DOS based program help

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Julian Reville, Oct 11, 2002.

  1. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    I have some old DOS based programs that I bought
    years ago, and they are no longer supported by their
    originators. These are medical, data-base type
    programs that cost a lot of money ($500-2500). I need to change a few things in them (address, telephone number, zip
    code) that prints on the invoices.

    I have no idea how to do this as there is no option
    to change stuff like this. I imagine it can only be
    changed through some kind of programming language.

    Can anyone recommend a book that can teach me the
    right kind of language for something like this?
     
  2. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    Most programs cannot be changed even if you know programming. Programs you run are usually compiled into an exe (and other files) and can only be changed if you were to crack it.

    If it can be changed, it would have to be though some sort of configuration file which had the settings for the program.
     
  3. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    These aren't executable files, they are 3 of them that have small fields that need to have characters in them changed and the files are 1-3 KB. Looking at the files with Wordpad, some of the stuff is written in English, there are many little boxes, lots of blanks, and some of that wierd computer symbol stuff. I suspect those are the fields I need to change.

    Maybe I need to try to track down one of the original programmers and see if I can pay him to change this stuff for me.
     
  4. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    Julian,

    I would try this:
    1. Make copies of the original config files. The ones that you opened in Word pad. Make sure you store them safely, either in another directory or on a floppy or something.
    2. Then start playing around with them, editing them little by little if you can. Use Notepad or some other text only editor. Wordpad might work but I think Notepad would be safer.
    3. After each little change, say the old name to the new name, re-run the program to see if your changes take effect and don't crash the app.

    They're probably data files that you won't be able to easily decode. But if you see the text you need to change, you can at least give it a try.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    What are the names of the files? More to the point, the file extensions might indicate the type of file.

    If you can actually find the telephone number and zip in them, you can probably change it. A hex/binary editor would even safer than a text editor like Notepad.

    The same goes for the address, but odds are you must maintain the exact same length. If the new address is shorter, you have to pad with spaces at the end; if longer, you'll have to abbreviate. You can't move anything in the file, or change its size (unless you really know what you're doing).

    //Ken
     
  6. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    the file names are :
    constant.vm$
    index1.di$
    topic.vm#

    what is a hex/binary editor and where do I get one?
     

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