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Program To Unlock .MDE Applications

Does anyone know of any free programs that can unlock .mde applications? I need to modify an application that our previous programmer created but he did not leave the source code. Please help!


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I have never heard of any programs that will unlock an .mde application. This is really not an unlocking thing, as an .mde is a compiled application, not just a database that has a special password to it. therefore, the .mde does not have any of the source code, only the necessary binary code to execute the app.

I have never done a Google (or any other) search to see if someone has written a decomplier for an .mde. But if there is one out there, it will be very difficult to work with the output, if it is even possible. Any output would have to make up field and other object names, therefore, there would be no meaningful names in the output of the decompiler. This is when it just might be best to take what you have now and start re-writing it.
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I am not aware of any way to undo what compiling an MDE does. There are people ("companies") who claim they can - but really they just rebuild the application as an mdb.

This post is proof that you need to back up and archive your mdb's (not to mention splitting them) before you MDE ths crap out of them
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George, that is quite hard to do when the previous programmer left and took the source code (and backup?) with him. But still, before you go to an .mde, make several copies is a great idea.
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You can create a blank db and import tables (with data) and queries from an mde. The site below has a free tool for extracting forms/reports/macros without the underlying code.

http://accesstools.narod.ru/

I suppose it would be better than starting from scratch. Of course, if the now absent programmer developed the app on company time, a call from the corporate attorney might shake the source code loose; it would be the company's property, after all.
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Yes. There is a program to unlock an mde. But it won't do a lot of good. It'll basically gets you to the form/report design but the code will be gone. You won't be able to see any modules.

You can look here....(it's very similar to http://accesstools.narod.ru/)

http://www.downloadjunction.com/prod...585/index.html

I tried it and it did unlock the mde file. But I wasn't able to see any of the code, just make changes to the forms/reports only. From my understanding though, once you've compiled the code to an mde, the code itself is irretrievable or viewable since it's no longer vba.
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Last edited by pkstormy; 06-14-07 at 23:48.
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Paul,
Having seen a decompiler work before, if someone wanted to take the time, there really should be a way from the compiled output to be able to re-engineer some VBA. But as I said before, the names would be made up names, but it just might be nice to see what the VBA looked like. I just don't know anyone to ask to write a decompiler.

I has been nice to find out though that the forms and reports are retrieveable, even without the VBA code.
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Wayne Phillips (an occasional contributor to this forum) has some examples of what can be done here and here.

izy
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I'll try the links posted by izyrider but from everything I've read so far, you still can't see the code in the modules no matter how much reverse engineering you do. Isn't that true?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkstormy
I'll try the links posted by izyrider but from everything I've read so far, you still can't see the code in the modules no matter how much reverse engineering you do. Isn't that true?
Wayne claims to be able to get everything but comments. The gist (as I understand it) is VBA is reconstructed from the compiled level code. Since comments don't make it there, they obviously can't be reconstructed.

Wayne is a genuinly impressive guy and I would expect him to be able to fulfill whatever promises he makes on his site.

Not free though
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I tried his sample MDE Unlocker and was not able to retrieve any code in a module. From going through his comments on his website, this seems impossible to do. He talks about "re-constructing" code but nowhere states that you could actually see code in a module. I question if it's even a possible feat utilizing all of Wayne's skills.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkstormy
I tried his sample MDE Unlocker and was not able to retrieve any code in a module. From going through his comments on his website, this seems impossible to do. He talks about "re-constructing" code but nowhere states that you could actually see code in a module. I question if it's even a possible feat utilizing all of Wayne's skills.

...mebbe.. but then if you are deep in the sticky smelly brown stuff, then anything may be better than nothing.

I suppose it all depends on how Access stores the compiled PCode, and how intelligent the compiler is about using subroutines and whatever. it wouldn't surprise me if for performance reasons if modules were made inline. it depends on what decisions the comiuler makes as to waht can be retrieved.

I suppose one of these days I could screw up an app significantly enough to have to resort to such tools, but it hasn't happened yet. On the few jobs I've had over the years with this sort of issue I've always swung it so that the customer is happy with a re-write and a hanging party for the network trolls / developers who didn't do an effective backup
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Quote:
Originally Posted by healdem
On the few jobs I've had over the years with this sort of issue I've always swung it so that the customer is happy with a re-write and a hanging party for the network trolls / developers who didn't do an effective backup
BRAVO!!!

Paul (pkstormy), I have never seen VBA decompiled, but I have seen other languages decompiled, so I would think VBA could be decompiled too. I'm quite sure it would not be programmer friendly code, and would be hard to follow, but I do think it could be done. I really don't think it would be an easy task, and given the option I quoted from healdem above, I think his option is by far the best.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkstormy
I tried his sample MDE Unlocker and was not able to retrieve any code in a module. From going through his comments on his website, this seems impossible to do. He talks about "re-constructing" code but nowhere states that you could actually see code in a module. I question if it's even a possible feat utilizing all of Wayne's skills.
I am surprised at this. Haven't tested it but I have a hazy recollection of Wayne claiming pretty well full recovery. Recovery without modules (which presumably includes classes) isn't recovery at all but a shortcut for some of the rebuilding you would need to do. Pretty well all my long\ commonly used\ complex code is in classes and modules. I try to keep forms as slimline as possible.

Depending on the politics etc but it is usual for the company that employed the member of staff to have ownership of the source code. If he was in some sort of contracted\ consultant position then things might be different. Destroying all but the mde might well be in violation of their contract. Depends of course if there is the will to pursue that line....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkstormy
I tried his sample MDE Unlocker and was not able to retrieve any code in a module. From going through his comments on his website, this seems impossible to do. He talks about "re-constructing" code but nowhere states that you could actually see code in a module. I question if it's even a possible feat utilizing all of Wayne's skills.
I just looked at Wayne's site. The MDE Unlocker does nothing with the code. The "re-constructing" of the code is a SERVICE that Wayne does, not a program he sells to do it. Therefore, I would assume from what is on the web site, you would send your .mde to him and would get back an .mdb with the modules "re-constructed". Actually, it looks much better than I had expected. What I expected to be available is the code that would be available after running his "MDE Code Protector" where all the VBA "links" have been removed and all that is left is very raw machine language bits and bytes. It also sounds like his developers do this in a hands-on process, rather than a program doing the reverse-engineering.
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