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What can a Hex Editor be used for?

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I'm working on a project having to do with TI calculators right now. TI has a structure in which it stores its program files and I use the hex editor to edit/create programs. The problem is, I've looked through many free hex editors but none of them have all the features I need in a single package. I downloaded a trial version of a professional hex editor, and unfortunately, it's the only editor I found with everything I need. My question is, what else can I do with the hex editor? It's quite an investment ($40), and editing TI programs doesn't validate spending that much money. Is there anything else they can come in handy for? Is it worth spending that much money?

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You can use it to modify compiled programs (abeit in a cryptic and difficult manner) - such as circumventing copy protections or occassionally adding small functionality - any modification is illegal unless you have permission from the programs owner though. You can also sometimes use it to read the contents of files even if you don't have the right program to open the file - but this isn't really a practical use.

Maybe a more useful thing would be to tell people what functionality you need that's missing from the other editors you've tried (and tell us which one's you have tried, and which the retail one is)... that way maybe someone knows of a program that can do what you need cheaper or free.

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There is a great (In my opinion) free hex editor called xvi32 I love it and think it has some nice features. But oh well you should have said which free hex editors you tried and most likely which are the free features you want to have.

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I'm not sure if you have already seen it, but I use Hex Editor XVI32. It's much easier (for me) to use than the AEdix Hex Editor, and I haven't really tried out any proffessional ones.
It has the basics, memory address goto's/jumps, support for ASCII character editing, some conversions for primitive datatypes (int, long, byte).
I've used it for manually creating small project files for the game engine I am working on, and it is quite easy to use.
The only thing I don't like about it is it's method of Copying/Pasting, just because you have to specify the number of chars to Block.

EDIT: GRAGH! You stole my thunder!

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At least your post has the link

btw: I think the TI calcs have a C compiler? shouldn't you use it? (I am missinformed actually, the only thing I know is that I saw the sources of a TiCalc game and they were C source files.)

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Quote:
Original post by deadimp
I'm not sure if you have already seen it, but I use Hex Editor XVI32. It's much easier (for me) to use than the AEdix Hex Editor, and I haven't really tried out any proffessional ones.
It has the basics, memory address goto's/jumps, support for ASCII character editing, some conversions for primitive datatypes (int, long, byte).
I've used it for manually creating small project files for the game engine I am working on, and it is quite easy to use.
The only thing I don't like about it is it's method of Copying/Pasting, just because you have to specify the number of chars to Block.

EDIT: GRAGH! You stole my thunder!


That was one of the editors I tried.

Really, the major feature missing from all the free editors I tried is checksum generation. I want to be able to select a certain range of bytes inside the editor and generate a checksum for them.

Another feature missing from the ones I tried is a comparison function. I want to be able to open 2 files and see how they differ (especially useful - this is how I figured out a problem I had that I missed the 2 bytes that stated the size of my calculator program - I accidentally did not include those bytes and the calc assumed the size of my program to be some 16000 bytes when it was only about 1000. I guess it attempted to execute the instructions contained in the next 16000 bytes, which spit out a heck of a lot of junk to the screen - which actually looked kind of cool!) The point is, I would have never figured ou the problem if not for the comparison feature.

Lastly, if possible, I want to store a kind of template that describes what each byte of a file represents. I.E., I mentioned that calc programs follow a specific format. I want to be able to store a description of that format in the hex editor instead of having to look and flip through a packet of papers. This is perhaps stretching it a bit - I don't know if such a feature exists in any hex editor at all, much less the free ones.

I can't exactly recall the all the free editors I tried (they're on the other computer, sorry), but the trial editor was called Hex Workshop.

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HexWorkshop (?) is definitely a very nice and easy to use hex editor, but I'm not paying for it. I'm stuck with XVI32 for now...

An experiment I tried:

>>I made a VB6 program with labels and a few buttons. They, of course, did absolutely nothing. I went into XVI32 and modified the captions of those controls, and the caption of the window... I also found the names of the controls that I used in the development environment. Interesting, eh?

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If you're going to pay for a hex editor I'd prefer AXE to hex workshop - they're both great but I much prefer AXE's interface and power.

Also, if you can find AXE version 2.1 (current is version 3.4) it's been made free... it's just finding it that's impossible (unfortunately I accidentally overwrote my copy when I downloaded the axe 3.4 trial way back when).

axe3.4 has a 30 day full feature trial if you want to check it out
www.jbrowse.com

in 3.4 you have simple & smart diff capabilities. multiple types of checksum for entire file or selection. plenty of structure support, type conversions, the list goes on and on - more features than i even know about... you could also create your own "template" by making a dummy file and putting bookmarks at the location of each section (you can name bookmarks, make child bookmarks, set bookmark types, and more)... it's 35$ for the full version, but like i said it's free for 30 days.

I'm curious though; while I've never owned a ti calculator I was under the distinct impression that the preferred method of programming was their own asm language (zi-something i think)... why do you want to program in hex instead of their asm type?

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If it is CRC32 xvi32 comes with it already, the problem is that you can't select the range of bytes for the check, you can temporarily delete the rest of the file though.

Anyways xvi32 has a scripting language, never tried it but I guess that you can make it do so for you.

At the end you can always make a quick console program that takes a file, the initial byte and the final byte to do the checksum and just prints the checksum.

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