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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:28 pm 
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Hello - I posted this on the Apple forums and BDAqua suggested that I give it a try here as well.

I have very old (mid- to late-1990's) Excel files that were created on some version of a Mac PowerBook (I don't have records as to which model exactly). I would love to be able to open them (new technology would allow me to make use of old PhD data), but they are visible on my MacBook Pro (High Sierra 10.13.6; and other Macs and PCs that I've tried) as unix executable files. Some open within Excel, but others don't. The most important ones don't. :(

I've tried (or gotten help with):
- adding the extension (if I add xlsx it tells me no can do; if I add xls it opens as gibberish)
- opening with OpenOffice and LibreOffice
- opening with SPSS and Python
- changing the Trust Center settings on a PC (I can't find anything about this on a Mac)
- following some of the Terminal instructions that have been recommended in other posts
- reading/trying everything I could find online and in various posts about unix exec files!

Since my original post, based on replies, I've also

- Used Hex Fiend to report the first ~200 bytes: In the left pane, the first (0) row has a few numbers and letters in it other than zero. The second row has one number in it other than zero. Everything else is zeros. The right pane has a letter in the first row, another letter in the second row, otherwise blank. Screen shot here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3ah145k2zrqg4 ... M.jpg?dl=0

- Tried ILikeYouMore and Quick Change. Both just remain blank. ILikeYouMore spins the beachball for awhile, then it's like the icon "zooms" back to the Finder window that it came from, and the Creator field is just left blank. The black exec box icon remains on the left of the drag and drop windows of both programs.

- Tried a hexdump Terminal command that was recommended by a reply. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong, but it returns:
hexdump: illegal option -- /
usage: hexdump [-bcCdovx] [-e fmt] [-f fmt_file] [-n length]
[-s skip] [file ...]
hd [-bcdovx] [-e fmt] [-f fmt_file] [-n length]
[-s skip] [file ...]
(END)...skipping...

- Posted the two files in a zip format - another reply mentioned that this may help retrieve creator codes (they may have been lost when uploading to Dropbox):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/onkb6ek2h36g3 ... e.zip?dl=0

I looked through an older post (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6699560?page=3) carefully and noted that some very nice folks out there were willing to try opening the files with additional machines, operating systems and programs. I don't fully understand everything people were explaining, but it also sounded like the older Office formats were binary, and that perhaps older machines with older software would still be able to read the files? People were offering to try opening files on older machines they still had. So, in the hopes that someone out there might be willing to help with any of that, or has additional ideas for opening these files on my machine, I'd love to hear from you!

Here are links to the two most important files:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/fvtyspt6dtqkuyt/Cops95?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xw7tacd1uvtw50n/Cops96?dl=0

I've been blown away by the generosity of time and expertise on the Apple forum. Thanks in advance here as well for any suggestions or assistance!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:58 pm 
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Welcome aboard nesses95 ! :welcome:

Some of the clues Ive found in both files...
Database1)#6 7±X˝L«,ëfl@X˝L«,ëfl@ˇˇbÒˇdata/--) ª= ¨X˝L«,ëfl@X˝L«,ëfl@ˇˇ
ˇˇMSysIndexes644) ª= ∆X˝L«,ëfl@X˝L«,ëfl@ˇˇçª:44) ª
3ÄÎ÷∫ßètYC-Îœª•êzdN7 Ú›»∞ïÄjQ8#
¯‡Àµûãt_E1Ú‹≈ØôÄÏ êÏcomments
Ì ëÌFSamp
Ó íÓMSamp
Ô ìÔInter?
 îFResp
Ò ïÒLoc
Ú ñÚHarem
Û óÛ~DUR
¥Dur
Ù òÙ24hr time
¨Date
ı ôıFemTag
§F#
ˆ öˆFemale
˜ õ˜Class
¯ ú¯Rank
˘ ù˘MaleTag
˙ û˙Male
 ± FStub
˙ û˙Name
±FInvalid
ØPgnoDist
ÆIdxid
ÆFNew
ÆFClustered
ÆFUnique
 ßKeys
¶CKey
§Tblid
¨FBinary
®Colpos
ßColtyp
ßFNull
•Tblid
§Colid
˙ û˙Name
 ∆ IbVar


Hopefully somebody recognizes something, doesn't seem like an excel file to me... what all Databases did Macs have back in '95 '96 ??


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:32 pm 
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We need somebody with OS9 or such to look at it, or maybe OSX 10.6.8 or earlier that can run Shep Shaver.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:13 am 
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Just seeing if this jogs any memories that could help us narrow it down?

