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Missing documents help!!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:51 am
by philclark7
Hi my 12 year old son has just completed his first set of assignments for a new level 2 course. He has repeatedly saved the assignments over the past few weeks.

He clicked save before closing the documents last night, we went to open them this morning to email to tutor and a message came up saying we had to register openoffice (could not access teh documents unless we did), so we registered. Then clicked to open documents and it opens it but it is now just 10 pages of hash tags!!

Tried opening his planning document as well and that also appeared as just hash tags. Older documents open fine. The two newer documents come up with a message asking you to set character set before it will open them the older documents do not.

Any idea how I can get these documents to display properly, one very stressed mum with a very upset 12 year old panicing he'll have to do it all again!!

Thanks

Re: Missing documents help!!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:16 pm
by RoryOF
Regretfully, these documents are lost, most possibly due to over-hasty close down of the computer before the internal buffers on the hard disk had flushed to disk; that one was asked to enter identity information for OpenOffice is a sign of the over-hasty close down. Is it also possible that he powered down or hibernated the computer with the files still open in OpenOffice?

Check the [Tutorial] How to find and un-delete Writer temporary files I mentioned above - you should be able to get back the file as it was the last time it was opened.

Another possible hope of recovery is to try and undelete any temporary file OpenOffice was using. As soon as possible do the following:

Download Recuva and let it do an indepth recovery of deleted files on your computer. You may get a file containing some or all of your data (or not). Do this as a first priority; other use of the computer may overwrite any existing but deleted files and prevent their recovery. There is no guarantee that you will recover anything useful.

Re: Missing documents help!!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:18 pm
by John_Ha
Welcome to the forum albeit at such a stressful time for you :(

When a file is full of #### it means that all the data has been lost and the file is actually full of NUL characters, which display as " # ".

There is no hope with the files you have ...

... but all is not lost as you may be able to un-delete previous versions of the file. If not, you might be able to un-delete the temporary files which Writer wrote while you were editing the file, and then may - or may not - have deleted.

See [Tutorial] How to find and un-delete Writer temporary files for full instructions. You should be able to recover your file as it was when you last opened 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.

Re: Missing documents help!!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:17 pm
by philclark7
Thanks both, we have tried to find a temp file with no luck!

Looks like he will have to write it again, thankfully he has a great memory and can remember what he wrote on most of the pages.

I think I will teach him how to back up documents to the cloud so at least if anything happens in the future he will have some previous version available.

Re: Missing documents help!!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:27 pm
by RoryOF
Also tell him always to close down the computer using the formal close down procedure; after the "OK to power off" message llet him wait some ten or so seconds until the drives have spun down before turning off the power or closing the laptop lid.

A second writing is often better.

Re: Missing documents help!!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:32 pm
by robleyd
You might also wish to look at Timestamped backup to save local backups, each timestamped.

Re: Missing documents help!!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:54 pm
by John_Ha
philclark7 wrote:I think I will teach him how to back up documents to the cloud so at least if anything happens in the future he will have some previous version available.

An excellent idea - and make sure he does, or install a backup utility to do so every day. Switch on Create a backup copy - see the Tutorial.

We have many posts from university graduates who have lost their thesis. A recent post said
I've spent a year now working on this one important document of 70 pages.
Now it's almost finished, I saved it and closed it. Now every time I try to open it, it crashes after the first click.
...
Please help me save a year's worth of hard work.

Re: Missing documents help!!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:27 pm
by Bill
philclark7 wrote:He has repeatedly saved the assignments over the past few weeks.

philclark7 wrote:I think I will teach him how to back up documents to the cloud so at least if anything happens in the future he will have some previous version available.

Did you try right-clicking the document file in File Explorer and selecting Previous Versions? If the document has been saved repeatedly for weeks, then Windows 10 should have stored some previous versions of the file locally. You could also use File History to backup files to an external hard drive. Previous Versions can restore file versions from either the locally saved file or from the backup.

Windows 10: Restore Previous Versions of Files, Folders, and Drives in Windows 10