Text all replaced with ###

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Text all replaced with ###

Postby Ayanin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:31 pm

I know I've had this problem before, but I forgot how to fix it, and could not find the thread.

The problem is that upon trying to open an Open Office file, all of my entire text has become "#########################" ... the whole document. Please, someone tell me again how to fix this!! My work is ALL stuck in this format! My open office version is 3.2, and I'm using windows XP.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby acknak » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:52 pm

You're welcome to attach the document here: someone can take a look to be sure, but this behavior generally indicates that the document data is damaged. Most often, there is nothing left to recover.

See this thread for one example: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=17677
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:57 pm

Do you confirm that the last time the file has been edited it was with OOo 3.2?

I thought we would get rid of that problem, see 22 pages term paper replaced with pound signs.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Ayanin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:48 pm

I am 99% sure that the last time the document was saved, was with open office. This had happened before, when I had another computer that was failing, but even then someone was able to offer a solution that totally fixed the problem. So it wasn't data corruption.

What happens is, when I go to open the file, I get a prompt, something about ASCII text... and no matter what I seem to choose, when the document opens, it is totally full of "#####".
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby RoryOF » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:52 pm

Look in your User Profile for a backup copy. Othterwise upload the file for someone to check out. Don't expect much.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Ayanin » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:00 am

ALL of my open office files are now doing this, actually. I only noticed it opening the one, but after checking, all of them are now doing it. But since the documents are private, and for my work, I can't really afford to post it online anyway.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby RoryOF » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:08 am

it is hardly likely that _all_ your OpenOffice files have become corrupt at one and the same time. So you should delete your User Profile to see if that fixes the problem; a new safe User Profile is generated on restarting OpenOffice. If that doesn't work, you should delete profile again, and then reinstall OOo.
http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=74&t=12426
Last edited by RoryOF on Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby acknak » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:14 am

If a fresh settings profile doesn't help, and it seems that all of your files are behaving this way, then you might have a broken OOo, or broken hardware.

You can try opening the files with different software: if the files are intact, a zip archiver should be able to at least show you a content listing without raising any errors.

You can also make a copy of several files, take them to a different system and try to open them with a different copy of OOo.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Ayanin » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:20 am

How do I delete my user profile?

This is just crazy... I've been using open office for some time, but if on some freak accident I will suddenly loose everything like this... who the heck would gamble all of their important work using a program that has a random "oops, you just lost EVERYTHING" problem?
Last edited by Ayanin on Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:20 am

Indeed, make a copy of a file, rename it to .zip and check the content.xml file. If you can read your text, your data is not that lost.

You can try to downgrade, perhaps it would help (but that's just a workaround).

For the profile: reset your OOo user profile but don't transfer your personal data during the welcome process (if you had 2.x before), configuration files from the former version might corrupt the new profile.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Ayanin » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:45 am

It's still not fixed. I tried renaming it, deleting it and installing the software again, and still all of my files open as "##########."

I cannot believe this is happening. (Especially when it happened before and someone here helped me fix it.) This is a pretty big problem. You'd think the developers would be on top of something that can literally cost someone all of their work... In my case, this is all of my work for about a decade. Just gone, because I trusted Open Office?
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby TheGurkha » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:04 am

Do you have any other backups of this work?

Can you copy one of them to a USB stick or soemthing like that and try to open it on another machine with OOo on it?
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Ayanin » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:19 am

TheGurkha wrote:Do you have any other backups of this work?

Can you copy one of them to a USB stick or soemthing like that and try to open it on another machine with OOo on it?


Well, I could try that... but if it worked, it would be the equivalent of finding out I'll have to wipe my computer and reinstall EVERYTHING to fix this. Because I've got probably hundreds of files here, and it would take forever to open each one of them and try to re-save them somehow.

