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Recovery failed, previously saved file disappered

asked 2016-10-31 05:27:17 +0100

20feet gravatar image

I'm working on a big spreadsheet with complex charts. When altering charts LibreOffice often crashes, so I save the file frequently. But after the most recent crash the recovery failed. I checked the recent documents, and now the document is not in the list. It's also vanished from the finder(!!!!), and can't be found by Spotlight. If I force quit LibreOffice again, the document name shows up again in Document Recovery, but Recovery fails and the previously saved version can't be found.

I know this is free software and I put up with bugs. I've had data loss in LibreOffice before, but never with a file I've scrupulously saved. I've never heard of anything like this happening with any program. I don't have backups of this file on an external disk. If it's really gone, it's a disaster. Help!

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Saving only one version in one place on one medium is never scrupulous enough. If the system or the writing application fail while a file writing operation is running, the file will be corrupted. This actually can happen with any software, at least during a power break or if the system is forced to close.
LibreOffice offers to keep an additional backup. Unfortunately it is not active by default.
Please add system (Mac-OS?) and version information.

Lupp gravatar imageLupp ( 2016-10-31 08:32:20 +0100 )edit

I'm on OS X 10.11, LibreOffice 5.1.3.2.

20feet gravatar image20feet ( 2016-10-31 15:59:11 +0100 )edit

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answered 2016-10-31 08:43:38 +0100

Lupp gravatar image

updated 2016-10-31 17:14:42 +0100

Hopefully you had chosen 'Tools' > 'Options' > 'Load/Save' > 'General' > 'Save' > 'Always create a backup copy'.
If so Libreoffice has saved a copy of the previous version of any workfile before opening the original for writing.
A 'MyFile.ods' is saved as 'MyFile.bak' in the 'backup' folder of the user profile.
Find it, copy it into a folder of everyday work, and change the extension again (to .ods e.g.). Then open it and start redoing the last session.

Read this wiki page in advance.

Concerning documents of specific value for you you should not only save in the default place but also on a different medium (USB-drive?). In addition you should keep a history of previous versions. This way you can create remedy if it becomes clear that a change made willingly to the file was desastrous.

(Editing with espect to the comment below:)
If I was asked I surely had turned it on by default.
As your file is not just corrupted as I would expect but "disapperéd" there might be a faint hope that it was wrongly deleted and not yet ovverwritten. There is free recovery software for this case. However, my personal exprience with this is restricted to old Win versions. There are recommendations like PhotoRec...
Do not write anything to the disk meanwhile if you want to try a search for a deleted file! Your hidden data might gt overwritten. Ask Mac users best for their experiences.

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Sadly, I was not aware of this off-by-default backup option, buried in settings. How would a normal person learn about that, before a crisis like this drives them to a forum? Why isn't it on by default, or at least presented as an option on installation?

20feet gravatar image20feet ( 2016-10-31 15:59:29 +0100 )edit
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answered 2016-11-07 00:43:51 +0100

20feet gravatar image

I appreciate the advice offered here. But the best advice I've heard during this ordeal is the following:

If you're using a free open source office suite which lacks features and user-friendliness, is buggy, crashes frequently, doesn't auto-save, and destroyed an important, previously-saved project, you should probably just give up and buy Microsoft Office.

I switched a few days ago, and I'm amazed by how much more reliable and user-friendly MS Office is, especially for creating charts. And I say this as someone with considerable self-taught skill in making complex charts with LibreOffice. (And also as a long-time Microsoft hater, open source software fan, and miser!) I don't mean to disparage the efforts of the well-meaning open source programmers who worked on this project. And I don't want to pick a fight with anyone who finds LibreOffice stable, easy to use and functional for their purposes. But if you find your way to this forum because you're frustrated with LibreOffice for any number of reasons, the best advice I can give you is to pony up for Microsoft Office. It's really so much better. (Also, back up your work.)

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Free software projects don't live on condescending phrases but on contributions on different levels and in different ways, one of these following the questions in a forum and posting an answer now and then. Our OQ is rating himself as someone with "considerable ... skill" and as "an open source software fan". His contributions here were the one question above and the one (as if) answer I'm commenting on. Might he also still lack some experiences with Excel and MS after a few days?

Lupp gravatar imageLupp ( 2016-11-09 16:43:16 +0100 )edit
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answered 2017-05-14 16:14:30 +0100

Havaneiss Dei gravatar image

In RE the badvice that anyone simply give up and buy MS Office: I owned legit MS software and every MS "operating system" since 2.1 (so I'm ancient, get over it), and I always had the top level, fully-optioned MS Office suite; I used mainly Excel and Word, and a host of non-MS software in my businesses.

I didn't have 2.1 or 3.0 long enough to experience a crash with either, and my first crash with 3.1 happened after more than 10,000 hours of uptime. Each time Office glitched, I upgraded.

The only useful OS support and the only useful Anti-Malware support I ever got came freely from helpful users not affiliated with MS; the only "solution" offered by MS was for me to purchase new software or pay for premium support.

I tolerated the abuse because I felt trapped, as though timely learning to use a different OS or office suite was beyond my ability. I had some business setbacks and then my mother fell ill; I used Excel to chart and to calculate Mom's meds, intake and output, condition and so forth, to ensure she got the best possible care.

Then MS Office crashed and I couldn't find all my discs, and even though my suite was registered with MS, their "customer support" refused to verify me as the legitimate owner and said if I wanted to access my files, I needed to shell-out nearly $800 to download a suite I already owned!

Thanks to Yahoo! Answers, I was introduced to the free-download OpenOffice.Org suite: Calc not only recovered and opened my Excel file, but also allowed me to save the file in both the MS ".xls" format and the much more efficient ".ods" format.

I used OpenOffice.Org at home for nearly a year before I put it on my business machines -- but I, perhaps stupidly, continued in my reliance on Windows, until XP and 7 took out 2 HDDs in the same week. Altogether over the years, MS Windows cost me about 3 terabytes of data and 23 drives -- and I finally had all the abuse from MS that I was willing to take.

I switched to Linux Mint; I started with the "Cinnamon" version of "Rebecca" -- which included LibreOffice -- and I've since been using both LM and LO with great success. The Linux community is generally both polite and helpful.

If I had it all to do over, and I knew then what I now know, I would have switched to Linux as soon as possible, and I would have switched to OpenOffice.org as soon as possible. LibreOffice is slightly more like MS Office in some ways, but it is nearly identical in features and functionality to OOo.

I sympathize with those who quietly accept the MS rubbish they are offered: the juggernaut's ubiquitous lies of user-friendliness are the moral equivalent of the promises of happiness told by schoolyard pushers of narcotics ... (more)

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Asked: 2016-10-31 05:27:17 +0100

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Last updated: May 14 '17