What Is a Hex Editor?
A computer program called a hex editor is used to read and edit binary files. A binary file is a file that has data in it that can be read by machines (as opposed to a text file that can be read by a human – see Figure 1).
In contrast to other tools that try to interpret the data for you, hex editors let you change a file’s raw data contents. Hex editors are sometimes referred to as binary editors or binary file editors since they are used to edit binary files. Hex editing is the act of using a hex editor to edit a file, and the act of using a hex editor is referred to as hex editing.
An address area is on the left, a hexadecimal area is in the middle, and a character area is on the right of a conventional hex editor. These sections can be set to show different values in the most potent hex editors. Each file on your computer is composed of a string of bytes.
A byte is simply an integer with a range of 0 to 255 inclusive. The address of each byte in a file is given a number, starting at 0 for the first byte, 1 for the second byte, etc.
The Most Often Utilized Part of A Hex Editor Is the Centre Hexadecimal Region. Each Byte of The File Is Listed in A Table with Typically Sixteen Bytes per Line. if Figure 2 Were Used, the File’s First 8 Bytes Would Read “4 D 5 a 90 00 03 00 00 00.”
Hexadecimal Notation, Also Known as Hex Code, Is a Special Notation Used to List Each Byte. the Majority of Numbers in Our World Are Expressed Using Base-10 Notation, Which Uses 10 Different Digits (0 up To 9). Base-16 Notation, Also Known as Hexadecimal, Uses 16 Different Digits: 0 Through 9, Followed by The Letters a Through F for 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15.
In Order to Indicate that A Number Is in Base-16 Notation, a Letter “h” or “0x” Are Commonly Written After or Before Hexadecimal Numbers (for Example 1 Fh or 0x A7). the First Digit of A Two-Digit Hexadecimal Number Should Be Multiplied by 16 and Added to The Second Digit to Create a Regular Number. as An Illustration, 3 a = 3*16 + 10 = 58.
What Matters Is the Meaning of The Data, Not the Fact that Each Byte in A File Can Store a Value Ranging from 0 to 255. One Way to Use Bytes Is to Give Each Potential Value a Different Letter or Symbol. for instance, the Byte Value 65 Could Stand For the Letter “a,” While the Value 33 Could Stand For the Symbol “!” According to The Ascii Standard, Letters and Symbols Are Typically Assigned to The Byte Values 0 to 127.
Each Byte in The Hexadecimal Area Is Represented in Ascii in The Character Area to The Right of The Hex Editor. for Instance, in Figure 2, the Character Area Displays “z” for The Second Byte of The File (5 A). Some Bytes Have Special Code Representations that Are Incompatible with The Character-Area Display. the Hex Editor Typically Displays a “.” when There Isn’t a Character that Can Be Displayed.
The First Byte’s Address for Each Line Is Shown in The Address Area on The Left Side of The Hex Editor. the Addresses Are Typically Shown in Hexadecimal Format, but Many Hex Editors Also Support Decimal Display. in Figure 2, the First Byte of The First Line’s Address Would Be 0, and The First Byte of The Second Line’s Address Would Be 0010h (or 16 in Decimal Format).
If You Have a File with 512 Bytes, the Byte Addresses Would Range from 0 to 511 Because Addresses Begin at 0. to Assist You in Learning the Addresses of Additional Bytes in The File, Some Hex Editors Also Have a Ruler Along the Top of The Hex Editor (the Orange Bar in Figure 2).
Hex Editors Allow for The Same Types of Data Editing as Regular Text Editors. the Cursor in A Hex Editor Can Be Moved by Mouse Clicks or Cursor Key Presses. Put the Cursor Over the Byte You Want to Edit, Then Use the Keyboard to Enter the New Value. by Pressing the “tab” Key, the Cursor Can Be Moved Between the Hexadecimal Area and The Character Area.
When The Cursor Is in The Character Area, You Can Enter Regular Characters Just Like a Text Editor, but When It Is in The Hexadecimal Area, You Must Enter Byte Values in Hexadecimal Notation. an Overwrite Mode and An Insert Mode Are Always Present in Good Hex Editors. when In Insert Mode, Typing on The Keyboard Inserts New Bytes Into the File as Opposed to Overwrite Mode, Which Merely Modifies the Values of Already-Existing Bytes.
By Pressing the “ins” Key, You Can Change the Mode Between Insert and Overwrite. Editing Data Also Involves Choosing a Group of Bytes. Similar to A Text Editor, Selections Are Made by Clicking and Dragging the Mouse or Holding Down the “shift” Key While Moving the Cursor. the Standard Cut, Copy, and Paste Commands on The Edit Menu Can Be Used to Edit the File After Making a Selection.
Many Additional Tools Are Included in The World’s Best Hex Editors to Aid You in Working with Binary Files. to Find Specific Bytes in A File, for Instance, Use the Find Tool. to Compare Binary Bytes Between Two Files, Use the Binary Comparison Tool.
Some Hex Editors Even Allow You to Edit Hard Drive Bytes and Process Bytes Similarly to How You Would Edit a Binary File. the Ability to Overlay a Template Over a File that Enables You to Comprehend What the Bytes of A Binary File Actually Mean Is Currently the Most Sophisticated Feature of Hex Editors.
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