Determining Program language and how to decompile

Posted on 2005-04-16
Last Modified: 2009-12-16
I have no programming experience.  I have some compiled code that I need to make a very small modification to.  Can it be determined what programming language was used to create the compiled code below?  And can anyone recommend a program that can decompile the code?  The software is a very basic POS program.  The entire program fits on a floppy disk (I don't know if this provides any hints).

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Question by:AdamKarp

    Expert Comment

    There is a reference to Cobol runtime library. My guess is this is a Cobol program. You might want to install cobol components on your PC and run the program. Hopefully it might work.
    LVL 55

    Assisted Solution

    by:Jaime Olivares
    Which language?
    Ismaily is OK

    How to decompile?
    There is possible just in movies. Will take less time to write a new application in any language.

    LVL 44

    Accepted Solution

    jaime olivares is about 99.999% correct - It is essentially impossible the decompile an EXE ( the .001 % might be the rare instance where the program was VERY BASIC, and had been written in C# - but NOT any version of COBOL).

    In other words, forget about decompiling this program.

    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    If you're any good at Assembly Language, then you can disassemble the EXE into ASM, then make some alterations there; it's really not easy to do though, but just so that you know all possibilities ;)
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    however, just to clarify InteractiveMind's respnse, DECOMPILE and DISASSEMBLE are almosty totally different processes.  DECOMPILE in concept, gets you back to the original programming language, where disassemble gets you to an intermediate Assembly language version of the code, which is 1 step removed from the actually machine language code that the CPU in the PC actually executes.  Making patches to code in assembly is a very exacting process and should not be attempted if you are not intimately familiar with the specifics of the CPU and assembly language being used in your PC.

    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    InteractiveMind>>  the orginal questions states "I have no programming experience", so the ASM path is clearly not a choice to even contemplate.

    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    > "I have no programming experience", so the ASM path is clearly not a choice to even contemplate
    Ah, I skim-read the question; didn't spot that. Cheers.
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

        You would probably be best off contacting whoever gave you the program, requesting the change you need.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    whats the small change you want to make? if it is something like you want to change a message that appears then it is fairly easy to do that sort of thing, if you want to change the flow of the app then that is harder.

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