Q. I have old backup files in Partition Magic’s DataKeeper’s .dkb format. But I’ve lost the original program to open or recover the files. The files contain old family vacation pictures, valuable documents, and other stuff I’d really like to recover. I’ve tried countless file converters and viewers, but none seems to know .dkb or work with it at all. What’s the best way to get these files opened and converted to a usable format?

​A. PowerQuest’s Datakeeper shipped with some versions of Partition Magic many years ago, but it was discontinued after the Symantec acquisition, way back in 2003

(Supersite Editor's Note: There's a message board post dating to April 7, 2008 where Tony Weiss, Norton Forums Community Manager, writes, "At this time, there are no plans to update Partition Magic. I apologize for the inconvenience; please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!")

I could find no current product that claims to be able to read or use old Datakeeper-format files.

So, I then checked a number of abandonware libraries (here's the Wikipedia definition) — collections of old/obsolete software versions whose copyright has expired, and/or whose original publisher no longer offers or maintains them. I wanted to see whether the original publisher still exists.

I looked through the following sites:

And, even though Datakeeper wasn’t freeware, I also tried the Last Freeware Version site, just in case.

Datakeeper isn’t a game, but, to be completely thorough, I also checked several sites that have primarily game-oriented abandonware.

Alas, I couldn’t find Datakeeper anywhere. I’m guessing that PowerQuest/Symantec still holds an active copyright, making third-party redistribution illegal. 

I think your best — perhaps only — alternative is to scrounge for an old copy of Datakeeper or perhaps a copy of pre-2009 Partition Magic that someone has tucked away on a shelf.

The Windows Secrets Lounge area, local computer clubs, Craigslist, and similar resources might be of help.

I don’t have a copy of the Datakeeper license to review, but if the owner of an old copy of the software is willing to sell or give you their original installation disks (while retaining no copy of the software themselves) the license would likely transfer to you along with the original installation disks — and thus would likely be valid.

Good luck in your quest! It’s a good reminder to us all to ensure that old but important files don’t become marooned — no longer accessible — as technology changes.

(Originally published on Windows Secrets on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.)

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