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Finding the true binary structure and contents of MS-Access files

P: n/a
Hello world;

I have two questions with respect to MSAccess database files
(*.mdb and assorted helper files):

1) Is there documentation (presumably imperfect, achieved by
reverse engineering/hacking) that gives the true binary mode
structure of MSAccess files?

2) I assume (I have not yet tested) that Access overwrites
deleted records.

- If this is NOT true, are there tools that will permit me to
read deleted records within tables, even if all the
relational links have been broken?

- In general, are there tools that will permit me to know the
true binary offset of records within tables of the files
which comprise an MSAccess database?

These questions relate to forensic accounting.

Thanks for any assistance;

Cordially;

Friar Broccoli
Robert Keith Elias, Quebec, Canada Email: EliasRK (of) gmail * com
Best programmer's & all purpose text editor: http://www.semware.com
--------- I consider ALL arguments in support of my views --------

Nov 13 '05 #1
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9 Replies


P: n/a
"Friar Broccoli" wrote
1) Is there documentation (presumably
imperfect, achieved by reverse engineering/
hacking) that gives the true binary mode
structure of MSAccess files?


There's no comprehensive document that I know about. I have seen odds and
ends about the subject. But, there is a reason that Microsoft does not
publish that information -- there have been changes to the system tables
(and that implies changes to the code and structure) in every release...
sometimes even to the extent of adding or deleting system tables.

There clearly are people who have analyzed and understand the structure; one
is Peter Miller, of PK Solutions, whose business includes data recovery from
corrupted databases, which is dependent on his understanding of the
structure. I am quite certain he would not be interested in making his
research on this subject available.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP
Nov 13 '05 #2

P: n/a
The closest you'll come to a published layout of the structure is here:
http://mdbtools.sourceforge.net/install/c29.htm

--

HTH
Stephen Lebans
http://www.lebans.com
Access Code, Tips and Tricks
Please respond only to the newsgroups so everyone can benefit.
"Friar Broccoli" <El*****@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:11**********************@g14g2000cwa.googlegr oups.com...
Hello world;

I have two questions with respect to MSAccess database files
(*.mdb and assorted helper files):

1) Is there documentation (presumably imperfect, achieved by
reverse engineering/hacking) that gives the true binary mode
structure of MSAccess files?

2) I assume (I have not yet tested) that Access overwrites
deleted records.

- If this is NOT true, are there tools that will permit me to
read deleted records within tables, even if all the
relational links have been broken?

- In general, are there tools that will permit me to know the
true binary offset of records within tables of the files
which comprise an MSAccess database?

These questions relate to forensic accounting.

Thanks for any assistance;

Cordially;

Friar Broccoli
Robert Keith Elias, Quebec, Canada Email: EliasRK (of) gmail * com
Best programmer's & all purpose text editor: http://www.semware.com
--------- I consider ALL arguments in support of my views --------

Nov 13 '05 #3

P: n/a

Stephen Lebans wrote:
The closest you'll come to a published layout of the structure is here:
http://mdbtools.sourceforge.net/install/c29.htm
God bless you! (If you're that sort of person)
A file named "HACKING" contains a complete description of the data
structures.
Who could ask for more?
You (and the fine folks who wrote it) saved me AT LEAST six months of
work.

For your info, I couldn't get thru to your page at:
http://www.lebans.com


Cordially;

Friar Broccoli
Robert Keith Elias, Quebec, Canada Email: EliasRK (of) gmail * com
Best programmer's & all purpose text editor: http://www.semware.com

--------- I consider ALL arguments in support of my views ---------

Nov 13 '05 #4

P: n/a
My ISP is located in Florida. My site access has been intermittent since the
Hurricane.

--

HTH
Stephen Lebans
http://www.lebans.com
Access Code, Tips and Tricks
Please respond only to the newsgroups so everyone can benefit.
"Friar Broccoli" <El*****@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:11*********************@g47g2000cwa.googlegro ups.com...

Stephen Lebans wrote:
The closest you'll come to a published layout of the structure is here:
http://mdbtools.sourceforge.net/install/c29.htm


God bless you! (If you're that sort of person)
A file named "HACKING" contains a complete description of the data
structures.
Who could ask for more?
You (and the fine folks who wrote it) saved me AT LEAST six months of
work.

For your info, I couldn't get thru to your page at:
http://www.lebans.com


Cordially;

Friar Broccoli
Robert Keith Elias, Quebec, Canada Email: EliasRK (of) gmail * com
Best programmer's & all purpose text editor: http://www.semware.com

--------- I consider ALL arguments in support of my views ---------

Nov 13 '05 #5

P: n/a
"Larry Linson" <bo*****@localhost.not> wrote in
news:uXt7f.3515$HW5.1274@trnddc04:
There clearly are people who have analyzed and understand the
structure; one is Peter Miller, of PK Solutions, whose business
includes data recovery from corrupted databases, which is
dependent on his understanding of the structure. I am quite
certain he would not be interested in making his research on this
subject available.


But he might be hirable for forensic accounting projects.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #6

P: n/a
"David W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote
But he (Peter Miller) might be hirable for
forensic accounting projects.


Yes, I suspect he might be.

Larry
Nov 13 '05 #7

P: n/a

Larry Linson wrote:
"David W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote
> But he (Peter Miller) might be hirable for
> forensic accounting projects.


Yes, I suspect he might be.


If I found him a client, do you think he'd pay a
finder's fee commission?

Cordially;

Friar Broccoli
Robert Keith Elias, Quebec, Canada Email: EliasRK (of) gmail * com
Best programmer's & all purpose text editor: http://www.semware.com
--------- I consider ALL arguments in support of my views --------

Nov 13 '05 #8

P: n/a
"Friar Broccoli" <El*****@gmail.com> wrote in
news:11**********************@g44g2000cwa.googlegr oups.com:
Larry Linson wrote:
"David W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote
> But he (Peter Miller) might be hirable for
> forensic accounting projects.


Yes, I suspect he might be.


If I found him a client, do you think he'd pay a
finder's fee commission?


No, he wouldn't.

I send him work all the time, and would never expect a finder's fee
from him. His fees are way too reasonable for there to be any room
for a cut for me (not that I'd want one anyway -- I benefit from the
good feeling the clients get from having their problems solved so
quickly, efficiently and successfully by Peter).

--
David W. Fenton http://www.bway.net/~dfenton
dfenton at bway dot net http://www.bway.net/~dfassoc
Nov 13 '05 #9

P: n/a

David W. Fenton wrote:
"Friar Broccoli" <El*****@gmail.com> wrote in
news:11**********************@g44g2000cwa.googlegr oups.com:
Larry Linson wrote:
"David W. Fenton" <dX********@bway.net.invalid> wrote

> But he (Peter Miller) might be hirable for
> forensic accounting projects.

Yes, I suspect he might be.


If I found him a client, do you think he'd pay a
finder's fee commission?


No, he wouldn't.

I send him work all the time, and would never expect a finder's fee
from him. His fees are way too reasonable for there to be any room
for a cut for me (not that I'd want one anyway -- I benefit from the
good feeling the clients get from having their problems solved so
quickly, efficiently and successfully by Peter).


Please accept my apologies. Sometimes I demonstrate a particularly
sick sense of humour. I checked your posting history, so I know for
certain that the implication of my question was false.

Cordially;

Friar Broccoli
Robert Keith Elias, Quebec, Canada Email: EliasRK (of) gmail * com
Best programmer's & all purpose text editor: http://www.semware.com

--------- I consider ALL arguments in support of my views ---------

Nov 13 '05 #10

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