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[Solved] Recovering A File: ASCII & Weird Icon Question

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:30 am
by Elisabeth888
Dear Forum,

My PC froze up with the Windows Blue Circle of Death whilst I was editing an odt doc I created on Sep 4th. It's a magazine article due today -- trying hard not to panic....

The computer totally froze -- couldn't get into Task Manager to shut down anything. Had to turn it off and reboot -- I know -- Not Good. When I restarted the PC, the usually reliable Open Office Recovery Tool failed. I am told the file is "locked by an unknown user" and the dreaded ASCII box appears -- when the ASCII doc opens, it is all hashtags. I understand this is Very Bad News. This has never happened in 20 years of using Open Office...

I thought of downloading Recuva, but Windows screams at me and says the file might hurt my PC -- will it? The download is on CNET.

Even though Open Office is set to automatically save files, I can't find any version of the file in the temp or backup folders. The back up folder is completely empty. The temp folder doesn't seem to have anything useful. I appreciate all the suggestions in this forum -- I tried a few of them, as you can success :(

The document -- horary tma.odt -- can't be found in my documents folder. HOWEVER, it does exist on a Skydrive folder/drive -- but I really don't know what that is. The icon for the ODT file has two blue arrows on it -- I've never seen an icon like this -- what does it mean? None of my other ODT files on any drive look like this -- those I can open.

I am attaching that file because I see that this is what other forum posters have been asked to do. The file is 25KB -- which I understand is better than 0KB.

Truly, truly grateful for any kind assistance. Praying I do not have to recreate a 3000 word article from scratch :(

-- Elisabeth

Re: Help Recovering A File -- ASC II & Weird Icon Question

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:08 am
by RoryOF
I got nothing from your file.

I cannot answer for the Recuva file from Cnet; I always go to head office, so try

This posting by John_Ha may be useful

John_Ha wrote:See [Tutorial] How to find and un-delete Writer temporary files for instructions on how to identify and un-delete the temporary files Writer wrote while you were editing the file, and then deleted. You should be able to recover your file as it was when you last opened or saved it, or as it was when it was last saved with AutoRecovery.

You may also find previous versions of the file in the folder it is located in, but which have since been deleted.

If it is any consolation, Anthony Trollope, perhaps the greatest and much under-appreciated author of the 19th century, would write 3000 words in three hours every morning, using an old-fashioned pen and ink.

 Edit: the files in the tmp folder may have files with random names of the form C:\Users\fred\AppData\Local\Temp\sv2ju1mk.tmp\sv2ju21c.tmp. Unless you know this, even if you find C:\Users\fred\AppData\Local\Temp\sv2ju1mk.tmp\sv2ju21c.tmp, you will never think that it is actually your C:\Users\fred\My Documents\ImportantFile.odt file!! 

Re: Help Recovering A File -- ASC II & Weird Icon Question

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:48 pm
by Elisabeth888
Thank you, Rory. This has been helpful. I downloaded Recuva. Did not do a deep scan, but it found odt files of the article in various stages. Successfully retrieved one from four days ago. The one dated yesterday is all hashtags. Wondering if a deep scan will help...will try later. Found a locked file, too -- wish that would open, because that is probably the latest draft.

Next step: will try to retrieve temp files -- fingers crossed.

Still confused by the odt icon with the two blue arrows on it...wish I knew what that meant...

Thx again for your prompt reply -- this forum is awesome!


Re: Help Recovering A File -- ASC II & Weird Icon Question

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:05 pm
by RoryOF
If the file is .+lock.MyFile.odt then it is a small housekeeping file with no content of your original file; it exists merely to prevent two users (or one user using two instances) editing the file so OO doesn't get confused. It is normally deleted when the main file is correctly closed; it can be left after a program crash and should be deleted.

Re: Help Recovering A File -- ASC II & Weird Icon Question

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:20 pm
by RoryOF
In general terms - it can vary from operating system to operating system and file system to file system - programs may use "unused" areas of the hard disk as scratchpad for storage of interim copies of the file being worked on. As these interim copies are finished, their space is released. Then the final updated copy program is eventually written to disk. When OO or the computer crashes the final copy is not written, or perhaps only partly written and on next opening the damage (the partial copy) is revealed as ### characters. The pointers to interim copies (if any) will have been erased, but the area of disk still holds the actual data. Undelete programs such as Recuva and PhotoRec are sometimes able to find such interim copies; but don't know what to call them; they assign them arbitrary names and it is the responsibility of the distraught computer user to examine these and see if their data is helpful.

However, depending on the operating system and file system in use, continuing use of the computer after a crash can overwrite these hidden copies of the program data, so it is imperative that after a crash a recovery process is commenced as soon as possible.

Re: Help Recovering A File -- ASC II & Weird Icon Question

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:38 am
by Elisabeth888
Rory -- I have great news to report: Recuva worked!!! My files were recovered -- a miracle -- thank you so much for the referral!!!