Sadly, if someone can't help soon, I'll have to try this drastic option, having already lost a day of work time here because of it. I'm really, really not looking forward to it, but... if someone can't help soon, I'll have no choice. I can't just sit on my hands because Open Office has a "russian roulette bug" (the unlucky ones just loose everything). However this being the SECOND time this has happened to me, I may be forced to seriously consider giving up the program, and I'll hate that even more. I really did like it, and had just gotten to the point of preferring it over my old, paid software. But if this bug is a recurring thing, and keeps happening to me for whatever reason, then I can't really afford to keep trusting all of my work to what amounts to a gamble with irreplaceable work.

Here's hoping SOMEONE knows how to fix it.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Ayanin » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:31 am

I just had another person on another computer try to open one of the files, and they also got "##################"
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby RoryOF » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:22 am

Have you tried an indepth virus and malware scan on your computer with the latest virus definitions?
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby acknak » Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:06 pm

Here's one more thing you can try: does a file that we know is not damaged open correctly on your system?

Here's a link to a sample file in another thread: download/file.php?id=6964 You should be able to click the link and have your browser save the document. Then, try to open it with OOo.

If that works ok, we can be fairly sure that OOo is working correctly on your system and that the problem is in your documents.

Of course, it doesn't help recover your documents, but it will help rule out one possible problem: some malfunction in OOo.

Honestly, I can't think of any scenario where a problem with OOo could damage a whole class of files without your knowledge. And, if the document files are damaged, then it seems unlikely that this is the same problem that you had before because there is no simple fix for damaged files, other than restoring from a backup.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:36 pm

Can you upload a file so that we check if it has been corrupted or not (see: How to attach a document here)?
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Ayanin » Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:54 pm

For some reason, the files I'd backed up the day before opened, but any open office file that was actually on my computer, created after I got this computer (and installed open office on it), opened as "####". So somehow, it identified every file I had made on this computer since I've had it, (not those from a previous computer, or those from my cds), and opened only those "current" files as "####".

Talk about bizarre. It sounds like it definitely had something to do with the install of OO on THIS computer. But no matter what I did... re-installing, messing with profiles... nothing worked. And the problem carried over to other machines trying to open the files.

Basically what I've done was to restore everything from the day before yesterday from my cd, but... I lost some irreplaceable work because of this. I'm still debating whether I want to take a chance with this in the future, or just go back to my much crappier paid software (which I can ill afford to do). Regardless of what the problem actually WAS, there was no crash in Open Office. That is, unlike other people, it wasn't that my computer suddenly shut off, or that OO suddenly crashed, or that my hard drive is dying, or that I have a virus (trust me... I don't use Internet Explorer for that reason, and since using firefox, the only time I EVER have problems is on the rare occasion I open Explorer, and then it's only spyware, which I remove immediately because I know the moment I use that piece-o-junk, there will always be spyware). I am exceedingly careful with my computer because my work is on it. I don't visit pirate-media sites, I don't really play video games, I don't even usually go to forums... nothing. I work, and read the news on here, and watch an occasional video on a site I've never once had problems with (other than my previous computer's dire lack of ram). So whatever the problem is, it's NOT my computer, it's definitely not a virus (I'm not exactly computer illiterate... I grew up with a brother who builds and programs them), and there was no crash in any of my software when this happened. One minute it was fine. The next minute... not fine.

So the only thing I can think of is, somehow my copying and pasting asian (Japanese) text into a file I didn't even save... somehow that apparently caused it to have a meltdown where text encoding was concerned, and then associate whatever it did because of it with all of the existing OO files on this computer. I would LOVE for the programmers to look into this problem from that angle, because that is probably what happened last time I had this problem, too. (I work with Japanese text a lot, but not usually in OO.) It is, after all, related to text handling, and somewhat out of the realm of ordinary use. My guess would be, where the English version is concerned, there probably haven't been enough people using Asian text in it to really find all of the bugs that might come up with doing so. The text was also copied from a rather ancient (90's) Japanese word processor (an ancient version of NJStar), which probably didn't help, I suppose. That was the last thing I did in open office, before the problem began, and while the program closed and everything just fine at the time, when I opened my other files, there were the "###'s.

