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  1. #1
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    auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    I had an interesting data loss yesterday that flies in the face of all good practice.

    As writer, I make my living with Word files, and I have the habit of hitting Control+S a few times a paragraph. I also had auto save on 3 minutes.

    I also keep a file open that's a personal running commentary, a place that lets me swear and complain and sort out my ideas. I frequently end up writing difficult parts in that file and copy and paste into the "real" file. Thus, much of my writing is in two files. The "personal file" lives on a zip disk.

    In addition, I use Flexible Backup each day to upload all changed files to my ftp site. So i have lots of copies of stuff. Just in case.

    So, I worked deep into the night using the above set up, saved everything, left word open and slept for a few hours (on a deadline..) While I was asleep the ftp backup did its thing. Got up and worked for about three hours, saving as per usual. Then, power outage.

    Mere inconvenience, I think. Can't have a file that's any more than 3 minutes out of date. Computer goes off, goes back on, windows Xp starts loading, power goes off again. A few minutes later, when the power returned and I got things going again, the "personal" file came up in autorecovery mode, but the "real" file did not. When I opened the "real" file, I found that it contained nothing written during my late night session. It was some 6 hours out of date! How could this happen when I saved so often?

    I was able to find a .temp file that was made about 30 minutes before the power failure that opened fine and contained all the missing info up to its creation. My computer also contained a file callled "AutoRecovery of _name.doc" with a timestamp at or very near the time of the power failure. It would not open, and the folks at MS PPI support helped me try, but it would not open. Click on it, and nothing happened. Tried also to open it from file explorere rather than through Word.

    The story's ending is okay. I ended up losing only about 1/2 hour's worth of work, but it is very sobering. Why didn't those very frequent saves show up in the original document? Why didn't auto recover work for that file?

    Anybody have an idea of what went wrong here and how to prevent anything like it in the future? Is there a better way to save? I'm getting a UPS tomorrow, and any thoughts on that would be interesting, too.

    Oh, the tech guy at MS said that I was lucky to have word 2000 since it would have been a total disaster with 97. He also said (surprise?) that XP is even more stable. But he didn't say it wouldn't have happened.

    Looking forward to hearing what you have to say about backup/save.

    Aime' Fraser
    Westport, CT

  2. #2
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    Have you (1) unchecked "Allow fast saves" in Tools/Options/Save? (2) checked "Always create backup copy" in the same place?

    Ian

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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    Am I reading correctly that the power went off twice?

    That might have caused the loss of an autorecovery file - my (sketchy - hope someone else can confirm) understanding is that after the first cycle of power off/on, Word would have presented you with autorecovery files corresponding to any open files. If you do not explicitly save before closing them, then the autorecovery files get destroyed and can't be gotten back. It sounds like the second power outage destroyed at least one of the autorecovery files before you had a chance to save it.

    Probably need to add to your twitchy Control+S habit, another one, which is to Control+W before you go away from your computer for any length of time.

    UPS is a great idea if you don't mind spending the money. My only advice is: keep the receipt. My (expensive) UPS died after three months - and exactly one week after I'd thrown away the box, receipts etc.!

    Gary

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    I ctrl+s all the time, too. I think this is the best strategy. However, (1) If you have saved all changes, Word does not create an AutoRecover file, and (2) unless you go at least 3 minutes without saving, Word will not create the file. So you should assume that AutoRecover does not exist in your scenario.

    I can't imagine how your "real" file got so far behind. I disable background saves; maybe that would help?

    We have deployed a document management system named WORLDOX which makes a local copy of your document after every save to the network drive. There probably are other products that can do this, or you could modify your save command (write a macro that would override it) which would do it from inside Word. I haven't tried writing one, but if you're interested, the Lounge undoubtedly could produce one for testing.

  5. #5
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    Hi Aime:

    Just to add a couple thoughts without repeating what others have said. While I can't be positive, I would certainly have expected the original file to be almost up to date, if you save frequently. Since it wasn't, I'm wondering if somehow you (or something that happened as a result of the power failures) overwrote the original with an older autorecovery. I am always very careful before "accepting" the autosaved file to replace my original. As Jefferson mentioned, the *.asd file isn't made if you've saved changes. There might have been one left over from a previous crash or an earlier time.

    You could tick the option for Tools/Options/Save tab/ always create a backup. This leaves you with a copy that is one save behind & should'nt be overwritten by an older autosave file.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    Don't know about you folks, but I am advising my clients that Ctrl S does just about nothing (unlike the old days) and that the only sure way to know your document has been saved in Word is to Close the document after saving. Also, point of fact, Word (97 at least) does not create an Autorecover if you are typing when it is time for one -- not only that, it doesn't wait for you to finish typing and then create an autorecover, it waits the full specified time, then if you are typing, it again does not create an autorecover file!

    So Ctrl S (Save) and Autorecover are both, in my opinion, nearly worthless. Particularly since, if you End Task on a bad Word session, it ERASES the autorecover file. I now, reluctantly, recommend Save, Close, Reopen as the only way to know that your edits are saved. This flies in the face of logic -- and as Aimee points out -- accepted good practice.

