To give you a sense of how old the program is, when WordPerfect 5.1 was released in 1989, Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" was a No. 1 hit, and Milli Vanilli was all the rage.
My first reaction is to tell the Frankenfields to upgrade their computer, operating system and word processor, but it's obvious that they like what WordPerfect 5.1 does for them. That's OK to a point.
At least they won't have to worry about it for another year. Yes, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP, but not until April 2014.
But just because Microsoft will stop supporting its operating system doesn't mean you have to stop using that version of Windows XP. True, the company won't be putting out any more patches to fix bugs or security holes, but given that XP has been out for so long, I would imagine nearly all the bugs have been ironed out.
Yet time does march forward, and eventually the Frankenfields will have to upgrade their computer and software if ever they want to use a newer program.
But if they do get a new computer, the newest version of Windows installed on it Windows 8 will not run old DOS-based (Disk Operating System) software without the use of an emulator program such as DOSBox, which the Frankenfields said will not run WordPerfect.
My suggestion is they keep their old computer with Windows XP and WordPerfect for whatever uses they need. I would imagine the computer is probably too old to effectively run a more current operating system or software. If she likes WordPerfect so much, there's no reason not to keep using it until her writing job requires the use of more advanced features that aren't in that version of the word processor.
If there comes a time when they want to get new software, they may want to look at a new computer while keeping the old one for writing.
Then they can perhaps consider getting a new word processing program such as the free Open Office suite and spend some time learning what it can do. The features in word processors today are far beyond what WordPerfect can accomplish.
I understand that we all have attachments to a favorite piece of software that feels like a long-lasting relationship, and, as a result, breaking up is hard to do. But at the risk of sounding like a Nicholas Sparks movie, sometimes we just have to move on.
If you have a tech question for Vince, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he'll try to answer it for his column in The Salt Lake Tribune or on its website. For an archive of past columns, go to www.sltrib.com/topics/ohmytech.