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Help! Can we retrieve a 'lost' word document on PC? DS in despair!

(21 Posts)
BlogOnTheTyne Sat 18-May-13 12:11:13

DS1 (aged 12) spent 3 hrs writing an English essay for homework last night. It was v good one too. He'd emailed the beginning of it from the school system to his home email, gone onto the attached file and continued working on it on his home desktop PC.

He says he saved it as he went along and it should have saved in his documents but there's no sign of it at all and he didn't print it out last night.

I've searched everywhere I can think to search on his PC but am not v good at IT at all. Is there anywhere we can look that we won't have thought of? Even if he didn't actually 'save' the document, wouldn't it still be possible to retrieve it from somewhere? I thought files could be traced (for forensic purposes) on anyone's PC.

It's not under recent items or in recycle. He's almost in tears and has a whole w/e of other HW to do also - hence finishing that essay last night. It's looking like he'll have to start all over again, poor thing.

Can anyone help?

mirry2 Sat 18-May-13 12:17:41

Follow this link - it might help

CajaDeLaMemoria Sat 18-May-13 12:20:20

You can recover anything for forensic purposes, but it'd be very time consuming, and cost an absolute fortune.

Do you have autosaves turned on?

Chanatan Sat 18-May-13 12:21:35

Some tips here

LIZS Sat 18-May-13 12:22:09

If he saved it having accessed it from an email it may have gone into default or download folder. What version of Windows etc is it ?

MoaningMingeWhingesAgain Sat 18-May-13 12:24:58

Not an IT bod at all (this will become clear!)

When I have done work on a document I originally received as an attachment, it goes to my 'downloads' folder instead of my documents folder.

The other way I tried to find it, is by doing a search - search files and folders for a few more unusual words/phrase that I used in the document. Eg I do something about dogs - I might search for items containing 'german shepherds' as they won't crop up in all my other stuff.

Cravingdairy Sat 18-May-13 12:30:07

Silly question but he didn't just save the changes to the attachment did he? There wouldn't be a file in Documents if that was the case but the changes would be in the email attachment.

ThisIsYourSong Sat 18-May-13 12:36:19

Also if you come across a file name with some similar characters but including. $ signs etc and an extension you don't recognise then COPY IT and change the extension on the copy to .doc if you have Word or .txt and it might be the autosave copy. There should be one somewhere

LuckyLuckyMe Sat 18-May-13 12:43:36

Did you try opening word and seeing if it there is a recovered document just in case he shut down the computer without closing word?
Or you could open word and see the list if the last documents that were edited.
Or do a search by date for yesterday's date?

Hope you find it.

mirry2 Sat 18-May-13 12:48:57

You could try automatically saving an attachment from another email and seeing where it's been saved to.

AViewFromTheFridge Sat 18-May-13 12:50:32

Agree that it'll probably be in downloads. Have you used the search function?

ThisIsYourSong Sat 18-May-13 12:52:15

.tmp is the one I was talking about. Has been a long 4 years since I had kids smile

Do hope you find it. If its any help you can tell him it's usually easier to redo something. Probably doesn't help though

fanjolina Sat 18-May-13 12:59:26

Like mirry says, use an attachment from an email to find out where it's been saved - its likely in a temp folder somewhere.

Open an email with an attachment.
Open the attachment.
Click save as.....but dont actually're wanting to identify which folder it tries to save it to
Make a note of the folder and menu path to get there
Then navigate to that folder - and hopefully you'll find the document

And if I were you I'd create a shortcut to that folder and keep it on my desktop - saves lots of panic and pain!

Floppityflop Sat 18-May-13 13:03:27

There is lots of good advice here but I felt so moved by your DS's plight that I thought I would sign up just to answer (long-time lurker).

1. Open Word and see if there are any Autorecovery files. There may to be.
2. Find the location where email attachments save themselves. You can do this by finding a DIFFERENT email to the one with the assignment in, opening an attachment and pressing save or save as - that MAY show you where attachments automatically save themselves. Once you've done that go and look in the relevant folder and find a file that was saved at around the same time as the assignment was completed.
3. Use the search function in the Start menu to find all Word docs created yesterday (I think you can limit by date) and see if there is one from the time that the assignment was completed.

This is just a rehash of what others have said but in more detail. The file you find may not be the final version but it willbe as close as possible. I think it will be in the email attachment automatic save location. Good luck and let's know if you find it!

Floppityflop Sat 18-May-13 13:05:06

Sorry about x post with fanjolina!

BlogOnTheTyne Sat 18-May-13 13:57:43

Many thanks everyone. Going to start trying everything now. Already tried a basic 'search everything' and going back to original attachment - but no luck so far. Will let everyone know how it goes. Thanks again.

fanjolina Sat 18-May-13 14:35:33

It's unlikely to show up in search as the temp folder that files save to from email are normally not included in the search index. Your best rt of recovery is through trying to find where mails edited from emails are saved to. Only issue is that if the attachment has been opened from email again since and saved (maybe because of autosave settings) it will have overwritten yesterday's file.

BlogOnTheTyne Sat 18-May-13 17:10:41

OK. So we've spent the entire day on and off trying everythign suggested and even things that weren't suggested and can't retrieve his essay. So he's having to re-write it, poor thing. It takes him hours as he has processing difficulties and had really worked hard on it last night.

He's got masses and masses of other homework still to do and the whole day has really been doing that and tryign to retrieve the essay. I've told him to continue tomorrow morning, as he's fed up now and of course taking it all out on me!

We still have no idea what happened to the saved essay as he's convinced he saved it in a word document and even if he hadn't, it should have turned up somewhere, surely - but it wasn't even in the attachment.

Ah well, i'd better check that he's saving this new version every few seconds this time! Thanks again for trying to help.

tribpot Sat 18-May-13 17:17:49

If you've opened the attachment from the email again, it's created another file in the temporary directory. The previous attachment will be in that same directory but because he didn't do Save As to save it to a normal directory none of the usual techniques to find it will work.

It's not enough to check he's saving it. He should get into the habit of saving an attachment in his My Documents folder or wherever he normally works, and then opening it from there. Provided he has done Save As and chosen his normal working directory as the destination he is at least saving his work this time.

If he's allowed to from school, he'd be better off using an online service like Google Drive or Sky Drive, and then he wouldn't need to email files around.

Floppityflop Sat 18-May-13 21:23:57

:-( Sorry you weren't able to find the file despite trying everything - your poor DS and poor you! I think that maybe he will have learnt something from the experience, however frustrating it must seem now. Better for it to happen now on normal homework than on a crucial GCSE assignment.

EatenByZombies Wed 22-May-13 01:47:06

If autosave is on, it should be in the temp folder.

C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Local\Temp is where you'll find the temporary files. Look for the Microsoft word folder.

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