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AOL Backup files won't open...

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This is my first time here, after exhausting the "help" at AOL. I am not sure if this is the right forum, I hope so, & hope someone can help, I am at the end oif my rope......
Basically, every time over the years that I "upgraded" from one version of aol to another, I was always careful and talked to someone there (for naught, apparently)-I didn't want to lose my stored files etc.
Well I now desperately need stuff in aol 8 (I have 9 now) and absolutely can't get to it. I can view the syst infor for aol via the start menu, and for all versions (7,8, & 9), I can see the organizer folder, with a lot of data in the type of file called "file", ie my stuff I backed up or whatever when upgrading.
I also see it in the backupfolder and in common folder.
But I can't open it. For example, I opened aol 7, then went to file, open, browsed & found the folder in order to access that cache. AOL swiftly sent me a popup saying they didnt support the file type, should they proceed anyway? yes.
what appeared was some unreadable computer language, same thing for all versions.
I again saved the backups, went into each version, and under manage mail opted for restore, which allegedly will restore the old stuff. That didn't work either.
Why is aol so unbelievably difficult? What's going on?
What can I do?
Besides get rid of aol, which I am going to once I get the things I need, which I'm no longer hopeful about.
Mary Ellen
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