ASCII Filter Options

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ASCII Filter Options

Postby Miss Mouse » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:09 am

Hi Everyone,

I've seen this problem cropping up in the Forums before, once it even had a {SOLVED} in the title, so I'm hoping that somebody can help me.

Timeline and Backstory.
My laptop runs off Windows XP. It's a little beat-up, power cord keeps coming loose, and so it can shut off unexpectedly if I forget to check it's running off AC power. CD Drive doesn't work either.
(My husband "gifted " me this laptop when he upgraded.)

So. Last night, I'm working merrily away, laptop shuts off without warning, I think, Aw, Poo, now I have to lose seven minutes while I recover the document.
(Because that's what has always happened before.)
But no.

This time I get a popup ASCII Filter Options Box, asking me to choose "Character Set", "Default Fonts", "Language", and "Paragraph Break" - Choices were already highlighted
(Western Europe(windows 1252/WinLatin 1)
Times New Roman
English (USA)

The "Paragraph Break " choice already highlighted was CR & LF.

So I clicked on OK.
Then I get another popup, telling me that the document is locked for editing by an unknown user.
Now my options are, to open a "read-only" copy, to open a copy for editing, or to cancel.

I've tried each of these in turn.
When I try to open my document, all I now see are ten pages of the pound key, over and over again.

http://www.mediafire.com/file/mjzmwyzzjrl/October 2009 Master Copy.odt

That's the link to the document, if anybody wants to check it out.

I simply don't know what to do.
My fault - I didn't back up the work.
Not my fault - My husband took the external hard drive and installed in into his own computer tower. I can't access the hard drive any more becuase his computer keeps crashing when I turn it on.
Not my fault - he's out of the country and can't help me.
I've got a Stellar Pheonix data recovery CD, bur can't use it on the laptop! Because the CD drive doesn't work.

I'm desperate, guys.
Anyone able to help me?
This document is a transcription of Voice Tapes, I've taken 30 hours to get this far into it and I'm only half done - but I'm scared I'm just going to have to redo the whole thing over again, from the beginning.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby RoryOF » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:34 am

You should look for myfile.bak (substitute correct filename, but leave the .bak). Use the Search utility on the Start Button Search for myfile,bak and tell it to search for hidden files and folders (to be safe).

The ASCII filter message and the pages of ????? are bad news; your best hope is to find an automatic backup file. It is possible (but unlikely) that there may be some information in the corrupted file. Leave it alone and wait for further instructions. If you do find the *.bak file, rename it to newfile.odt to avoid any possibility of overwriting the old file.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby RoryOF » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:44 pm

RoryOF wrote:It is possible (but unlikely) that there may be some information in the corrupted file. Leave it alone and wait for further instructions.


My archivers object to opening the corrupted master file, saying it is damaged or not a valid archive. Perhaps someone else will try?
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby Robert Tucker » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:12 pm

My archive manager and unzip command will not handle it either.

The Linux "file" command just gives it as a data file, not zip, not .odt, so it may be a binary file.

Yudit opens it as a series of blank characters.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby RoryOF » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:22 pm

Robert Tucker wrote:My archive manager and unzip command will not handle it either.
The Linux "file" command just gives it as a data file, not zip, not .odt, so it may be a binary file.
Yudit opens it as a series of blank characters.


As I feared. Her best bet is that there is (might be?) a back-up file.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby acknak » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:11 pm

Sorry, the file is toast--it contains nothing but zeros.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby Miss Mouse » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:22 am

Okay,
How about this one?

http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=bf75 ... 2b9fc3640c

I found seven copies of this file - at least with the right file name - but the fact that this one is nearly 40 KB is giving me enough hope to sleep tonight....

I promise to send a dozen yellow roses to whoever can open this file........
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby RoryOF » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:40 am

I'm getting an Invalid Archive message on your latest (copy of October 2009), which is sufficient to prevent any repair attempt.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby Miss Mouse » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:11 pm

Oh, Boy.