Form Show FormG- List Helper
Vertical Form-Format Field...D Set Font…ˇRRecords found:RBÄyî!JUPrint Records…x¯WSaveSave As…Print… Save FormFormat Text Picture Field  Number Date SummaryPauseResumeGeneralDollarPercentClipScaleShortMediumLong Save Report
New ReportformreportUndo CopyCutPasteTypingClear
Can't UndoNew Disk is full File.HelpDone record recordsNew for FormFindSortReportPreview ClipboardCancel indexView 1View 2TotalCountAverageMinimumMaximumA->ZZ->A
Not Sorted Not ShownHeadingFieldGrandby Redo Undo


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:27 pm 
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Yeah, they're binary and Microsoft didn't do a great job of documenting its own file format(s) in that era. They were also prone to becoming subtly corrupt. In ye olde days, this wasn't a problem (until it was) because the parsers were very loosely written and would ignore potentially serious errors in ways that would be considered security flaws today. Modern software is a lot tighter and will choose to fail rather than risk continuing in these cases. At least, this is true of other formats and I highly suspect it's true of Word and Excel. PowerPoint is even worse off: it simply won't recognize files older than some critical version.

The best solution is to open them on a computer running an ancient version of Excel. Office 98 would probably be ideal, since my recollection of it is that it's very accommodating of corrupt files and still understands most of the older versions. Office 4.2 might be needed in the worst case; I'm pretty sure it'll open any earlier version of Excel files.

I might have a copy of Office 98 floating around or installed on an old PowerBook G3 series. I'll try to check when I get home late tonight or tomorrow -- if I don't post again before about 7:00 PM Pacific Time June 14, please bump this thread to remind me.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:22 pm 
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I might have Office 95 hanging around, which is roughly compatible with Excel 5.0 for Mac and the file formats it supported. I may have to build a virtual machine to run it, though I have been meaning to play around with Hyper-V on Windows 10.

There was some program back in the day that could open virtually any legacy file format and convert into "modern" file formats. I used the Mac version of it to convert files into Palm but there was a Palm version of the software too. Damned if I can remember the name of it. Canopener is what I keep thinking but that's data recovery software. Some big company bought them back when everyone knew Palm was going to be the next big it.

Are you sure it was Excel? Appleworks included a spreadsheet.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:04 pm 
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DataViz is what you're thinking of MB. They had an even bigger one than this...
AppleWorks SS 5.0
AppleWorks WP 5.0
BMP - DIB
ClarisWorks SS 4.0
ClarisWorks WP 4.0
ConvertMgr
DataViz Required Rsrcs
DataViz Translation Mgr.
DataVizAPI
DIB
DVZ_MSL.Carbon.Shlb
dvzLocaleLib
dzSS.Lib
Excel 5.0
Excel 97
FileInfoMgr
PICT - DIB
PICT to WMF
PNG - DIB
SS Reader Bridge
SS Writer Bridge
WMF to PICT
Word 6.0 Mac-Win
Word 97 Mac-Win


Attachments:
DataVizDir.gif
DataVizDir.gif [ 25.78 KiB | Viewed 586 times ]
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:01 pm 
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Blast from the past, DataViz was GREAT stuff.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:12 pm 
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Yeah it was, I purchased the big Commercial version from them but have lost where it is & lost any mac capable of using it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:49 pm 
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nesses95... any chance it was password protected?


Attachments:
Cops95DB.gif
Cops95DB.gif [ 32.07 KiB | Viewed 501 times ]
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:12 pm 
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Oh, the other ting is that Mac files of that era should have a Data & a Resource fork... which would get lost if not zipped up or was stored on Windows or FAT32 drive. Do you have zipped copies?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:54 pm 
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Hi everyone - thanks again for the ideas. Not sure if Anonymous might still be willing to see about "a copy of Office 98 floating around or installed on an old PowerBook G3 series." I'm almost positive that this is *exactly* what I was working on through this period in graduate school. I never used AppleWorks, always used Excel. The file would not have been password protected.

If I did it correctly, here is a zipped version of the files: https://www.dropbox.com/s/onkb6ek2h36g3 ... e.zip?dl=0

From everything that folks have posted here and on the Apple forum, it sure seems (from my very ignorant perspective) that it has to do with the binary issue of old files, and opening them in the original program/OS seems most hopeful. If someone out there does have this capability, I'd be very grateful for the attempt.