I think this is a case of two different bugs having the same result, in other words. Apparently this can happen if the file becomes corrupt or a person's machine or program crashes... but apparently it can ALSO happen with some kind of weird asian text issue, even without any kind of crash or system/software malfunction.

Thanks anyhow for trying to help. I just hope that someone looks into this OTHER issue, rather than everyone continuing to assume the problem is caused only one way. Clearly that is not the case.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:51 pm

Thanks for the follow up.

Perhaps you could report it: [Tutorial] Reporting bugs or suggestions, detailing what was the font used and uploading that old file.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Roger Powell » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:12 pm

Ayanin, I have exactly the same issue and it only started since installing this version.

I am using OO Writer in version 3.2.0 OOO320m12 (Build 9483) on Windows Vista Ultimate SP2.

I have not opened the files with any other software and I have not used characters other than English. The file has a table in it.

I have been using OO for several years without any problems but this has happened to me three times in the last week and I am not game to look at all my other files. The first couple of times I managed to retrieve a backup but this time the backup corrupted too.

On trying to open the file, a dialogue box titled "ASCII Filter Options" opens. This asks for "Character Set"; "Default Fonts"; "Language"; and "Paragraph Breaks". (This dialogue box usually opens hidden behind other open windows).

Accepting the default values, the file itself then opens, completely filled with ##### characters and then the number of pages begins to expand - and keeps doing so until I exit the file. My 5 page document rapidly became a 100+ pages before aborting it.

Can anyone help?
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Roger Powell » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:17 pm

I should also mention that the file type is ODT.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:26 pm

Can you upload a file so that we check it (see: How to attach a document here)?
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Roger Powell » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:40 pm

The file is too big at 640k and anyway I prefer not to make it's contents public but I am prepared to e-mail it.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:41 pm

Indeed, I've tried with the file you've sent me and I can't get anything else than the hashes.

Do you confirm this file has not been saved with 3.2? If so, I can't see how a mere upgrade could have had an impact one existing files!
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Roger Powell » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:10 pm

Hagar, the file was originally created with an earlier OO version but has been edited and saved several times since with v3.2.

My comment
it only started since installing this version

was merely an observation to help put the issue in context. I have no idea yet whether it is an issue with OO or the OS or anything else but at least you know there are at least two of us with the same problem.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:40 pm

Roger Powell wrote:at least you know there are at least two of us with the same problem.

I know too well about that! See the link in my post at top of this topic: I've collected all the topics about that very same issue (one of the posts in the other thread, you can't miss it). I've even filed a bug report but the devs may be to scared to acknowledge there is a problem. There are too many cases with different situations to conclude that the issue is specific to an external cause. The problem is to spot the trigger.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Roger Powell » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:53 am

Having now skimmed that other thread, I confirm my memory stick has not been used recently and has never been used on the Writer files that have become ##### files.

The only 'abnormality' in my system is that I am using a Netgear networked drive to store files and back them up.

I have run my anti-virus and it comes up clean.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Roger Powell » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:50 am

I have just lost another file. :crazy:

This time I noticed something that I overlooked in previous posts.

The files I have lost have been preceded by a failed 'Save' procedure and then a 'Close File'.

The error message when attempting to save is from 'Open Office.org 3.2' and it reads:

'Error saving the document <filename>.
Write error.
The file could not be written.


Surely this narrows the problem down to a file corruption trigger somewhere in the 'Save and Exit' routine? :D
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Hagar Delest » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:56 pm

The problem is that usually, when you get such error message, it doesn't close the document and you can still save it under another name or copy and paste the content into another file.
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Re: Text all replaced with ###

Postby Roger Powell » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:57 am

Hagar, that is correct (for me).
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