FMP 12 cannot open and convert yoru file. It's too old a version. You'll need to use FMP 11 to open and convert your files to .fp7 format (This format was used for versions 7 through 11) and then you'd use fmp 12 to open and convert them to 12.
You can use this 30 day free trial download of FMP 11 to convert your files to .fp7 format: http://info.filemaker.com/Us_en_FileMaker_Pro_11_Trial.html
There have been a lot of changes since 5.5. You'll need to work with your converted files to get them fully functional in Fmp 11 or 12. Indexing of text fields is different passwords are managed differently. Some scripts that in 5.5 open and put the focus in a new window will need modification and so forth.
KnowledgeBase articles you'll want to read:
One long time rule: if it works, don't break it.
It used to be possible in Macs to open OS A and then restart and open OS B. Don't know if that can still be done nor do I remember all of the little tricks. You can, however boot from another internal disk or from an external disk, even connect to another Mac via cable and boot and run that Mac.
OK, so what I am saying is to create a set up that retains all of your current working stuff if only the OS and FileMaker. USB drives are really cheap and you could even use a flash drive, I think.
So, now you have two operating systems. I'd put the new OS on the second drive and leave the debugged OS on the internal.
You will encounter bugs and things that need to be fixed when you make the upgrade to 12 or any fp7 application, 7 - 11.
You do not want these problems to affect your money files so you will retain the working OS as above.
When you have free time, boot into the new OS and first convert your file and then test it to see what breaks, needs fixing or can be updated. There are lots of new toys and you can spend a lifetime playing with them.
If you are lucky, your converted file will run without requiring any fixing but if you are that lucky buy a lotto ticket.
Since you say a zillion old files let me recommend that you absolutely keep the old OS if only for FIlemaker. A zillion files may mean tons of years of updating, maybe not.
You can download a 30 day trial of 12 and test the updating to see if you want to do this.
- keep the old OS on a drive you can boot from to run FIlemaker 5.
- add a second drive, internal or external to load the new OS and copy over your other files. Be sure to update them.
- you might be able to use multifinder to switch between the OSes, etc. Been a while...
- partitions might work for these OS installs, been a while.
Can't think of the name right now but there are one or more apps that let you run various OSes simultaneously...
Thanks guys. As usual, one little requirement ripples out over everythign else:
All I wanted in the forced iCloud change was to be able to sync up Calendars and Address Books again from iPhone to desktop...!! And thus Lion and all the updates, away from the PowerPC generation.
FM had been hinkier in recent years and upgrades, obviously, but still worked. I used to update FM religiously until I realized I was wasting money for no reason on unneeded features and glitz. But it was the first Mac software I actyally bought and delved into--even before MS Word and etc--becasue it did what I needed back in 1988: database the new Star Trek. And I configured/printed pages for self-published books, led to pro writing, and built a career on it.
Just in case:
If I upgrade files to fp7 relatively easily, then have troubles upgrading them again to fp12 ... how long will FMP 11 be viable to use with recent Mac OS X's like Lion and Mountain LIon?
There's no way to know that. It should work with current releases of the Mac OS, but I doubt that even the Apple engineers could answer the question as to which future release of the OS will render fmp 11 non-functional.