Let's fix your lack of a really compatibilty Word editor.
Go get and install OPEN OFFICE from http://www.openoffice.org
Do they open now?
Thanks to your help I can say that wordpad is happily installed. And it opens.
However, all my other word documents do not open. A window comes up with the text: Can not load Word for Windows 6.0 files. I have no idea what happened, but I need to find a way to open them because otherwise I lose 20 years of research. Changing the format to txt. messes up the contents.
What am I going to do?????