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Recover Overwritten File

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by Ric, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. Ric

    Ric Godfather DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Apr 26, 2002
    I swear this wasn't me but my wife!!!

    I received a panic call from my wife this morning that she thinks she has accidentally overwritten a very big and important spreadsheet that she is using at home. I asked her the steps and she opened excel, thought she clicked 'open' but actually clicked 'save as' to the default workbook opened. She then selected the file she wanted which in fact actually said to save the new file with this name. When Excel asked her if she wanted to overwrite the file, she answered yes quickly - she has a bad habit of not reading instructions!! In a nutshell, she saved the default blank workbook with her existing file's name.

    Needless to say, it's now my job to find the old file. Autobackup is not turned on and I checked the directory that autorecovery stores the recoverable files in case of a crash and it was empty (it wouldn't have anyway as she didn't actually open the file yet that she had wanted).

    Long story to an end, I have tried "Getdataback" and "PCInspector File Recovery" but not having much luck. Most products restore deleted files but in my case I am trying to get an overwritten file. Not sure if XP actually overwrites the data or just stores the new file in a different location and repoints to new location. I am hoping the latter but can't find anything that can tell me I have and the location of the original file.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. BuckeyeChris

    BuckeyeChris Icon/Supporter

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    Have you tried XP's System Restore option? Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools
     
  3. Ric

    Ric Godfather DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I did try it just in case but it really is for system files so had no luck.
     
  4. May 1, 2005 #4 of 11
    BuckeyeChris

    BuckeyeChris Icon/Supporter

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    Apr 20, 2004
  5. May 1, 2005 #5 of 11
    SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Hall Of Fame

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    Bummer, man.

    Looks like you'll just have to restore it from the backup you create for all your important files to protect them from hardware crashes, and user errors. :rolleyes:
     
  6. May 1, 2005 #6 of 11
    pjmrt

    pjmrt Hall Of Fame

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    I wish I could offer good news. I have had great success with getdataback when my system crashed - to my surprise and relief, I was still able to find and retrieve my old files. But MS is peculiar. And once you save to that filename, I've never found a way to retrieve the original. I suspect it must be possible somehow, as I've heard stories of finding text long since deleted, but don't know how. I'd suspect I found a link to an application which might work - but have not tried it so cannot vouch for it. I'd also suggest an email to MS and/or ask someone in your IT group at work.
    http://www.gold-software.com/download7636.html

    I try to backup key files regularly, and since I haven't done that in a while.... I think I will do so now.:)
     
  7. May 1, 2005 #7 of 11
    SimpleSimon

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    The problem is that the original directory entry is now pointing elsewhere.

    Undeletes and recycle bin depends on an ACTUAL delete being performed, not a data replacement.
     
  8. May 2, 2005 #8 of 11
    Ric

    Ric Godfather DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Thanks - can't get any of these products to see any portions of the file so will just have to assume its a lost cause. Showed wife how to back up but this never set in until now.
     
  9. lee635

    lee635 Hall Of Fame

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    Apr 17, 2002
    Try going to www.download.com and www.tucows.com and looking for security and recovery type tools. You can find free tools that will do what you want. There are many programs on those sites that you must pay for, but that's not necessary, the free ones do the same thing.
     
  10. DonLandis

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

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    Dec 17, 2003
    All the data recovery utilities, I use file scavenger, have instructions that explain why some recovery is just not possible.

    IF you save as put a new file data into a sector of the hard drive that overwrote the original, then you're hosed! In a case of "delete" the file is stored into another folder called a recycle bin, then when you delete from that, it is gone, right? wrong! Utilities can recover from a recycle bin delete IF and only IF you do it before those disk sectors that contained the data were overwritten. If those sectors were overwritten, then you're SOL even with a recovery utility.
    For the future- You need to instruct your wife to get into the habit of saving iterations of large important project files. e.g. I do TV show editing. The project consists of large AVI and other media files but the construct is mainly a special script file that explains how these media files interact. The media is easily, but time consumable, recoverable. The script file is creative and is constantly being saved with default and autobackup. BUT this is sometimes not enough so, I manually, save iterations such as Showname 125 a.xyz; Showname 125 b.xyz; Showname 125 c.xyz and each will represent a major change in the project. Additionally, when I work with external drives, I save a replica of the iteration to my C drive root temporarily in case the external drive gets hosed. In a ratio, I'd say I lose extertnal drives due to hardware failure, losing everything, 50 times more often than a protected internal C drive. The last one failed in the field when I was editing and it slipped off the table and fell to a concrete floor, Surprise, the past hour of work, lost! but I had my C drive backup of the script.
    Training in software use like excel never seems to stress the importance of file management for catastrophic recovery. Consequently, people like your wife who are expert at excel spreadsheet authoring, are still in kindergarten when it comes to file management. Hey, my wife is the same. She's had it happen to her too. Nearly same circumstances. She is terrible at file management, her excuse... her secretary takes care of the files! :D
     
  11. Redster

    Redster Godfather/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Jan 14, 2004
    Just a thought,, sometimes excel and word will create a .tmp file in the same directory as the original. Its not a guarantee but something you can look for.
     

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