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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3

    Unanswered: Unknown database consisting of *.dat files

    Hi all,

    for my company I need to import data from the database of a client, but unfortunately I cannot figure out what kind of database it is. It may be even a proprietary format.

    The data is stored in files with the extension *.dat. Each file starts with the pattern
    0x54 0x52 0x4D 0x33 0x36 0xCA 0xA6 0x5C which is "TRM36ĘŚ\"
    (since the database belongs our client, I don't want to attach an example file).

    The application that created the files is a shop management system for auto repair shops called "ShopPro for Windows".

    Has anyone already seen files that start with such a pattern, or has anyone by chance experience with ShopPro?

    Thanks in advance,
    Ute

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3

    It might be a ctree database

    I have come across ctree databases which are stored as dat files. This is basically a flat file and the challenge is to read the schema. Did you try Faircom tool (c-treeACE Download) ?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3

    I'm afraid it's not ctree

    Thanks for the suggestion and for the link to the Faircom tool!
    I'm afraid it is not ctree. I tried the Faircom tool, but it could not make any sense of my files. In my case there are no index *.idx files and the information is not stored in only one file, but in many *.dat files (about 100 files in my case).

    Other databases that I already checked are btrieve, clarion and DBISAM, but it seems to be none of them.

    Does anybody have any additional ideas?

    Thanks in advance,
    Ute

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    128
    Provided Answers: 1
    Is there a reason that you have not gone to the ShopPro website to seek support
    ( SHOPpro for Windows <-- found via a Google search )
    and asked them about the data file?

    That is the first place that I would have started.
    (Whether you contact them or have your client (THEIR customer) do so)

    If they were, for some reason, not helpful, then I'd ask the client themselves.
    They should be able to tell you if the .DAT file is an Export of the data (perhaps into a text file with the .DAT extension) or the data table itself.

    Assuming that none of that worked out, then you might have to 'brute force' your acquisition of the data, by doing a low-level extraction of the data from the file.

    Good Luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3

    Unfortunately ShopPro wasn't helpful

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    Asking ShopPro for more information about their database was actually the first thing I did. I sent them several emails but did not get any response, not even a negative one.
    But you are right. I should ask my client to contact the ShopPro support to give my request more weight.

    The *.dat files are the binary data tables themselves. I tried to analyze the file contents with a hex editor and I was able to identify the files that contain the "customer" table and the "vehicle" table (this is the information that I am mainly interested in). I was considering the brute force approach myself, but the data doesn't seem to be organized in simple linear "records", but in a kind of "clusters" (e.g. 45 customer names, then some binary data that I don't recognize, 45 phone numbers, some binary data, 45 other customer names, .. in one file). I could not yet figure out what the schema of this data is.

    I attached one of the files, that obviously describes a parts list, as an example.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions,
    Ute
    Attached Files Attached Files

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