on OS9. Today, I was trying to run a version of Netscape (the only browser on the machine), so I could hopefully download a new browser and then Filebuddy. The machine crashed (froze), and upon power-cycling it came up on OSX (10.2.6) from, I believe, 2003. Everything (Quickbooks, the only application used on this machine) worked fine - the datafile was accessible.

Not sure I really know why it started on OSX today, but my problem is solved, at least temporarily. Could this be related to the dead battery/date problem or is it likely to be something else? Any thoughts?

Offline GaryN

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2018, 06:18:49 PM »
Not sure I really know why it started on OSX today, but my problem is solved, at least temporarily. Could this be related to the dead battery/date problem ?
YES.

Offline mb66

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2018, 01:36:24 PM »
It appears that this was not a dead battery either. It looks like after something caused the machine to boot to OS9, then slight differences in the file properties caused the Quickbooks datafile to be unreadable as well as the date/time. Whatever made the machine startup on OS9 was static for weeks until a crash, after which it booted on OSX (10.2 Jaguar) where everything is back to normal. Even the date/time is set accurately (which I had never manually reset on OS9).

Any ideas on what really happened? Or how to prevent this in the future. Can I delete OS9 from the machine entirely so it can't ever boot there? Or some better idea?  (Since I won't be using the machine again until tax season next year, I may forget again what the correct OS version is. Although going through this this year will probably make me remember.:)  This machine will stay on OSX 10.2 as long as it keeps working.)

Offline macStuff

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2018, 02:15:44 PM »
i just went thru a similar issue with my B+W G3.. the year was set to 1970 something somehow
and i was surprised that, via the date + time control panel, i was able to sync to time server still.. in 2018!
which set the proper date/time
aka chrisNova777 aka superNova777 aka geforceG4 | >>> http://www.oldschooldaw.com

Offline GaryN

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2018, 04:14:38 PM »
It appears that this was not a dead battery either. It looks like after something caused the machine to boot to OS9, then slight differences in the file properties caused the Quickbooks datafile to be unreadable as well as the date/time. Whatever made the machine startup on OS9 was static for weeks until a crash, after which it booted on OSX (10.2 Jaguar) where everything is back to normal. Even the date/time is set accurately (which I had never manually reset on OS9).
I got curious and dug into your issue. You should read this: https://www.macworld.com/article/1002820/QuickBooksPro5.html

It points out how QB5/Mac is is crap version with lots of problems. it was evidently not much more of a carbonized version of QB4 - carbonized so it would run on either OS9 or OSX. It's not surprising that despite that alleged ability, it evidently can't recognize its own files on one OS or another. Couple that with the fact that 10.2 is hardly a perfected OS itself, and anything can (and apparently does) happen.

You also almost certainly do have a dead or at least a very weak battery. The startup system selection on dual-boot machines is one of the parameters held in PRAM, and PRAM requires a working battery to hold data reliably. The fact that the computer reset its own time/date is a feature of OSX you evidently aren't aware of.
Any ideas on what really happened? Or how to prevent this in the future. Can I delete OS9 from the machine entirely so it can't ever boot there? Or some better idea?  (Since I won't be using the machine again until tax season next year, I may forget again what the correct OS version is. Although going through this this year will probably make me remember.:)  This machine will stay on OSX 10.2 as long as it keeps working.)
As explained above, what happened is you have an old computer with old OS's and an old battery incapable of maintaining the settings for a whole year. To answer your questions:
1. You can absolutely delete OS9 entirely by simply locating the OS9 System Folder and deleting it. This will cause you to be dependent on 10.2 so you better make sure that everything you need works in OSX first.

2. The best way to prevent this in the future is to not leave your tax returns entirely dependent on an ancient piece of crappy software running on an old operating system (that I wonder if you have any original discs of) sitting in a closet depending on an old battery……do I really need to continue?

Some observations…
Tax returns are a pain in the ass.
Having tax software is supposed to lessen that pain.
Computers and applications and data need to be maintained - at least minimally if you want it all to work when you're staring at April 15th.
Almost nothing will cause more unnecessary grief in your life that f**ing up your taxes.
Quickbooks 5 is was a lousy app to begin with and is now completely obsolete.

At least, get a new PRAM battery, backup your apps and data and consider updating your tools a little. You never said exactly which old Mac you're using, but at least updating it's OS to something newer than 10.2 would be a prudent move.

Offline mb66

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2018, 08:54:49 AM »
The machine is a Power Mac G3 beige tower.

I'm still not sure if it reset the date/time automatically since it's not on any network and would have no place from which to get the date/time, or somehow OSX was reading it from PRAM while OS9 wasn't. (I did plug in an Ethernet cable to a router, but never got internet connectivity before the crash/restart on OSX - maybe the router works as a time server?).

If I delete the OS9 System Folder, how does that prevent the machine from trying to boot on OS9? I'm wondering if this could still happen and with the OS9 Folder gone, and the machine wouldn't boot at all.  Is there something else necessary to remove OS9 completely so the BIOS (or whatever Apple calls it) doesn't try to run OS9. Or is merely deleting the folder sufficient.

I understand your advice about backups and updates, but I don't want to put any effort or time or money into this. Hopefully, the machine will keep working (running Quickbooks 5.0 for a few hours once a year) until we close this company. If not, I have enough information on the paper copies of the tax returns to continue on a different machine/environment if necessary. It's hard to make backups since the machine is not on a network and the removable media it has (floppy/Zip drive) still require the machine to work to be useful. I will definitely replace the battery and see what happens next year.

Offline GaryN

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Re: File type not correct
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2018, 01:08:10 PM »
I'm still not sure if it reset the date/time automatically since it's not on any network and would have no place from which to get the date/time, or somehow OSX was reading it from PRAM while OS9 wasn't. (I did plug in an Ethernet cable to a router, but never got internet connectivity before the crash/restart on OSX - maybe the router works as a time server?).
You know, when trying to diagnose / advise on tech issues over the internet, all anyone can do is make their best educated guesses based on the information provided. I have no way to actually test your PRAM battery, evaluate your internet connectivity or be able to definitively tell exactly what happened. If you plugged into a router and connected OSX to the internet, that's probably where it got the date / time from - it certainly didn't come to it psychically.

If I delete the OS9 System Folder, how does that prevent the machine from trying to boot on OS9? I'm wondering if this could still happen and with the OS9 Folder gone, and the machine wouldn't boot at all.  Is there something else necessary to remove OS9 completely so the BIOS (or whatever Apple calls it) doesn't try to run OS9. Or is merely deleting the folder sufficient.
The machine looks for boot-able systems at startup. Deleting the OS9 folder will do it. This shouldn't be a big deal. If you must startup the computer only once a year, simply hold the option key down while it powers up. It will then present you with a simple screen showing the two bootable systems and you can select OSX.

I understand your advice about backups and updates, but I don't want to put any effort or time or money into this. Hopefully, the machine will keep working (running Quickbooks 5.0 for a few hours once a year) until we close this company. If not, I have enough information on the paper copies of the tax returns to continue on a different machine/environment if necessary. It's hard to make backups since the machine is not on a network and the removable media it has (floppy/Zip drive) still require the machine to work to be useful. I will definitely replace the battery and see what happens next year.
It's your company, your tax returns, your computer and your ass you have to protect. I have no idea how big or complex your files and returns are or what's at stake for you. However, I can only advise you how any reasonable person would: and I absolutely recommend you take some kind of steps to protect the integrity of your data - you fail to do that at your own risk.