The Dreaded Pound Symbols ####

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The Dreaded Pound Symbols ####

Postby mosi » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:55 pm

Hi everyone,

I did a little bit of research before making this thread. Apparently when you try to open an ODT and get nothing but pound symbols, you're essentially S.O.L.

If I'm wrong about that, please let me know.

I thought I'd share my experience to hopefully help someone else avoid the same mistake I made -- and maybe get an answer about how to fix it. My hopes aren't particularly high for the latter. :knock:

So, here's what I did:

Backed up a folder (created in Win 7) called something like "[CURRENT] work documents"

I have a ton of other files on this drive -- everything seemed to have been backed up correctly, other than the documents in folders with [] symbols in them. I have tried renaming the folders to no avail. Nothing seems to "bring back" the .ODT documents I had in those folders specifically. For the record, all of the .txt documents in those folders appear to be "empty" as well.

Interestingly, these files all appear to have the correct size, e.g. 57kb, etc.

Hope that makes sense.

Tl;DR - Don't use []'s in your folder paths.

If there's any information that could potentially help me retrieve my files... sweet baby jesus I will give you the biggest internet-hug ever.

Thoughts?
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Re: The Dreaded Pound Symbols ####

Postby Bill » Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:56 pm

Did the files in the original folder fail to open properly after the folder was backed up? What was used to back up the folder? How can someone else reproduce the problem?
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Re: The Dreaded Pound Symbols ####

Postby mosi » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:37 am

Hi Bill,

The files in the original folder worked fine (for well over a year, I might add).

I backed up the files on an external drive -- nothing fancy, just click and drag, you know?

Foolishly, I didn't confirm that the documents transferred properly before wiping the HDD they were originally from. The strange thing is that the external drive these documents were backed up on has zero problems, everything else backed up correctly, etc. The only files that seem to have been affected were the ones in folders with [ ] symbols.

I'm not sure that anyone can reproduce the problem. I haven't tried to, anyway; I'll see if I can reproduce it by backing up some test .odt's with similar folder names.

If you or anyone else happens to have some advice or thoughts on this, I'd definitely be all ears. Thanks for the reply.
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Re: The Dreaded Pound Symbols ####

Postby Villeroy » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:48 am

mosi wrote:I backed up the files on an external drive -- nothing fancy, just click and drag, you know?

There are fancy backup systems which keep encrypted copies of each versions of every file you work on and you don't even need to any drag and drop anything. I wonder why there seems to be no such thing for the Windows OS.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: The Dreaded Pound Symbols ####

Postby RoryOF » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:24 am

As far as I can ascertain, the problem with [] symbols used in a file path is an Operating System specific problem. I didn't have it with a test in Ubuntu; but haven't a Windows version online at present to check that O.S.

As a longtime computer user (from before the early days of personal computers) I would normally only use plain alpha/numerical chars in a filename/path, from habit.
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Re: The Dreaded Pound Symbols ####

Postby Bill » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:58 am

I tested on Windows 8, copying a folder with [] in the folder name to an external hard drive. There was no problem opening ODT files in the folder with AOO 4, OOo 3.2 portable or LO 4.0.3.3 portable.
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Re: The Dreaded Pound Symbols ####

Postby RoryOF » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:16 am

A quick Google suggests that Windows Powershell uses [] to enclose search information; also that [] chars are not usually reseved chars in file/path names.

I wonder if the problem might not have been caused by the write buffers for the external backup drive not having flushed. It is essential using any form of plug-in storage that the correct removal protocol is observed (I don't put this here merely for benefit of the original poster, but as advice in general). USB devices should be removed by using the Eject icon in the system tray (or as appropriate for the operating system) and then wait for confirmation that it is "safe to remove".
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