Help!! Document Replaced with Blank Page

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Help!! Document Replaced with Blank Page

Postby bebelion » Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:35 pm

I was working on a 50-page document when, all of a sudden, the document closed. When I re-opened it, there was just a blank document there. Is there any way to recover my document/work?
OpenOffice 3.1 or 2.4 on Windows 10
bebelion
 
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Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:32 pm

Re: Help!! Document Replaced with Blank Page

Postby John_Ha » Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:01 pm

Welcome to the forum.

How big is the .odt file now? If it is not personal, can you upload it here (128kB max) or on mediafire for larger files, and someone can have a look at it.

If all the text is gone, you can recover the previous version from your backup ... but if you don't have a backup, your only chance is if you had previously saved the document as a .odt file.

If so, and if you are lucky, you might be able to un-delete some of the temporary files which Writer wrote while you were editing the .odt file, and then deleted when you closed Writer. Act quickly - they risk being overwritten the longer you leave it. Note that this only works if you were editing a .odt file - it does not work if you were editing a .doc file.

Using RECUVA to un-delete Writer .odt temporary files which are now deleted
Another on RECUVA

These may also be helpful.

Using 7-ZIP
Inside an odt file
Hints on how to prevent it happening

Always set AutoRecovery to ON - this saves a copy of the file every few minutes while you are working on it - it protects you against things like power cuts, OS freezes etc. Do so by: Tools > Options > Load/Save > General ...

Always?? set Create A Backup copy to ON - this keeps the previously saved version of the file fred.odt as fred.bak in the Backup folder. Do so by: Tools > Options > Load/Save > General ... The Backup folder location is shown by Tools > Options > OpenOffice > Paths ... You may need to switch on Show hidden files (Control Panel > Folder Options > View ...) to be able to see the folder and its contents.

Why the ??? Because you should remember that highly_personal.bak will still be in the Backup folder long after you have deleted highly_personal.odt.
LO 6.3.5.2, Windows 10 Home 64 bit

See the Writer Guide, the Writer FAQ, the Writer Tutorials and Writer for students.

Remember: Always save your Writer files as .odt files. - see here for the many reasons why.
John_Ha
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Re: Help!! Document Replaced with Blank Page - force error

Postby John_Ha » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:59 pm

I have done some tests and I can now force Writer to lose my document and replace it with a blank page. The steps to reproduce are:

1 File > New > create a new text document. Writer calls it Untitled 1.odt.
2 Type some text into the new document. I actually copied in the text of Vanity Fair to make it a large file which took many seconds to save
3 File > Save As > vanity.odt ... wait a few seconds and kill the soffice.exe and soffice.bin processes (ie Writer) using TaskManager before Writer has finished writing the file.
4 Start Writer. Writer offers to recover the file Untitled 1. When it does so, as expected, the file is completely blank.

So this may explain how people get blank files.

It may be what happened to you, namely:

1 You had never saved the file before.
2 You went File > Save as ..., and saved the file. In your case, it looks like something external caused Writer to crash
3 Before Writer had finished writing the file, Writer? your PC? crashed, and the file was not saved.
4 When you start Writer, Writer reverts to the only thing it had, namely Untitled 1.odt, which was completely blank.

If you repeat the above test using a file which has been saved as a .odt file before, you get

1 File > Open > choose vanity_2.odt, a large file which will take many seconds to save.
2 Type some text into the document
3 File > Save > ... wait a few seconds and kill the soffice.exe and soffice.bin processes (ie Writer) using TaskManager before Writer has finished writing the file.
4 Start Writer. Writer offers to recover the file vanity_2.odt. When it does so, vanity_2.odt does not have the new edits - it is as it was when opened at 1 above.

So, it appears that Writer writes the output file in a temporary store, and only if the file is written completely, does Writer delete the old one, and replace it with the new one.

I will do some more tests with a view to reproducing the "My file is full of #" or "My file is full of zeros" or "My .odt file will not open because the ZIP file is broken" faults.

Note also that ctrl/a > ctrl/x (or delete) > crtl/q selects the entire document, deletes it and closes Writer all in 3 keystrokes. It could be a disaster but for the fact that you get a pop-up window asking if you want to save your changes.
Last edited by John_Ha on Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
LO 6.3.5.2, Windows 10 Home 64 bit

See the Writer Guide, the Writer FAQ, the Writer Tutorials and Writer for students.

Remember: Always save your Writer files as .odt files. - see here for the many reasons why.
John_Ha
Volunteer
 
Posts: 7712
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:51 pm
Location: UK

Re: Help!! Document Replaced with Blank Page

Postby John_Ha » Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:37 pm

Another thought - have a look in the AOO Temporary Folder (which on my Windows 7 is C:\Users\John\AppData\Local\Temp\) for a folder with a name like svb3qvbt.tmp. Look for files in that folder called something like svb3r7nz.tmp. Rename to .odt files and check them, or if that does not work, unzip the tmp files and look at content.xml.

You may need to tick Show Hidden Files (and un-tick Hide Protected System Files?) at Start > Control Panel > Folder Options > View ...
LO 6.3.5.2, Windows 10 Home 64 bit

See the Writer Guide, the Writer FAQ, the Writer Tutorials and Writer for students.

Remember: Always save your Writer files as .odt files. - see here for the many reasons why.
John_Ha
Volunteer
 
Posts: 7712
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:51 pm
Location: UK


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