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Patching VB5 Executable

Posted on 2013-11-11
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Last Modified: 2013-11-12
Hello,

I have a VB5 executable in which I need to change some ASCII text strings.  The program executes correctly, but I need to change some text strings on the "About" menu choice.  I cannot rebuild the project (even though I still have the VB5 IDE), because some of the 3rd party controls I used are no longer available / supported, and I cannot get VB5 to compile the project correctly.

Within the program on the "About" page, I have an address that I would like to change:

e.g.:
       111 Fourth Street

to    222 Ninth Street

Is it possible to do this?  I realize that the length of the strings must be exactly the same, so I may need to pad the new string with spaces, if it ends up being too short.  If it ends up being longer, I may have a bigger problem.

Any help / suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks..Tom
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Question by:tpigielski
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5 Comments
 
LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Martin Liss
ID: 39640621
Have you opened the VBP file in the VB5 IDE?
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Martin Liss
ID: 39640626
I ask because I recompile VB6 projects all the time with controls like some if the Sheridan controls that are no longer available.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Martin Liss
ID: 39640627
of not if
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LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:aikimark
ID: 39640928
All the string literals will be stored in Unicode format.  You will not find a "111 Fourth Street", but will likely find "1 1 1   F o u r t h   S t r e e t ".

I do not think you will be able to change the lengths of these strings.
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Accepted Solution

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HooKooDooKu earned 500 total points
ID: 39642686
You will simply need to get a hex editor and carefully modify the text (an ASCII lookup table will come in handy too.

One that I like to use is Hex Workshop: http://download.cnet.com/Hex-Workshop/3000-2352_4-10004918.html  It comes with a month free trial... I found it useful enough that I got my employer to purchase a copy.

If you have a copy of visual studio, you can also open your exe with that in binary form.

While your string MIGHT be in unicode (in which case, I believe you will likely find your text with each letter padded with a null character) you might also find it as a normal string.

I was able to create a sample EXE in VB6 that simply displays "111 Fourth Street" in a label.  When I edited the EXE with Hex Workshop, I found the text in plain ASCII (rather than Unicode... don't know why though).  Using an ASCII table, I was able to update the text to "222 Ninth Street " and the program executed fine.
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