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recover overwritten text?

 
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Ace_NoOne
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:07 am    Post subject: recover overwritten text? Reply with quote

Hi there,

I've got a big problem: I'm stupid! Yes, that's my problem. Just read on:
I opened an existing file to use it as a template, deleted the text and saved - but, mind you, not as a different file, but I unfortunately just pressed CTRL+S (habits... ).
This means that I lost the text from the original file - which was an important one. And since I'm so stupid, the "Always create backup copy" option was disabled.
So now I wonder if there's any way I can recover the original text which has been overwritten. I doubt there is, but hey - I'm stupid, so how should I know?!

I'd greatly appreciate any help!!
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David
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: recover overwritten text? Reply with quote

Ace_NoOne wrote:
Hi there,

I've got a big problem: I'm stupid! Yes, that's my problem. Just read on:
I opened an existing file to use it as a template, deleted the text and saved - but, mind you, not as a different file, but I unfortunately just pressed CTRL+S (habits... ).
This means that I lost the text from the original file - which was an important one. And since I'm so stupid, the "Always create backup copy" option was disabled.
So now I wonder if there's any way I can recover the original text which has been overwritten. I doubt there is, but hey - I'm stupid, so how should I know?!

I'd greatly appreciate any help!!


I think you've done a great job answering your own question. However, take heart. We've all been there ...more than once.

David.
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freiheit
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I'm the one who once made a change to my hard disk partition tables and consciously decided I didn't need to backup my data first just in case -- I lost everything. So yeah, we've all been there and done that.

The only possible solution I can suggest is get yourself a file un-delete tool which can scour your hard drive looking for fragments of deleted but still recoverable files. Sometimes you get lucky and can recover all or at least most of what you need if it hasn't been too long ago.
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Ace_NoOne
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses.

Quote:
The only possible solution I can suggest is get yourself a file un-delete tool which can scour your hard drive looking for fragments of deleted but still recoverable files. Sometimes you get lucky and can recover all or at least most of what you need if it hasn't been too long ago.
Can you recommend any such tool?
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David
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ace_NoOne wrote:
Thanks for the responses.

Quote:
The only possible solution I can suggest is get yourself a file un-delete tool which can scour your hard drive looking for fragments of deleted but still recoverable files. Sometimes you get lucky and can recover all or at least most of what you need if it hasn't been too long ago.
Can you recommend any such tool?


Companies make LOTS of money doing that with disks even badly burned in a fire. Such tools are usually expensive, and you don't want to be messing withthe operating system/storage if you are not computer savvy.

I've found that by the time I've gone through all the possibilities I could have retyped the thing three times. Just shrug and start again. Also an advantage is usually that you do a better job the second time around.

David.
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Ace_NoOne
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I was thinking of "light" versions, not all-professional data recovery systems. I tried Handy Recovery, but that can only recover deleted files, not restore ones that have been overwritten...

Problem is, I don't have time to re-write the whole document. I'll have intermediate exams next Monday (Aug. 23), and that doc contained the most important statements from all the texts I'd read about my topic ("structure and areas of application of XML"). I do remember quite some stuff, but, well, the plan was to just go through that doc shortly before the exam again - which means I didn't momorize it very thoroughly in the first place...

Anyways, thanks for the help.
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David
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ace_NoOne wrote:
Problem is, I don't have time to re-write the whole document. I'll have intermediate exams next Monday (Aug. 23), and that doc contained the most important statements from all the texts I'd read about my topic ("structure and areas of application of XML"). I do remember quite some stuff, but, well, the plan was to just go through that doc shortly before the exam again - which means I didn't momorize it very thoroughly in the first place...

Anyways, thanks for the help.


Again you answer your own question. I used to teach, and before that used to study, and am here to tell you that to know your work is to know it well before exam time. Study is, and should be review of a lot of earlier effort. Sorry about the loss, but it wouldn't have helped in my honest opinion. I've seen too many cramming the day before with zero recall from an overstuffed mind. Your best bet is to relax and go over what you already have. The mind works a lot better when you are relaxed about it. You might not get what you didn't learn, but you won't shove out stuff that you have learned either, and cramming does just that.

