Until recently, I have stuck with Windows XP and did all my spreadsheets in Microsoft Works. Now I’ve moved to Windows 8 and can’t open those old “.xlr” data files. What’s my solution?
One of the least discussed aspects of migrating from an older version of an operating system to a newer one, or from one to another one entirely (like Mac to Windows or vice-versa), is that programs you learn to rely on suddenly vanish, either replaced by newer programs or simply obsoleted, done, kaput. In the latter case particularly, data files can end up obsolete, with no program on the modern system able to read the older file formats.
My Dad continues to bump into this problem after he finally migrated to Windows 8 after years and years of working in Window XP, even to having problems with clip art where his thousands of images went from easily browsed to inaccessible. Sure he can buy new ones and replace them, but why is it that the cost of upgrades too often includes repurchasing content or program we already own?
Anyway, the XLR files are a prime example of this, as you now know all too well. What’s cool is that there’s a really neat way to solve the problem using, of all things, Google Docs.
First off, in Windows 8, here’s what an unknown file type looks like on the desktop:
Double click on it and Win8 tells you the bad news:
You can look in the Windows App Store and you won’t find anything that matches “XLR” unfortunately.
So instead, here’s what we’re going to do: we’re just going to change the filename suffix.
Right click on the file icon:
And, you guessed it, choose “Rename”.
Then simply change the suffix to “.xls” from “.xlr”:
That’s cool, just click “Yes” and proceed.
But, hmm… even with this, you might not have Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program, so even renamed with the “.xls” suffix, you might still see this:
So instead, we’re going to let Google Docs do the heavy lifting here.
Log in to your Google account then go to Google Drive…
The arrow above the flat line? That’s the upload button. I mean, totally intuitive graphic, right?
Click on it and upload the .xls file:
Once it’s uploaded, the file will appear on your Google Drive list:
and now, just click on it to open the file:
And there ya go. Finally opened up the file so I could read it. Quite a few hoops, but now you now how to do it, I think you could step through this process pretty darn quickly next time.
And a hat tip to Peggy Kelley for pointing out this neat solution for an otherwise obsolete file type.