View Full Version : Converting Memo Fields and dbt files


jimmy dean
01-25-2005, 06:12 AM
I was wandering if someone could point me to information about how to bring over my dbt (memo fields) over from Alpha4v6 to Alpha5v6?

Al Buchholz
01-25-2005, 06:49 AM

It can be as simple as copying the dbf and dbt to your A5 database folder, adding the table to the A5 database, and making a structure change to that table.

The conversion is automatic.

Or use the convert_a4_to_a5() function.

Please keep the A5 data files in a directory that is different than the A4 data files.

jimmy dean
01-27-2005, 03:12 PM
Just wanted to say thank you. It did the trick so far. Thanks for taking the time to help me :).

Al Buchholz
01-27-2005, 03:23 PM
Which trick did you use? ;-)

The change structure or the function?

10-01-2006, 11:37 AM
I had come to the Forum to ask exactly the same question as Jimmy Dean except that I apparently need, at least, a little more direction than Jimmy. Following up on Al Buchholz suggestions - (1) could someone describe the needed structure change or (2) a little more information about the function that I was not able to find. I am assuming that the function will be used as a part of a copy operation. Alternately pointing me to the right spot in the instructions would be super. Thanks in advance for your help. Bob Moore

Al Buchholz
10-01-2006, 07:19 PM

For the structure change, make a new field, delete an existing field, or change the size of an existing field...

Any change to the structure causes the memo field to convert.

or use these functions listed in the interactive window... as needed... a5v7 - maybe others?

10-03-2006, 01:34 PM
Since I didn’t mention it previously, I am upgrading from A4V6 to A5V7.

First I want to thank Al Buchholz for his patience in providing assistance. Clearly I am missing something and need, at least, some more direction. When applying the structure editor to an A4 dbf file with a memo field I get the following error message, “The table/set is being used by another user or in another session and could not be opened in exclusive mode. Restructure can be viewed, but no change can be made.” After clicking past the error message and modifying the structure, I can only “save as.” On attempting to “save” it first repeats the first error message. On subsequent attempts it says, “Not an open table.” Using, “save as” the file structure is saved in an A5 format, but, no data is transferred. I could not get either copy nor append operations to move data from any A4 dbf file with a memo field to an equivalently structured A5 dbf table. Both of these operations work fine with A4 dbf files with no memo field.

I should deeply appreciate the further directions I seem to need to transfer the A4 dbf file memo field data or being pointed to a book or documentation which provides these directions. On the book side I have thoroughly enjoyed using, for example, Learning Alpha5: the Data Base for Everyone, 2001, by Peter Wayne and would welcome purchasing another by him or other recommended author that would have the needed information.

Al Buchholz
10-03-2006, 02:08 PM

So you copied the A4 directory to a new A5 directory.

Opened A5, made a new database in the A5 directory, added the A4 databases as A5 tables.

You should then modify the structure of the table with A5 and not get the error message that the table is already open. If you get that message, we need to figure out why and fix it.

10-05-2006, 03:04 PM
Again I want to thank Al Buchholz for his patience. To respond, if we mean the same thing by our words, I think the answer is yes. But to review: I copy an A4 dbf file and the associated dbt file (that carries the memo information in A4 applications) into a folder associated with one of my A5 applications. I then open the A5 application and using the “Add a Table/Set” command bring the A4 dbf file into the A5 application where I can interact with it. I can then bring up the structure editor where the error messages I cited earlier come up. It will let me “save as” after changing the structure and a new A5 table is created, however, without any data transfer. I cannot get either the “copy” nor the “append” operations to move the data to the new (but empty) A5 table since both at some point in setting up lead to the message that the A4 dbf file with a memo field “is not open.”

Incidentally, I can “open” the A4 dbt file with the memo information in either view or brows format. However, it will no allow running through records. In the view format, any attempt to change the record freezes the computer. This does confirm, however, that the memo data is there, just not in a way I have been able to transfer to an A5 table.

Al Buchholz
10-05-2006, 08:28 PM

Can you send me a copy of the data? Something doesn't click here and having the data may answer the questions.

You can send it privately. Send me an email and I'll send instructions on what to do.


Al Buchholz
10-12-2006, 12:42 AM
As a follow up to this, here is what has happened.

Bob sent me an A4 table and I was able to convert it as previously described. Bob was unable to make the same steps work with the same table on his machine.

I connected with Bob's machine and verified the error, transferred the table to my machine and found the same error. This was the same table with the same size and datetimestamps as the other table that worked on my machine.


I analyzed both tables with dsalvage and it noted errors in both (illegal data in some fields). Including the table that I was successful with. I've found that in other tables that have been slightly damaged over the years and have never been cleanup.

Bob then loaded A5 on the machine that had the original A4 tables and was able to convert all of the A4 tables to A5 (.dbt's became fpt's.) Other problems that he noted disappeared...

So exactly what was the problem? I'm not sure.
Suspects are:
1. damaged A4 tables.
2. transfer steps between computers.
3. Norton on the machine that won't convert properly.
4. Structure changes in A4 on a 32 bit machine with a version prior to a4v7?

At this point Bob is moving on since the data is restructured and working properly. Sometimes that happens.....

The swamp is drained and the alligators have moved somewhere else. And so have we.

10-12-2006, 11:51 AM
Again I want to thank Al for his support. It is people like him that make this forum so great.