Finally, I have not been able to give all your replies the immediate attention that they deserve. My apologies. I also am leaving town in two days and will have limited access to the internet for at least a month. So you may not hear from me, but that's not from lack of interest. I have already submitted a federal permit application to export samples associated with these data to a lab abroad that is willing to re-analyze them, which I very much hope to do in the fall. But I won't/can't without the associated data. So this is of great importance to me - my inability to reply is no reflection of how much I value all of your help and interest, and these files. I will check specifically for alerts from this thread whenever I have online access. Fingers crossed and, once again, thanks in advance!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:17 pm 
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We'll give it a shot, sure looks like a Database rather than an Excel Spreadsheet though...
Quote:
Versions 3.0 and 3.5 of the Microsoft Jet database engine, used by Access for Windows 95 (Access 7.0) and the later released Access 97 respectively, had a critical issue which made these versions of Access unusable on a computer with more than 1 GB of memory.[18] While this problem was fixed for Jet 3.5/Access 97, it was never fixed for Jet 3.0 or Access 95.

Did you maybe use Access?

https://support.office.com/en-us/articl ... d06bb12aa7

Access extensions...
https://www.help4access.com/microsoft-a ... xtensions/

Only opens 2007 or later Access files. :(
https://eggerapps.at/mdbviewer/


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:06 pm 
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Hi BD, as I wrote over at ASC I tried all the software I had on my PowerBook G4 and got exactly nowhere.

I have a G3 iMac and even an SE/30 but they haven't been powered up in years. I'd be surprised if either one even boots.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:12 pm 
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Welcome aboard John Galt ! :welcome:

Thanks John... LOL took you more than 6 years to post after joining! :coffee:

Oh, do you know if all Mac files of that era had 2 Forks?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:09 pm 
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Access was never ported to Mac. Even today, all the Mac versions of Office explicitly never include Access.

Which is kind of ironic, since Access is based on FoxBase, which was ported (prior to being acquired by Microsoft).


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:06 am 
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Thanks MB.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:07 pm 
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BDAqua wrote:
Oh, do you know if all Mac files of that era had 2 Forks?

All pre-OS X Intel files did, as well as some OS X ones with Rosetta support. So, at least the approximate era seems right. If the file is to be resurrected at all, I strongly suspect it will require OS 9 or earlier, maybe even a 68k Mac.

BDAqua wrote:
Thanks John... LOL took you more than 6 years to post after joining! :coffee:

I'm a patient man :D


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:11 am 
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Quote:
If the file is to be resurrected at all, I strongly suspect it will require OS 9 or earlier, maybe even a 68k Mac.


Thanks, last I knew 10.6.8 & lower could run Hex Edit, which would show both forks, but have no idea how to see if it even has 2 forks now, & I'm wondering if the backup method only copied 1 fork, as in copying to FAT 16/32... any thoughts?

Quote:
I'm a patient man :D


Were you born that way or was it helping out on ASC that did it!? :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:43 am 
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blast from the oast... file forks! Look at the files in question with my good buddy, File Buddy, it says no resource forks for either one.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:50 am 
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Thanks paulc... I think that is likely the biggest problem. :coffee:


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:45 pm 
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BDAqua wrote:
Were you born that way or was it helping out on ASC that did it!? :lol:

I dunno. Probably a little of both. It used to be that ASC participants (including its predecessors, all the way back to the Compuserve days) tended to be very well-mannered nice people, especially compared to PC support groups who attracted all sorts of rabble. For whatever reason Macs just seemed to attract more knowledgeable and patient people who knew what computers were in general and posed intelligent questions. I always surmised that to be the result of them having evaluated all the options out there and settling on Macs, for all the right reasons.

Then, the iPhone was introduced... and the floodgates opened. Suddenly we got all sorts of irate and semi-literate people expecting their Macs to be just as bonehead simple to use as a iPhone and couldn't be bothered with what they considered technobabble. Memory vs. HD storage for example. Who knows. Who cares? It was like day and night.

So who am I to judge. For better or worse Apple created that market. Now they're held hostage by it, as the Mac began its inexorable slide in its resemblance in simplicity and ease of use as an iPhone.

By extension we're all held hostage by them since Macs are becoming walled off to protect users from themselves. It's what the market demands, and deserves :(

Bear in mind someone who posts a question to ASC has already met a minimum threshold of technical competence. The questions I get from Mac users who don't even participate in ASC are... well, they can be downright disturbing.

Case in point: More Bad News for Dual Boot Desktop Mac Folks


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:01 pm 
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I remember when PC boards seemed like any newbie asking a question was like a little ducky in a shooting gallery, then some migrated to Macs without leaving their bitterness towards humans behind.

I could almost cry when I see people on ASC that really, really need help, are amazed when they can eventually get something at all posted, are further confused by the experience of finally getting through, & have no idea what to ask... then they are met at the gate by a couple of Drill Sergeants who berate their efforts... then you never hear from them again.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:32 pm 
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I tried it with Office 2001, which should be able to open Office '98 files, and had no success. It was interesting getting the files on to the Wallstreet PowerBook.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:17 am 
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Thanks for the info & attempt Anon. :)


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