[Solved] Recovering document (pages are blank after crash)

Discuss the word processor

[Solved] Recovering document (pages are blank after crash)

Postby e l bev » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:22 pm

Seeking help recovering a document, or reverting to an older version if possible. OS is Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 netbook edition, using OOo 3.2.

The problem and attempted fixes:
-Computer crashed, and the .DOC file I had been editing does not recover on OOo startup ('recovery failed'). File contained styled text in standard font (approx. 18000 words), with a large number of Comments (formerly known as Notes in earlier OOo versions; created in MS Word with Track Changes).
-Attempting to open the document from the Recent Documents menu results in ASCII Filter Option window, but any choice results in blank document with no characters.
-In File Manager, the file in question appears as having a file size of zero kb (0kb), and attempting to open from there has the same result.
-Automatic backups had not been checked, so there are no backup files (*.bak).
-Same result (blank page) when attempting to change filename to .TXT or .RTF, or to rename as *.ZIP and open in Archive Manager.

On the file I had been working with, I saved changes every 5-10 minutes, but I can find no incremental backups. I know full well now that the native file format, .ODT, is more reliable and that I should backup elsewhere frequently - suggestions along these lines are not helpful. If anyone does know ways I might attempt to recover the last version of the file in question or a slightly earlier one (I have a backup from about a week ago), perhaps from temp or trash files located on my computer, your suggestions would be much appreciated. Explicit instructions would be most useful.

Many thanks for your time and consideration.
Last edited by Hagar Delest on Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: tagged [Solved].
OOo 3.2
Linux 10.04 (Lucid) Netbook
Asus 1018
e l bev
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: help recovering document (pages appear blank after crash

Postby RoryOF » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:41 pm

If the File Manager says file size is zero, then there is nothing in the file, so forget that line of investigation. Look in your backup directory as listed under / Tools / Options / OpenOffice.org / Paths and see is there any file there of about the correct size and date (don't worry about the name). Rename this to type .doc and try to open it. If nothing, then back to the last backup.
Apache OpenOffice 4.1.8 on Xubuntu 20.04.1 (mostly 64 bit version) and very infrequently on Win2K/XP
User avatar
RoryOF
Moderator
 
Posts: 31724
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:30 pm
Location: Ireland

Re: Help recovering document (pages appear blank after crash

Postby e l bev » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:17 pm

Many thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately there is nothing at all in the Backup folder. Have also had no luck digging through tmp files and other things in my trash directory. If there are any other possibilities people can think of - however slim - they would be most welcome.
OOo 3.2
Linux 10.04 (Lucid) Netbook
Asus 1018
e l bev
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: Help recovering document (pages appear blank after crash

Postby e l bev » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:13 pm

I managed to recover the file! While I appreciate the feedback, the suggestion above that the file was unrecoverable if not in the backup folder was completely unhelpful and misleading. OOo's internal backup method is not the only means of recovering lost data.

What did work for me was using the free software recommended and described here. I ended up recovering a huge block of deleted doc files using Foremost, and then poring through the results with roughly the correct file size. Time consuming, but effective in the end.
OOo 3.2
Linux 10.04 (Lucid) Netbook
Asus 1018
e l bev
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: [Solved] Recovering document (pages are blank after cras

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:28 pm

Well done!
It may help other users with the same problem indeed. I didn't think that such recovery applications would be able to recover something (I used PhotoRec once with success but after deletion by mistake).
LO 6.4.6 on Xubuntu 20.04 and Windows 10.
User avatar
Hagar Delest
Moderator
 
