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Converting PFS to Access

Posted on 2013-01-16
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Last Modified: 2013-03-20
So I've managed to stumble upon a fun one.

A client is using a program named PFS, which was written in 1984 to store their data.  A recent upgrade to Windows 7 64-bit has made it apparent to them that they need to upgrade.

It would be awesome to port the data over to Access instead of having to manually move the data over (there's a lot).  After some furious Googling, the best I've seen is that PFS v2.0 will export to dbase III, and from there I can covert it to Access.  The biggest issue is that this appears to be PFS v1.0, which means no export function.

I am able to view some of the data if I open the database flat file in Notepad++, however there is no easy way to parse the data as far as I can tell.

So DB gurus.  Let me know if you can think of anything that will help get the data converted.  Thanks a ton!
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Question by:LouisvilleGeek
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12 Comments
 
LVL 120

Expert Comment

by:Rey Obrero (Capricorn1)
ID: 38783243
if you can save the records in a text file, there is a chance that it  can be imported to an Access table, but it may not be a direct importation of the records.
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Author Comment

by:LouisvilleGeek
ID: 38783319
I can't export to a text file, but I can print.

From what I understand, I should be able to emulate a DOS printer and then have the output as a text file.  Thoughts?
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Expert Comment

by:Rey Obrero (Capricorn1)
ID: 38783365
well i guess if that is the only way, then it will be worth to try.
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Author Comment

by:LouisvilleGeek
ID: 38783382
I'm doing it now, but there aren't any clear delimiters.

There has to be a way to access the database.  After all this was written in 1984, it cannot be that complicated.

I've loaded the database in a hex editor as well to see if I can figure out where the fields are defined and then work from there.  Any additional input that you guys can provide would be great though.

After all, I can't be the only person who's had to deal with this, right?
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LVL 120

Expert Comment

by:Rey Obrero (Capricorn1)
ID: 38783504
sorry, but i have never been unlucky to encounter the kind of db you have in your hands right now.. ;-)

if you can see the field definition, then it will be a walk in the park.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Helen Feddema
ID: 38783719
Can you post a screen shot of what the data looks like in Notepad+?  Can you print it to a PDF file, using the Adobe Acrobat printer, and then try to import it from the PDF into Word?  That import (in my experience) doesn't get everything correct, but it might be close enough to be some use.
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Gustav Brock
ID: 38784610
We've successfully used WordPort for this.
Check out it's successor FileMerlin:

http://www.file-convert.com/fmn_ff.htm

/gustav
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LVL 62

Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 38786088
Better import into SQL server instead of MDB, that allows network sharing and lots of fun with data...

BTW who makes PFS database?
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Author Comment

by:LouisvilleGeek
ID: 38794188
First of all, thanks to everyone for all the help so far, this is huge.

Helen_Feddema, I've attached a screenshot of what Notepad++ is displaying at present.  What's extremely odd is that several weeks ago it displayed legible characters.  Or in other words is was pretty much plain text, with random characters between entries.  Now whenever I open the database files, the output resembles what I've attached.  Any idea what could of caused this?  I've tried switching the document encoding, but it was relatively fruitless.

Cactus_data, I've tried that utility, but it refuses to recognize the formats for the databases.  Any suggestions?  Seeing as how you've done this before, any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

Gheist, the PFS database is actually a database from pfs:File.  PFS was an office suite of sorts written by the now defunct Software Publishing Corporation.
notepadExample.PNG
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Gustav Brock
ID: 38794279
We used WordPort to convert both databases and documents, and it even kept the local character set.

I would contact the folks at au1@acii.com and raise the issue.
Providing a sample of your data would probably be helpful.

/gustav
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Accepted Solution

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gheist earned 1000 total points
ID: 38796414
Try openoffice - it allows to load aligned databases into excel-like calc... Or non-comma separated tables etc.
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Author Closing Comment

by:LouisvilleGeek
ID: 39003266
ok
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