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Discuss the word processor

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Postby ehs284 » Fri May 15, 2009 9:23 am

Hello,
My first posting and I know this subject is in a thread as I read it, but cannot find it now, so my apologies.
Saved text file in odt and .doc forms several times through day of writing and changed names at mid-day. Appeared fine, but when retrieved all files contained only hashes no text :( .
I've used OO for some years without this happening and was happily using 3.1 beta 4 without problems then downloaded 3.1 stable version day before this problem. Any connection?
I know I'm due to have a hard writing weekend, but, before I start, is there a bug? It seems several people have had the same problem recently. Would you advise reloading a different version?
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby TheGurkha » Fri May 15, 2009 10:57 am

Hi and welcome to the forums.

We've seen this with earlier versions too, so I wouldn't go to the effort of reverting to a previous build just yet. Carry on doing as you're doing now, save often, save in different locations and with different names. That way you should always have a backup.
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri May 15, 2009 1:51 pm

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Re: ###### No Text

Postby ehs284 » Fri May 15, 2009 2:09 pm

Many thanks for quick replies. I'll press on :)
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri May 15, 2009 5:43 pm

In the other cases, there was often a power supply shutdown or hibernation involved. Can you confirm that there was no such specific event?

Honestly, I think there is a bug, and a really bad one. That's the first time such a behavior is reported so often. But I can't find any pattern to reproduce that. There is a simple test that needs to be checked: kill the soffice process and check what happens to the file. But no time to do that precisely.
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby ehs284 » Sat May 16, 2009 4:51 pm

Hello,
I've checked through as much as possible. The machine is an old but reliable Viglen desktop using Windows XP SP3. There was no powerfailure or interuption, however, I've thought out what I did. I continually saved the files to the desktop (using save and save as a different name at half-way) and then moved them to the 'proper' directory/folder on the hard drive using explorer2lite. This has been a fairly normal way of working in times passed and has always been fine. It makes it easier to remove intermediate versions. I then emailed the file to my friend who found the attachment was ###. Only then did I check the original and found it was corrupted. There was only the one file in the directory.There was one other odd thing; I did find a deleted file in the wastebasket, which had the correct name and size,but when I clicked on it it disappeared. Please bear with me as I'm pretty ignorant with computers so have looked through the web for ideas (the 22 pages link you sent was quite frightening). I checked the virus checker and ran Recuva (took all night) but no trace of any similar file on any disc apart from the one corrupted ### version. This led me to look in the events log for that day. It showed lots of 'event 51's. If I've understood this, it means that Windows timed out on moving the files and lost the data. Somehow it deleted the original but never placed the file into its new home, but if this was the case, surely a file recovery program like Recuva would have found traces of the original files?. If other people are losing material on saves, especially large files, would this suggest that there is some saving problem between Windows and Open Office or ?
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby TheGurkha » Sat May 16, 2009 10:16 pm

I created a dummy file and have saved it, then killed the various OOo processes in different ordres. Evry time it recovers the file and the file is OK. Maybe there is a timing issue to contend with as well.
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby RoryOF » Sat May 16, 2009 10:51 pm

I've saved a number of quite large files regularly, typically 2 MB, across network and locally under OO 3.00, 3.01, and 3.1 with no problems. Two files have had over 500 saves each after modifications. I'm running W2K SP4+.
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat May 16, 2009 10:58 pm

As for myself, using OOo since 2.0 under XP then W2k extensively with several saves on an average of 10 .odt files a day, never seen that problem. No intensive use under GNU/Linux (Sun version) and no problem neither.

What is strange is that there are several versions involved and different operating systems.
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby ehs284 » Sun May 17, 2009 9:44 am

A memory prompted by The Gurkha; -Whenever I've had a problem before (such as Windows must now shut down), then upon restarting Open Office, it automatically went to recover the files and it always did so. With the # problem it started normally (the next time) with no recovery screen which must suggest that OOo 'thought' that everything had been saved and that it had been shut down properly. No idea if this adds any light. Yesterday's work saved without problem spreading it across 3 discs just in case - thank you all.
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby ehs284 » Mon May 18, 2009 12:04 pm

Don't know if I'm wasting people's time here, but just had an interesting incident. Files sent to me by e-mail as Word 97-2003. Saved to downloads and then opened. No problem and everything readable. Saved (save as) to desktop in order to sort out contents. Appeared to save without problem, but when I looked at desktop - nothing. Tried again and it worked.
If anybody reading this has had the problem of ### have you been saving to the desktop in the first instance (as I did when everything went haywire) and was there any conversion OO to/from Word at any stage?
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon May 18, 2009 2:02 pm

ehs284 wrote:Don't know if I'm wasting people's time here

Not at all! Thanks for your investigation on that. Such strange and critical bug can be difficult to track because of something that may appear completely unrelated. So perhaps a piece of information will ring a bell or shed some light on the real trigger. I've posted a comment in the other recent topics so that they check this one.
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby MiwandSplinter1 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:44 pm

Not much better in 4.1.0 bud, I love to write stories and my favorite ones are the ones "infected" with the infamous "#"!
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby John_Ha » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:58 pm

The problem seems to occur after Writer has reserved the space for the odt file to be written (in memory? on disk?), but before the file is actually written to the disk. The file which is then saved is full of zeros (in binary) (does Writer reset the file space to zeros before writing the file?) which cannot be opened. It is rare, but common enough that it would be very interesting to speak with a developer about it to understand exactly which processes Writer does when it writes an odt file.

So, can you remember doing anything during the 10 seconds or so after issuing the "shut Writer" command? Writing the .odt file can take several seconds - I wonder if people shut the laptop lid during that period which sends the PC to sleep, hibernate or shutdown before the file is completely written.

Set Tools > Options > Load/Save > General > Always save a backup copy. When you open an odt file Writer saves it "as opened" in a .bak file (or is it when you save an odt file, Writer saves the "as before saved" file in a .bak file?). Whatever, the .bak file is just one save behind the real .odt file.

For ultimate reliability backup the files you are working on to an external disk using a free backup utility like Cobian. I can recreate my PC disk to how it was on of the previous 45 days. I use a tiny 160GB disk for it and I have 3 x full backups, one taken every 15 days; and 15 daily "incremental" backups of all files changed since the previous "incremental" backup. If you just wanted to backup extremely important stuff do so to a USB Memory stick - 32GB is about £10 these days, and would allow 30 days of backups, each 1GB. 1GB is a lot of writing - it's about 1,000 novels.
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Re: ###### No Text

Postby John_Ha » Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:10 pm

John_Ha wrote:It is rare, but common enough that it would be very interesting to speak with a developer about it to understand exactly which processes Writer does when it writes an odt file.
John_Ha wrote:So, can you remember doing anything during the 10 seconds or so after issuing the "shut Writer" command?


I have just re-read an old post of mine which says:

If the ODT file has been saved previously, when Writer opens it, Writer creates a copy of it in \Temp.

If a new document is created, then the files in \Temp are empty (0 bytes) until the document is saved. When Writer Autosaves a document which has not been saved with File > Save As ... , and therefore does not have a proper name, Writer AutoSaves it into the backup folder (See Paths - mine is C:\Users\John\AppData\Roaming\OpenOffice\4\user\backup\) as ...\Backup\untitled_0.odt.

I wonder if this could be where the "file full of zeros" comes from? It may not be, because the files in ...\Temp are 0 bytes long whereas "files full of zeros" are quite big.
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