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  1. #1
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    Word 2003 - Zero Byte file

    Hi,

    One of the users in my firm created a new document at the end of last week, and spent the next 5 hours working on this file. I do not think that he physically saved the file during this time, though all evidence suggests that it was saved when he started working on the file.

    We use a document management system, which will store a copy of the file in a specific folder on the local machine as well as on a networked location. When the file is saved both local and networked copies should mirror one another. Once he completed working on the document, closed it over (and I assume saved it - the document managment system always prompts to save..) then tried to reopen, he was returned a message

    "VB - Run Time Error '1036' Word cannot start the convertor MSWRD632.wpc". When selecting the Debug option, it highlights the path where the file would be stored locally.

    On checking the file at this location, it exists, yet it is a zero byte file. The copy on the network location is also a zero byte file. Both files have a create and edit date of 1/11 at 11.19am, so it would suggest that the file was originally saved as zero byte.

    Now I know that even a blank Word document will have some content, and should not be zero bytes, and I'm trying to come up with an explanation as to how this file was orinally saved as zero byte file. Also how it could be worked on all day and apparently never throw up an error message, and never actually been saved anywhere! I even did a full search on his machine for any files that had been modified at any point throughout the day (remembering to search the system and hidden files) and was not able to even find any remnants of the file, or any temp files that look in any way related..and the word autosave settings are set to save the document every 10 minutes.

    I'm completely at a loss as to how this could happen, and have been tasked to 'make sure it never happens again' but until I can find an explanation as to how it happened in the first place, I've no chance!!

    Can anyone offer me any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Alba

  2. #2
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    A 0-byte file strongly suggests a write error occurred in your OS at the time the file was being written. Although it's possible for a user to cause this (eg by turning off their PC as the data were being written), that's highly unlikely, especially as Word seems to have left none of the usual temp files referencing the original. Have you searched for any .asd files?
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

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    Yeah - it strikes me from everything that I can see and have checked out that the original save was somehow messed up, and though he says that he was saving throughout the day, those changes were somehow being written back to the zero byte file and therefore failing. Is it feasible that he was working entirely in memory all day, hence why it looked like everything was OK?

    I have searched his entire machine for ASD files and only managed to find one file, but this was dated back in January this year - and again was a 0 byte file! Autocomplete is definitely on, so I guess that I have to find out why this isnt working either

  4. #4
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    Although the file may have been saved progressively during the day, each save entails deleting the last-saved version. AFAIK, though, that's usually only done after the update has been written to disk (e.g. as a .tmp file that get's renamed). Depending on your setup, I suppose it's also possible that the working file was only ever written to a memory cache, though that would take some fairly deliberate work on the part of the IT staff to implement.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

  5. #5
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    So, would the process be:

    File is created and saved - file exists in save location.
    Changes are made. These are stored in memory until next save
    At next save, a tmp file is created, the original file is deleted and then the new file with changes saved.??

    This being the case, there should be a tmp file for each save - should this be cleared out when the new file is saved? If this is the case, then when I have found a tmp file in the past when data has been lost from a file, I've been lucky!!

    Thanks

  6. #6
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    The normal save process is along the lines of:
    1. Write a temp file to save location
    2. Delete the old file
    3. Rename the temp file.

    For auto-saves, the process is probably the same, except the files are saved in the temp folder and have an asd extension.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

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