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wincent WinHex: the programmer's pal

Frequently Asked Questions


What do the gray question marks mean in the ASCII field?

ASCII is a text encoding that uses only 7 bits of information in every byte (8 bits). As such, for any given byte there are only 128 possible numbers for which there exist a corresponding ASCII character. For the other 128 possible numbers (those which use the eighth bit) there is no printable ASCII representation. In these cases, WinHex displays a gray question mark as a placeholder for the non-representable value.

The set of valid ASCII characters is:

! " # $ % & ' (
) * + , - . / 0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 : ; < = > ? @
A B C D E F G H
I J K L M N O P
Q R S T U V W X
Y Z [ \ ] ^ _ `
a b c d e f g h
i j k l m n o p
q r s t u v w x
y z { | } ~

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Why doesn't WinHex let me type the characters I want?

WinHex only allows you to enter characters that are valid for a given base. The list below shows the characters which are legal for the most common bases:

Base 16: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 a b c d e f
Base 10: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9            
Base 8: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7                
Base 2: 0 1                            

One of the reasons WinHex does not support bases greater than Base 36 is that this is the highest base that can be represented using the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet (a-z) in tandem with the numerals 0 through to 9.

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