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How to open .PRG and .BAK files

Posted on 2008-06-21
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Last Modified: 2013-11-24
Dear Experts.
I have several database files from 1996 that I need to open. These files have the extension PRG and BAK. I do not know the origninal program that was used to create these files but it might have been foxpro??? as on the same CD where these old files are, there are dbf files that I can easily open (after importing to SAS).
I do not have Foxpro installed on my computer. How can I open those PRG and BAK files??  My OS is Windows XP pro.
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Question by:gtomasson
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:CarlWarner
ID: 21838353
The FoxPro .prg files we are used to seeing are simply ASCII files.  If you want to see what's in one, use NotePad.exe within Windows to open it and take a peek.

The .BAK files are simply backup files created when a save was done to an original.  Again, use NotePad.exe to see what's in them.  You may not need them if a similar file name exists with a .prg extension.
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by:CarlWarner
ID: 21838361
If you see any other odd file extensions, here is a link to what they may be if indeed they are all under the FoxPro file umbrella:

File Extensions and File Types
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/h9yfa0t1(VS.80).aspx
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Author Comment

by:gtomasson
ID: 21838401
Thank you. When I look at these files in notepad I only see irregular symbols/letter (nothing meaningful). I take it therefore that these are not Foxpro files?
Is there any way of finding out what these files are.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:CarlWarner
ID: 21838610
A .prg is an ASCII program file under dBASE/Clipper/FoxPro.  So, if you see odd characters, it was either encrypted or belongs to another program environment.  Surely if you have these files you know their source.  ???
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Author Comment

by:gtomasson
ID: 21842661
I should know but I got those files on a CD from a person that has now Idea where those files originally came from.
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Expert Comment

by:CarlWarner
ID: 21842714
What other file extensions (suffixes) are on that CD?  That may give us more clues.
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Expert Comment

by:jrbbldr
ID: 21846345
BAK files may be, as Carl says above, a Backup version of a PRG file.  

But it may also be a backup version of a DBF file which would have been created when the DBF file had its structure changed.   If this were the case, if you tried to open these files in Notepad, you would indeed see irregular characters within it.

Regardless, as Carl says above, if there is a file with the same name, then the BAK file is most likely not important.
Example:     MyCode.PRG   &   MyCode.BAK
                                    or
                   MyTable.DBF   &   MyTable.BAK

Have you done as Carl suggests and look at the other file extensions and compare them to those on the reference webpage he gave you above to confirm if the files are most likely Foxpro or not?

Good Luck,
JRB-Bldr
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Author Comment

by:gtomasson
ID: 21847279
Thanks a lot for your help. The BAK files have unique filenames, that is there are none of the other files that have the same name but of another type.

The other files that were on the CD have the endings .dat  .eng  .sdr  .dia   and .itr
Most of those files are very small and I doubt there are large databases in those files.

Regards.
gt.
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by:CarlWarner
ID: 21847559
The .dat files could be so many programs that it's ridiculous.

However, the one I ran across recently was for Clarion, a DOS database application a customer was running.
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Expert Comment

by:jrbbldr
ID: 21848287
If you look for DBF file extensions on    
   http://filext.com/alphalist.php?extstart=^D  
you will see a number of programs associated with that file extension.

You might want to look around that reference for the variety of file extensions that you see to determine if there is a common program associated with most of them.

Alternatively the application developers can optionally use different (non-standard) file extensions for data tables within a Foxpro application.  These other extensions might be used to organize data table  content type, to confuse people attempting to steal their software or other reasons.

Good Luck,
JRB-Bldr
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Accepted Solution

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CarlWarner earned 750 total points
ID: 21854199
If Clarion rings a bell and you want to try and see if a .DAT file converts from Clarion, get the free 30-day trial demo from here:

ABC Amber Clarion Converter
http://www.processtext.com/abcclarion.html

Demo:
http://www.thebeatlesforever.com/processtext/abcclar.zip
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Expert Comment

by:sbafna74
ID: 21872795
it may be a database file and if you have not tampered any charater in that file and you said you dont have foxpro installed in your pc it is highly recommended to get it installed first then you can open those files in foxpro and see what it is

if at all not possible to install foxpro then rename the ext of the file to .dbf and try to import it into ms acess if it is a database file then it must import in ms access
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