Thankfully my PC decided that it would boot second time around. Windows is quite an unstable platform these days, I find.
A correspondent writes that there is now OCR software available which can recognise Arabic. It’s sold by Novodynamics of Michigan and called “Verus”. Sadly it is ridiculously expensive — $1300 for the “standard edition” and they don’t dare print a price for the “professional edition”.
An extraordinarily advanced OCR solution, VERUS™ Professional provides the most innovative Middle Eastern language and Asian optical character recognition in the world. VERUS™ Middle East Professional recognizes Arabic, Persian (Farsi, Dari), Pashto, Urdu, including embedded English and French. It also recognizes the Hebrew language, including embedded English. VERUS™ Asia Professional provides support for both Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean and Russian languages, including embedded English. Both products automatically detect and clean degraded and skewed documents, automatically identify a page’s primary language, and recognize a page’s fonts without manual intervention. VERUS’™ intuitive user interface allows users to quickly review and edit recognized text.
I would imagine that it should be possible to adapt this software to recognise Syriac, if the manufacturer would agree.