Well, I guess I'll just have to cope.

Going forward, could I ask for some advice, please?

As far as I can tell, I've got an unreliable laptop - an Acer Aspire 1642 WLMi, whose power cord keeps coming loose and then shuts out without warning (which is what caused this mess in the first place), as well as a CD drive that doesn't work, which adds another dimension to the problem.

It works off Open Office, and is protected by AVG Anti-Virus Free something or other.
That is literally all I know about what I've got to work with.

Without wishing to turn this into a relationship forum - my husband has left me (Warcraft, I'm embarrassed to say) and has taken all his IT knowledge with him.

Do you guys think that I should just get a new, cheap, very basic laptop and hard drive, and just get Microsoft Office, from here on in?
I only use this laptop for studying, writing up my course notes, and checking my emails and Skype.

I'd appreciate any advice you can give.
I'm now a single mother/Deserted Wife, and have only 2 hours per day to work on my course notes.
So if anything goes wrong, I am potentially screwed.
In this case, I've lost two full days of study time, and will very likely have to redo all my course notes, which entails an extra 30 hours of study time, before next Friday Morning.
Can't be done.

I may get away with it this time, but I sure as hell can't let it happen again.

So - back to the technology - cheap and cheerful new laptop?
Or buy a new power cord for this laptop, and a new hard drive? That might be cheaper still, but what about the fact that I'm now intimidated as hell about Open Office and what it might do to my course notes??!

Please let me know what you think.
Thanks,
Sally
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:42 pm

Again that problem: 22 pages term paper replaced with pound signs. What is strange is that OOo opens it but no archive manager can.

I don't think the technology is wrong here (but a new power cord would help at least avoid the crash). The safest way is to make several backups regularly (use USB sticks, but never save directly on the stick: save on the HD and then copy it to the stick with a file browser like Explorer).

By the way, don't you have a message on screen when the laptop is running out of power? You should be warned when the battery is about to be empty.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby acknak » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:50 pm

It's likely that the battery in your laptop is dead, so when the power cord comes loose, you immediately lose power because the battery has no capacity to fall back on. It's just an age thing: After a certain number of charge/discharge cycles, laptop batteries lose their capacity to hold a charge.

No software will help with that; MS Office will be just as likely to lose your work.

I generally advise people to find a local computer shop. They should be able to help you decide whether the problem can be fixed with a new cord ($10), a new battery ($100), a used laptop ($300), or a new laptop ($500+). A store should also be able to help "tune up" your old system to run better. One way or another, you have to get a reliable machine.

If it were me, I'd be very reluctant to put more than $100 into repairing an older laptop.

Unless you already know MS Office well, OOo should be fine for you, once you get the power problem resolved.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby RoryOF » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:05 pm

I think Acknak is right - don't spend too much. A new power cable is very low cost and probably a good investment. If iit is the plug that the cable plugs into, it might be worth binding the cable in permanently with some insulation tape - the friendly cable shop might assist.. One of my laptop batteries is old; if I run off it, suddenly, without warning, the computer can shut down.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby Miss Mouse » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:19 pm

Yeah, that's what happens.

I never get a warning message on screen, nothing.
The whole thing just dies.
Like I said before, I never thought it was a big problem, because I always just restarted, and Open Office would "initialise document recovery". That's what I thought would happen this time, but, no joy.

So I got myself a 4G memory stick, and can get a new external hard drive within the week.

It sounds to me like a new power cord and battery will be the best combination.

If everybody agrees, I have one final request for advice - sorry again to be so ignorant - um, do I have to order a specific battery type?
(God, I'm embarrassed even writing that)
I have a good website in Ireland that delivers fairly quickly - do I simply order an "Acer laptop battery"???
Or should I be getting more specific?

Could it really be as simple as I think???

Thanks again, everyone.
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Re: ASCII Filter Options

Postby RoryOF » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:56 pm

You need to tell them "Battery for Acer model XYZ", which will be written on a label on the bottom. Be sitting down when you read the price of the battery!
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