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  1.    27 Feb 2017 #1
    Join Date : Jun 2016
    Posts : 159
    Windows 10

    Hex editor recommendation?


    I'm not a techie or programmer but occasionally need to edit binary files. For example, my app Macro Express Pro creates its macro files in proprietary (MXE) format. If I make changes to my Win 10 PC file/folder organisation then scores or even hundreds of macros have to be edited. For example, a macro script command that contains the string C:\xyz\abc might need changing to D:\wxyz\abcd.

    I have the handy freeware program HxD, which lets me make changes of the same length (such as changing C:\abc to D:\def) but I'm looking for a program that will achieve those more complex edits.

    Does anyone here use such a program that they can recommend please?

    --
    Terry, East Grinstead, UK
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    27 Feb 2017 #2

    Hi there

    depending on what you need this one looks good - you probably only need the free version

    WinHex/XWI/XWF License Type Comparison

    Note also if you do go for paid versions reduced fee is available for PERSONAL use -- this type of program is actually very good even for re-building RAID !! but again depending on your needs it might be overkill.

    The paid professional things are usually better than the freebies for this type of stuff but for Free this is also good

    Free Hex Editor Neo: Fastest Binary File Editing Software for Windows OS

    Not sure about this one -- I don't like the idea of a "beta" if messing about with HDD sectors but you can have a look

    wxHexEditor - a Free Hex Editor / Disk Editor for Huge Files or Devices on Linux, Windows and MacOSX

    My recommendation would be to go for the pro version of the paid product (winhex - my top recommendation in this post) if you are going to do a lot of this stuff as it will definitely work. Argue for a "reduced" fee of course. At the top end this is used in some forensic labs (at an "Enterprise" type of price off course !!!) so it comes with decent provenance.

    If you need scripts then you could have a go in using some type of python or perl scripts in Linux - but if you aren't familiar with Linux that will entail quite a long learning curve - but for directory / file manipulations with a load of find and replace commands it is another way to go as well.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    27 Feb 2017 #3
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Staffordshire
    Posts : 362
    Windows 10 Pro

    I use Hex Editor Neo which seems to be the best of the free ones and can insert as well as replace.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  4.    27 Feb 2017 #4
    Join Date : Jun 2016
    Posts : 159
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks both, much appreciate the fast responses. I'll investigate all of those.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    27 Feb 2017 #5
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    Posts : 343
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1, Windows 8.1 Pro x64

    I use this one. Works in Windows 10.

    Hex Editor
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    28 Feb 2017 #6
    Join Date : Jun 2016
    Posts : 159
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Has anyone here, using any hex editor, successfully made a text replacement longer than the original and not had it rejected as 'corrupt or invalid by the original application please?

    I've made several attempts with various editors over many hours today and failed. So I'm hoping to find a mutually accessible app to step through the procedure (inserting extra bytes, etc, etc).

    As per my opening post, the app I'm focusing on is called MX Pro and an example binary MEX file is viewable and downloadable here:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...20%28ph%29.mex

    For my test, I'm simply trying to change the string PHOTOS to PHOTOS2.

    --
    Terry, East Grinstead, UK
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    01 Mar 2017 #7
    Join Date : Jun 2016
    Posts : 159
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    I emailed the developers of MX Pro and had a prompt and thorough reply. As I expected, they are unable to provide detailed table structure documentation for their MEX files. And there are other complications (packing) which would make it impossible in practice. It seems that similar issues arise in mots proprietary binary files.

    So I'll drop my pursuit of a no-brainer global hex edit. Thanks for hex editor recommendations, most of which are now installed.

    --
    Terry, East Grinstead, UK
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    01 Mar 2017 #8
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 5,917
    Windows10

    Quote Originally Posted by Terrypin View Post
    Has anyone here, using any hex editor, successfully made a text replacement longer than the original and not had it rejected as 'corrupt or invalid by the original application please?

    I've made several attempts with various editors over many hours today and failed. So I'm hoping to find a mutually accessible app to step through the procedure (inserting extra bytes, etc, etc).

    As per my opening post, the app I'm focusing on is called MX Pro and an example binary MEX file is viewable and downloadable here:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...20%28ph%29.mex

    For my test, I'm simply trying to change the string PHOTOS to PHOTOS2.

    --
    Terry, East Grinstead, UK
    Oh - the joys of binaary/assembler coding .

    It would be a very clever hex editor that can make a text string longer than original, as it would mean all subsequent binary code has moved out n bytes (n being additional length of text editor).

    It would depend if the binary code was using relative or absolute addresses.

    Think of it like having a formula in Excel where cell B1 point to A1 e.g. B1: =A1.
    If you moved cell B1 to C1, it would now read C1:=B1

    On other hand if B1 read B1:=$A$1
    then if you move B1 to C1, C1 would read C1:=$A$1

    How many time have you moved stuff in excel and it fell over because you used a relative reference rather than absolute (or an absolutee reference rather than a relative one).

    So a binary program would almost certainly fall over if it had absolute addresses built into the binary code, and all code after the text portion was moved out n bytes.

    So the hex editor would have to have the additional ability to reconcile all absolute addresses if the code position moved which would be a major undertaking i.e. the editor would be a binary re-compiler as well.

    This will not happen if the text is shortened, as the editor will simply fill the excess space with blanks, keeping the position of the rest of the code unaltered.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    01 Mar 2017 #9
    Join Date : Jun 2016
    Posts : 159
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks Cereberus. I assume you've seen my post a couple of hours earlier acknowledging defeat?

    Terry, East Grinstead, UK
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    01 Mar 2017 #10
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 5,917
    Windows10

    Quote Originally Posted by Terrypin View Post
    Thanks Cereberus. I assume you've seen my post a couple of hours earlier acknowledging defeat?

    Terry, East Grinstead, UK
    Sure - I quoted it - was just explaining why it is much harder than one might think to do what you asked.

    I remember many spending many happy (aka tearing my remaining hair out) hours using assembler programming and trying to find a glitch in a reference location that usually crashed the program and OS big time - debugging was a nightmare as we do not have online debuggers or a virtual environment to assist.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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