Exact For DOS Bookkeeping Data Solution
For DOS application exist a number of options to run them in, either a complete original environment could be setup up in a standard X86 emulator like QEMU or Virtual Machines like VMware or Virtual Box. Possible versions of DOS should be every version providing the standard features, which seem to be fulfilled at least from MS DOS version 5.0 on and should be OK for every DOS based Windows versions (95, 98, ME).
At first we used QEMU, but it turned out it was not necessary to set up a custom/complicated emulation environment, as the application does not require any advanced operating systems features.
Managed to run the Exact application on [DOSBox]. See Detailed description
When we fired up the application it ran without any technical problem. We were however not able to get past the startup-screen because it demanded a username and password. After consulting the collegue who requested to read out the data it turns out we do not have this information on file. Since the data was created in the 90's, and digital preservation was less urgent, nobody thought about saving this information. Next to that, collegues who worked with the application and data left the archive or simply don't remember it.
We also tried to trick the application by re-installing it again, so it would require a newly created password. Although the license key was available, that did not work because we did not have the "license checksum" required to finish the installation.
The last resort was to try to decrypt the backup files. It turned out it was saved in a proprietary format called "EFS" (Exact File System). Since there was no documentation available anywhere online, we gave up assuming the data must have been encrypted using the missing username and password as part of the decryption cypher.
After consulting the collegue who needs the data we decided to have the data read out by the vendor or specialised company.
Maurice de Rooij
Exact For DOS Bookkeeping Data Dataset
Exact For DOS Bookkeeping Data Issue
Even though we did not manage to get to the data, we learned that is very important to always keep application data, licenses, etc. together, both physically and/or digitally.