Posts: 29066
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: France

Re: [Solved] Recovering document (pages are blank after cras

Postby RoryOF » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:19 pm

A grave danger with using an undelete utility is that sometimes parts of the target file can have been overwritten with irrelevant data from other applications, but the recovered file can be presented to you as complete; indeed, as far as the undelete utility is concerned, it is, because that utility knows only that certain sectors should be filled with the content of the target file.. Normally binary data is visible in the recovered file as garbage characters, but I have known cases where text from some other file, written to the disk drive since the loss of the target file, was inserted into a document file; it was only on a careful re-read of the recovered target file that the substitution was discovered. It was very nearly a nasty accident!
Apache OpenOffice 4.1.8 on Xubuntu 20.04.1 (mostly 64 bit version) and very infrequently on Win2K/XP
User avatar
RoryOF
Moderator
 
Posts: 31724
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:30 pm
Location: Ireland

Re: [Solved] Recovering document (pages are blank after cras

Postby e l bev » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:28 pm

Thank you for the heads up, RoryOF.
For a number of reasons, it seems crucial to be thorough and cautious in using data carving programs like Foremost. Since it might be of help to others, I will give a bit more detail on the method I used:
After recovering the huge mass of deleted DOC files (~12500 from my HD), I carefully went through all of those in the file size range of the document I had lost. I ended up with about a dozen recent versions of the file, immediately renamed these, saved a copy of each one in odt, determined which was the latest version, and went through closely to make sure it was fully intact. I saved the other recent versions just in case, and renamed what I deemed the latest one. Needless to say, I have now turned on the 'Always create Backup' option, continue to back up to other locations (cloud, external drive), and am working in the native ODT format.
(Not sure if the backup function is related, but I am now grappling with the problem that OOo is running painfully slowly on edits, esp when using redo/undo).
OOo 3.2
Linux 10.04 (Lucid) Netbook
Asus 1018
e l bev
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: [Solved] Recovering document (pages are blank after cras

Postby RoryOF » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:34 pm

You obviously have computer skills. You will realise that many of the posters on this forum do not have such skills, are in a state of panic because of the loss of their file (however caused) and might not be able to handle the intricacies of an undelete utility, hence our reluctance to suggest one.
Apache OpenOffice 4.1.8 on Xubuntu 20.04.1 (mostly 64 bit version) and very infrequently on Win2K/XP
User avatar
RoryOF
Moderator
 
Posts: 31724
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:30 pm
Location: Ireland

Re: [Solved] Recovering document (pages are blank after cras

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:55 pm

e l bev wrote:(Not sure if the backup function is related, but I am now grappling with the problem that OOo is running painfully slowly on edits, esp when using redo/undo).

I've never seen any problem (but running mostly OOo on W2k and then Vista).
You can try the vanilla version, I trust only that one on Ubuntu: [Ubuntu] Installing OOo on Debian and Co.
LO 6.4.6 on Xubuntu 20.04 and Windows 10.
User avatar
Hagar Delest
Moderator
 
Posts: 29066
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: France

Re: [Solved] Recovering document (pages are blank after cras

Postby jvulpillieres » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:06 pm

I had exactly the same problem as "e l bev" and I tried the same solution with Foremost.
A bit tricky and time consuming, but it came to a good end. The number of recovered documents was much less than "e l bev", but checking those in the file size range of the document I had lost, I finally found some versions of it and picked the most recent one (about 1/2h before computer crashed).
Thanks a lot for all the provided information.
OpenOffice.org v3.3 on Ubuntu 10.04
jvulpillieres
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:19 pm

Re: [Solved] Recovering document (pages are blank after cras

Postby stupifiery » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:20 pm

Woohoo!!! I thought I had lost about 12 hours of work before I found this page. I had used an example as my template and worked on it from there but when my laptop lid shut for transport from upstairs to downstairs, open office had to go through the recovery process and failed with my paper! It only recovered the original that I was using as a template!
Long story short I found a file in the appdata/local/temp/svbkn.tmp named 1.odt that looked small for my file as I was working in .doc format, but it was the right one!!!

Woohoo! Thanks again everyone!
open office 3.3.0 on Win7
stupifiery
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:14 pm


Return to Writer

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 23 guests