Help me explain this idiosycratic problem with FoxPro (v 6.0)
September 20, 2006 9:34 AM   Subscribe

A direct copy of a database table (as in, right-click on file, select "copy" and "paste" in the same directory) resulted in data going missing. Then, the data mysteriously re-appear. What's going on?

My boss created a database table in FoxPro (v 6.0) called test.dbf. From Windows Explorer, he made a copy of the test.dbf file and renamed it to middleschoolgrades.dbf.

When he opened middleschoolgrades.dbf, one of the key columns was missing. He opened the test.dbf file again, and the column was there. For some reason, a direct copy of the file resulted in a change of the file's contents.

He closed FoxPro and copied the file again. Again, the same problem.

He restarted his computer and copied (remember, this is using the right-click copy technique, not the "save as" technique to avoid the file getting cached) the file again. Again, the new file, middleschoolgrades.dbf was missing the column.

He renamed middleschoolgrades.dbf to omit the final "s" in the filename. When he opened the middleschoolgrade.dbf file, the column had returned.

I know that computers aren't mystical things, so there has to be an explanation. The thing is, we're both at a loss and I look to the Hive Mind for some help.

What happened? What went wrong, and how was it fixed? Most importantly, how can he prevent this from happening again?
Unfortunately, I can't provide a copy of the file, due to confidentiality concerns. Sorry.
posted by parilous to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
< -- also worked at a company too cheap to revise their software to stop using>
Tips: FoxPro was a dos based database. Seriously, don't try to do anything with a FP file unless you do it from the dos prompt. Do a:
copy test.dbf middleschoolgrade.dbf

Also, I am pretty sure that FoxPro itself (either the win 3.1 or the dos viewer) cannot handle long filenames. eg. filenames 18 characters or longer (without the extension)... I swear.

Lastly, don't forget you need the accompanying fpt file (if there is one) which would contain your keyfield data. (depends on what type of fp db you saved as)
posted by judge.mentok.the.mindtaker at 11:16 AM on September 20, 2006

Also, if your dbf is actually part of a database and not a stand alone table, then you can get errors like this.
posted by whoisjustrin at 12:12 PM on September 20, 2006

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