Good luck.

David.
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freiheit
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree it's usually easier and quicker to just re-type the document. However if you do need a decent sector-by-sectory undelete tool, check out File Rescue Plus by Software Shelf (http://www.softwareshelf.com). It's relatively inexpensive, can do wonders if you don't have tons and tons of files that have gotten garbled and isn't terribly slow (if your disk is still physically okay -- when I needed it, my disk was physically damaged -- damn IBM DeathStar hard drive!) and the initial scan to recover files took hours. Normally it should not. Recovery rate was moderate -- keeping in mind my disk was a total wreck I think I saved about 20% of my files.[/url]
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David
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

freiheit wrote:
I agree it's usually easier and quicker to just re-type the document. However if you do need a decent sector-by-sectory undelete tool, check out File Rescue Plus by Software Shelf (http://www.softwareshelf.com). It's relatively inexpensive, can do wonders if you don't have tons and tons of files that have gotten garbled and isn't terribly slow (if your disk is still physically okay -- when I needed it, my disk was physically damaged -- damn IBM DeathStar hard drive!) and the initial scan to recover files took hours. Normally it should not. Recovery rate was moderate -- keeping in mind my disk was a total wreck I think I saved about 20% of my files.[/url]


That's good for a deleted file, but this one was overwritten; overwritten with nothing perhaps, but still overwritten. The software grep search for available file content sounds like a hex-dump to me. The user would have to be fairly computer savvy I think.
I once retrieved 70% of a "lost" file for a student on the Apple, but that was long time back, and all I recall is that I used a program [hex editor of sorts] to get into the storage core and look for reasonable text. I'm not sure of the mechanism for overwriting now, and not sure if there is a program to look back for overwritten material. If it starts at the same address then there may be unlinked remnants in addresses following the new text, but retrieval can still be a large problem, and a lot of effort.

David.
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freiheit
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure what you mean about the software grep/hex dump. The tool I posted just searches for file fragments that can (maybe) be recovered and displays the file names and their original locations (if it can still find that information on the disk). You then point and click on files you want to recover.

Also, "overwritten" files may not be physically overwritten. They might be, but not always. When a file is deleted, usually the file header or some file system code that points to the file's location gets zapped. Saving another file with the same name might (or might not) save to the same spot on the disk -- it might save to a totally different physical spot on the disk depending on your operating system, file system and whethere there's enough contiguous free disk space to hold the new file.

I am NOT certain how OpenOffice.org handles file deletions/saves when you click "Save". It could just straight up overwrite the file without first deleting it, or it could delete the file and save a new one with the same name. In that case, it may still be possible to recover the original. There are a lot of variables involved. There is NEVER a guarantee that the file can be recovered, but there's always a chance. If it's an important enough file, it's worth the $50 or whatever for the program to try it. If it's not that important, it can be retyped from memory.
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David
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

freiheit wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean about the software grep/hex dump. The tool I posted just searches for file fragments that can (maybe) be recovered and displays the file names and their original locations (if it can still find that information on the disk). You then point and click on files you want to recover.


I see it has a "cluster scan". I was thinking more in terms of Norton Utilities with which you can examine any aprt of the disk. You can search an entire disk for some recognisable remnant, then deal with it. Look at these [**] for some alternatives perhaps. As I suggested, the user might have to be computer savvy.

[**]http://lists.gpick.com/pages/Hard_Disk_Tools.htm

I'd still question the retrieval of overwritten files, and as you say, it's not clear how files are overwritten.

David.
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Ace_NoOne
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for replying so late, but I had another exam today and totally forgot about this thread... Surprised

Anyways, that XML exam worked out very well (1.0 = straight A Smile ), despite that file-loss.
And David: I probably didn't explain it well enough; it's not that I didn't know anything and was planning to cram it all into my head at the eve of the exam - others might do that, but I see it the same way you do. It was just a doc where I had collected all the important facts from the texts I had read so far - which is a good thing to do, I think... Smile

As for the file recovery: Looks like that file is list forever, but thanks for the deeper info anyway - it might come in handy some day (though I hope I'll never actually need it Wink ).
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