My employer is currently using a database build in Borland Visual dBase 5.5 that has been running on a Windows 95 machine for the last 20 years. I am trying to figure out my best course of action to bring this database into the 21st century, but my knowledge of databases is beginner at best and I'm looking for advice. The problem is compounded by the fact that the original designer had a massive stroke before she was able to complete it. It was functional enough for my employer to use it and he has been by using work-arounds for the few things that just do not function 100% correctly. There are a good number of quality of life features that I'd like to implement as well.
Current options I've come up with:
Move the database to a virtual machine on my Win10 machine, learn Visual dBase 5.5 and attempt to fix all the things that do not work correctly. Pros: Would not be starting from scratch. Cons: My understanding of VMs is that there will be difficulties transferring data from VM to host since the VM OS is pre-Win 2000.
Learn a newer database system and rebuild the database, hopefully being able to import the existing data. Re-entering data is an option. It would be me doing it, I don't want to but I will. Pros: Will be functional on current OS and database system/software will still have support. Cons: A lot more work creating the database and possibly re-entering data.
Other info that may be helpful:
There are multiple databases, two of which have 13,000 records each and are currently gaining 1,000-1,500 new records per database per year.
We are using the native Crystal Reports for direct printing of documents, but I would like the ability to edit the individual documents prior to printing when necessary if possible.
I have some programming background, mostly C++, but no real database creation/support knowledge. However, I'm willing to dive into whatever I need to work on this project, just not sure what is the best route at this point. I'm also open to suggestions for software/languages if I need to just start over.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!