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How to edit an application.exe

Posted on 2006-11-14
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Last Modified: 2008-03-17
I believe a software that has an extenstion .exe was created in Visual Basic. I am not sure if it was created in VB 5.0, 6.0, .NET, or Visual Studio. How can I upload an .exe file inside of Visual Basic. 5.0, or .NET and make modifications to the software?
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Question by:gregwestmoreland
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8 Comments
 
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by:gregwestmoreland
ID: 17943811
Any help would be appreciated. :)
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Mike Tomlinson earned 125 total points
ID: 17943952
You're not a programmer are you?...

An EXE file is simply a compiled "executable" program.  The .exe extension is NOT associated with any particular language.  It could be VB, VB.Net, C#, C, C++, Delphi, or any other of the numerous languages out there.

If you really want to know what an EXE "is" then read:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EXE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Executable

Furthermore...in general you can't simply take an EXE and load it up in a development environment and modify it.  Depending on the source language and compiler used, it is ~sometimes~ possible to decompile an EXE to get source code back.  For most pieces of software, though, this is illegal as it violates the EULA (end user license agreement).

What is it you are attempting to do here?...
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by:gregwestmoreland
ID: 17949763
Then how do I modify a software pack into a programming language?
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Expert Comment

by:Fernando Soto
ID: 17949938
Hi gregwestmoreland;

You will need the source code, the text version of the program to be able to make modifications.

As Idle_Mind pointed out if you only have the exe file you will need to decompile the exe file into a text version if one exist for the source language that was used to compile the original exe file.

Fernando
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Tomlinson
ID: 17950813
If you give us more SPECIFIC information about your situation then we can probably tell you whether or nor what you want can be achieved.  There is always the possibility that we can't determine the original language or that we actually can't help you further due to EE policies.
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by:gregwestmoreland
ID: 17956394
I began working for a very small company 3 months ago. The company has a database driven program that allows private schools to keep records of grades and information for their students. The original software developer has since left the company and we are looking to do an update on the software. My department supervisor asked me to look and see which language it was written in so we can make an update on the work that was already done. We would not be breaking the EULA because our company owns the EULA. That is the situation.

Also, do I decompile the .exe file with a special software? I have very limited programming code. If I can find out which language it was written in, I can modify the look of the software and work on an update for my company. Thanks for all input so far.
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by:Mike Tomlinson
ID: 17956636
Have you started your investigation "low tech" at all?  How long ago did the person leave?  Is the computer they worked at still in the office?  If so, what development environments are installed on it?  In the software, are there any Help --> About screens?  Can you determine if there are any external files being used?  Is there an obvious file that is the database part of the app?  If so, what is its extension? etc...
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Author Comment

by:gregwestmoreland
ID: 17958950
It has been about a year since that person left, and no I do not have access to the computer they created the program under. It uses MS Access database files and reports to save the information to. Extension .mdb
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