you cant open your old Clarisworks/Appleworks with Pages, unfortunately.
However, you can use a free word processing suite to at least open and read them (but not make edits). From there you can save them into a more modern format or copy/paste the text into Pages if you wish.
LibreOffice is available here: https://www.libreoffice.org/
Install LibreOffice, and then you can launch it.
choose Open (From the File menu) and then drag your ClarisWorks file into its Open dialog. The conversion is unlikely to be perfect, but should be usable.
If you're having trouble finding the documents, you can perform a search.
In the Finder, press Command-F, click On This Mac at the top left (to make you are searching the entire Mac), then use the drop-down menu to select Kind is Other. In the text field to the right of this, type in AppleWorks. Any Clarisworks or Appleworks documents should appear.
LibreOffice is used to open them but it won't find them for you.
If a search does not reveal the files then it may be best to restore the files from your backup. Upgrading OS X would not remove the files themselves unless you elected to erase the drive in the process but given that the folders are still there then this doesn't seem to be the case.
Are all the folders completely empty?
Ok, that's unfortunate. Do you have a back up of these documents?
Is this a Time Machine back up or was it made in another way?
Ok, if you browse Time Machine to the earliest back up point does the folder remain empty?
And the folders in question remain empty up to that point?
Do you have another OS X Mac to look at the Simple Tech drive? If not, the drive should work with the proper Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter. A driver disk would not be needed on newer versions of OS X.
Also, are you browsing the Time machine back up drive via the Finder directly? You might try using the normal Time Machine viewer to browse back ups of a specific folder more quickly.
It may be easiest to copy the files to a folder in iCLoud Drive via the web browser on the laptop.
In Safari on the laptop, go to https://www.icloud.com/
Sign in and open iCloud Drive
You can then create a new folder there and drag your documents into it.
Once complete, you can copy them from iCloud drive on your newer Mac.
Then use LibreOffice to open them.
Glad you found them but it's curious they didn't show up earlier during the search. However, the important thing is they still exist!
If you hope to eventually open them in Pages then your best bet is to save each document as an RTF or Microsoft Word file. You may have to experiment to see which provides the best conversion for your specific files. You should then be able to import them into Pages and save to iCloud Drive. You can also try doing a copy/paste of the text from LibreOffice directly into Pages.
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