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Need Help Fixing/Decoding Corrupt .doc

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:43 am
by NikoVlada
Some of you may want to punch me in the face for being a fool for doing this. Over the past two months I've been working on a rough draft for a novel I'm pumping out. Being the novice I am with Open Office I did not know that I should've kept a backup .odt and mindlessly relied on a single copy. So when Windows 8.1 decided it would be fantastic to randomly update in the middle of my writing, I ended up with an amnesiac Open Office who could not recall any recent files and when it came to opening my .doc draft it had the infamous, "Can only be opened by unknown user blah blah blah open as read-only or edit copy?" I tried the open as edit copy where I got the next infamous message about formatting and whether or not i wanted western, ASCII, and so forth. So I went through that, using the default selection and then got the infamous of the infamous pages upon pages of "############". For the next 3 hours I spent scowering the internet, calling up tech buddies and whoever knew a thing or two about retrieving corrupted files. I got plenty of answers however none totally fixed my problem. However I have not given up for the two reasons, the first one being that 40,000 words is too much to rewrite and I believe I am close to a possible solution.
One of the solutions I came across was opening the file with the RecoverMyFiles Demo. With the "Renaming Extension" method leaving me a .txt copy of the document that was all blank I thought the entire document was wipe, however RecoverMyFiles said otherwise. I selected the document and looked in the Display box and noticed really weird characters: ";d¶ï(Qz£ÌõGp‰¢Ëô"
Having read a post or two about the possibility of a virus, I looked at the ";d" with suspicion as it looked like a lowercase ":D", however I am not going to jump to conclusions so quickly. I then immediately went to check out the hex and I found the equivalent to those 40k words in those weird characters in hexidecimal values. I then went to text and checked out the ASCI and sure enough, there was my document. How could I tell as I am unable to interpret these strange characters? The formatting was a mirror - it was looking at my rough draft translated into the most alien of languages.
I then sent a copy of this to one of my literary colleagues who has some skill in the IT department. She was unable to get the same results. To her the Display, Hex, and Text all turned up as "--------". She then said it must me something to do with my laptop and I am better off having someone look at the file on my laptop. So a few hours ago I messaged a buddy of mine if he could help me decode this alien tongue. I haven't received a message from him yet however I will most likely be seeing him tomorrow and I'll have him look over it hopefully. I repeated the process of scanning with RecoverMyFiles and I got my results of there being a ton of data, but in that alien tongue that deludes me like the extraterrestrial scribbles it is made of.
So here's the situation summed up, if I open the .doc file in Open Office, it brings me 73 pages of the infamous "###########". However, according to RecoverMyFiles all the text is still there but scrambled in those odd characters. The hexidecimal data is still there as well. However, because I can't export the findings because of me having the demo issue I don't know how I'm supposed to decode the darn thing. Also, when the document is opened on another computer with open office and recovermyfiles, it's all blank. I have encoded information that I can't translate using RecoverMyFiles to export and information that refuses to be sent with the .doc to another computer. Does anyone have any ideas? I am in desperate need of a solution because I have a few deadlines to meet for this novel. If anyone can help me decode/fix this corrupted file, I shall name my first child after you and write a book in your honor once I establish myself in the literary world.

Re: Need Help Fixing/Decoding Corrupt .doc

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:19 am
by Hagar Delest
Hi and welcome to the forum!

Sadly, quite nothing to do I fear, see: 22 pages term paper replaced with pound signs.

Check the temporary folder of the system (see in OO Tools>Options>OO>Paths). If there are folders like sgmlf.tmp with a file having the same name inside, make a copy of that file, rename it in .odt and cross your fingers. If you have not rebooted, you might have those files still there.

If it had been a .odt, you may have been able to recover something but .doc is a binary format, hence the alien characters. Only MS guys might be able to decipher it. That's why open standards like ODF (.odt) were created...

If you want to help fix this problem, you can also do this survey created for this very problem: Document Recovery Survey.

Re: Need Help Fixing/Decoding Corrupt .doc

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:28 pm
by NikoVlada
Hey Hagar,
Know any MS guys I could talk to? How would I be able to contact these people?

Re: Need Help Fixing/Decoding Corrupt .doc

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:01 pm
by Hagar Delest
Not at all, I switched to GNU/Linux at home a long time ago!

I doubt they have a customer support for such problems. Especially if the file was saved with a non MS product.