How can I view the contents of a damaged DBF file?

DBF file
I want to view the contents of a dbf file but one column appears with "strange characters". It seems to be locked or encoded or encrypted. I can see the other columns with no problem. The problem exists only in one column. Is it possible to "unlock or decode or..." and view the contents of that column? For viewing the contents of the dbf file, I use the programs:
  • DBF Viewer 2000 v1.35
  • DBF Viewer Pro

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Hi.I’m not completely certain but I think you have a dbase file that is corrupted. I believe that if it was encrypted, you wouldn’t be able to read any of the fields. But you can try view file with help DBF Viewer Tool. 
– Advanced file analysis engine allowing users to view FoxPro files that were seriously damaged in all sorts of data corruption incidents 
– An integrated database browser that assists users who don’t know how to view corrupted dbf file data 
– Recovery of the database structure, data and associated MEMO field files 
– Possibility to manually specify the format of the output DBF file 
– Detailed database recovery log. 
Read more information here:

Permanent solution to fix DBF file is via DBF Recovery tool.

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  • AshishSingh10

    dbfpy is a python-only module for reading and writing DBF-files. It was created by Jeff Kunce and then modified by Hans Fiby.

    dbfpy module code has been placed in public domain.

    What is dbfpy?

    dbfpy can read and write simple DBF-files. The DBF-format was developed about 30 years ago and was used by a number of simple database applications (dBase, Foxpro, Clipper, ...). The basic datatypes numbers, short text, and dates are available. Many different extensions have been used; dbfpy can read and write only simple DBF-files.

    What is it for?

    • The most important use is reading old DBF-files created by other programs.
    • DBF-files can be imported by most tabular data handling programs like Excel, Access, etc. If you want to generate tabular data for import into these programs from a python-script dbfpy would be an option.
    • Some rather recent programs still use dbf for data storage. The GIS-application ArcView is one of them.
    Thanks and regards
    1,330 pointsBadges:
  • TheRealRaven
    There is no reason (yet) to think that there is any corruption. First thing I'd think is that the column encoding is the reason for the "strange characters".

    Is there any reason you don't know what the encoding of the column is? How can you not know?
    37,005 pointsBadges:
  • ToddN2000
    I agree with Raven. It sound like that one column is off for a reason. Does this column contain anything special that may have been handled differently than the rest of the data? Is it possible that the data in this column is coming from an external source and is not being converted properly ?  More details will help us provide a better answer. 
    136,460 pointsBadges:

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