    After five years using Word (and the previous ten on WordPerfect), I'm about ready to choose ANY alternative to the MS product. Usability and TRUST is apparently Microsoft's lowest priority. How about they slow down on new feature introduction and make some of the existing features work properly? Need I mention the evil Footnoting or perverse Auto Numbering?

    Aimee -- if you want your documents to be Saved, don't leave them open!

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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    Hi Van:
    I've never had a problem with saving a document using Ctrl+S (or the toolbar button). So long as you have Tools/Options/Save/fast saves unticked (an outmoded option that should be abandoned, anyway), Word should save your file without having to exit Word. Of course, I can't say it's impossible, but I think trying to exit & restart Word every time you want to save changes is too time consuming.

  8. #8
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    I have had many problems on various installations of Word in combination with DocsOpen and this is a "known problem" (or so I've been told) with the way that Word stores the results of Ctrl S (e.g. it doesn't write to the network storage/original file on Ctrl S) and it is not a DocsOpen problem -- it is a Word problem. My experience in several different firms has proven this -- because I'm not the one with the problem -- I'm usually the messenger who has to explain why the "saved" edits are gone when the user has Ctrl S'd repeatedly, then has a crash, then opens the document and lo and behold --no changes were saved. I now advise to Close the document -- not Exit the program -- if they really want to be sure that it is saved. The temporary file that stores the results of Ctrl S writes to the network/original file on Close. It isn't necessary to Exit the program -- just don't leave Saved files open and expect them to have been saved. This has been proven in at least several law firms where I have worked and the warning is not original to me. BTW -- it is even worse in Excel (which has no autorecover at all).

    I ALWAYS advise and set Fast Saves to OFF (usually in Normal.dot) and recommend that it NEVER be used.

    If you know the reason why so many firms where I have worked (and Aimee) have encountered the above, I would love to know it.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    We use WORLDOX and after logging the Save, its macro uses the native Save command to save the document. Disk is updated and new date/time shows in File, Properties, Statistics. YMMV with DOCS Open.

    (Important Caveat: WORLDOX has a default setting to restore the original file that you opened if, in mid-session, you create a new version

  10. #10
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    Must be one reason why my industry is moving to iManage or Worldox, neither of which have I seen. I haven't tested the disk write times -- just listened to the engineers explain it. It would not surprise me if DocsOpen isn't updating properly -- though Hummingbird Knowledge Base claims it is a problem with Word.

    The bummer is that this doesn't explain Aimee's problem which is consistent with my experience.

  11. #11
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    With DocsOpen, the easiest way around Ctrl+s not saving to the network is hijacking the shortcut and remapping to Save-As which automatically saves to both your network and local shadowed copy. It creates a couple extra keystrokes, but saves on issues down the road.

    As for fast saves, the ORK provides for administrative policies to be put into effect on your workstations (I don't know how flexible or how far back they can go) but you can pretty much "force" the users not to be able to activate Fast Saves. As Phil (I think) and others have said, they should never be used... whether you work with a DMS or not.

    In Excel, in the Explorer save window, if you go to tools, you can set it to create a backup on save and set that for the default. Again, this goes to at least having a backup which will have what you're looking for in the event of a system or program crash.

    As for your statement "just don't leave Saved files open", it's generally accurate... but I would expand by saying that one should (a) save often taking the precautions mentioned in this thread; ([img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] keep backups... you can always do periodic housekeeping to delete obsolete ones by date; and never leave your workstation with a significant files open -- even if the autorecover works, it's frequently corrupted depending on what caused the application to fail.
    Karen

  12. #12
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful comments.

    I suspect that my problem was the result of multiple smaller problems rolling into one. Here are some further points that might clarify things a little:

    The control S saves were lost in the

  13. #13
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    I think you do know Phil. I agree with everything here, but I set my Autorecover Save to every ten minutes -- any more is just a waste since I compulsively save every time I do something I don't want to have to do again and I "Save and Close and re-Open" if it was a real bear!

  14. #14
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    There's another reason not to set the autorecovery save to too small an interval. If you have a large document and you are saving onto a network, too small an interval can mean you spend almost as long waiting for the system to finish saving as you are able to spend typing.

    Ian

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    Re: auto recovery didn't and backups (2000)

    Hi Van:
    I can only guess at Aimee's problem, which I did in a previous post. I'm not familiar with DocsOpen either. I do know that Word creates a temporary file. Each time you do an actual save, Word writes your file to a temp file, ~dfxxxx.tmp, where xxxx is a combination of letters & digits, so long as the original file is "dirty". The date & time of these files is updated (created) corresponding to each time the file is saved. When the original file is saved, the temp file keeps the changes. When the original file is closed, the temp file is copied to the folder where the original file was, unless it's already there, the original file is deleted, & the temp file renamed to the original. For a more comprehensive explanation, see WD2000: How Word for Windows Uses Temporary Files

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