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RETRIEVING FILES (6/6/00)
(EXAMPLE IMAGES included.)
If your computer crashed and you think it's hopeless to access that file you were working on, try this.
Last time, we went over some of the pitfalls of power surges and interruptions and what can be done to minimize vulnerability and consequences.
One obvious safeguard is to keep back-ups of all crucial files on removable media (diskettes, tapes, writtable CDs)--which is also salvation if/when your hard drive "retires." Back-up software programs are usually configurable to run automatically at a determined day and time, or can also be configured to use manually. The auto-save is much easier--there's almost nothing to remember. Manual saves require a disciplined routine--but there's not much software to learn.
There's a down side to auto-save programs. They are only as current as their last save. If the last save was 24 hours ago, everything done in the last 23 hours and 59 minutes will be gone. The other booger about auto-save programs, especially for older, slower machines, is they use "system resources" to run. If your machine is slow or your memory resources low, the auto-save may stall your work. It may stall for a few seconds, or it may take minutes before your keyboard obeys your fingers.
We're going to retrieve some files manually in the following examples. These examples are based on WIN 95/98 software and we're going to use text (document) files for this example, since most of us work with those type of programs at home and at work. (This isn't "foolproof", but when the chips are down, you'll take every bit of help you can get.)
Since there are so many software products with various configurations, we will need to make a few assumptions based on "standard" usage. When the software was installed, we'll assume that it was installed using the default settings and the C:/WINDOWS/TEMP folder is usually the default location for temporary backups. (NOTE: We are looking at the TEMP folder, not TEMPORARY INTERNET.) I use Microsoft Word, so use that as our basis.
As I am writing this newsletter WORD is saving a copy to my WINDOWS/TEMP folder. I cannot access is as the file is in use by the program. If all goes well, the temp file that is being created will vanish after I properly close the file and shut down the program.
But, what would I do if in the next minute my blind dog tripped over the power cable and everything disappeared? (In my case nothing drastic would happen since I have a power back-up.) Or what if one of those inexplicable lock-ups occurred and my only option was to re-boot the system?
Click on the START button, go to PROGRAMS, select EXPLORE and go to the C: drive. In the list of programs on the C drive (left hand side) you will see Windows, listed alphabetically--you may need to use the scroll bar on the right to get down to where you can see WINDOWS. Double click on WINDOWS; on the right portion of the screen look for the list of folders. Locate the TEMP folder and double click again. This should give you a list of all the folders and/or files in the TEMP folder.
Notice on this sample I have "turned on" features that may not be configured on your PC. I recommend setting your "VIEW" to show Toolbar, Status Bar and DETAILS, "Details", will give you more information that will help determine which is the most recent file saved (date/time it was "modified"). To select "details" you can use the "View Menu" or the right-most button of the graphics tool bar. In the File Display area clicking on the "name", "type", "size", "modified" buttons will select descending or ascending order.
There are common characteristics of temporary files. One is the "tilde" (also know as "squiggly thing") at the beginning of the file name, the other is the file TYPE "TMP". If you've never been in your TEMP folder or haven't used the WIN 98 "Disk Clean-Up", there will undoubtedly be MANY files in this folder. (We'll talk about those other files another time, but for now we'll continue with locating that all-important lost file or work.)
Some of the TMP files will be very be very small (0 KB), some very large, some will be readable with "notepad", some will be executables (you'll get a warning if you try to "open" these). Some files you open will be jumbled text of foreign-looking characters, some will be unrecognizable code, and some will be graphics files only recognizable by the prefix of GIF89a, for example.
We're looking for a text file that should be readable with a word processing program. The other tip off to the right file will be the date/time property.
This view shows a Temp file of this document. I deliberately crashed my computer to produce this example file. Notice the tilde; notice also that the TYPE of file shows it's a Microsoft document, it's 28K in size and it was created on 5/22 at 2:17 p.m. Example 3 shows a file that is unreadable; it resulted when another program "crashed."
But Example 4 show the temp file of this document and you can see the ~WRA1847.wbk is completely readable.
Now you can retrieve at least a good portion of a document you were working on before the computer crashed or the power went out.
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Copyright 1997-2015 Joyce K. Meyer. All Rights Reserved
This site was created by Joyce K. Meyer, on October 26, 1997.
Last revised on 03/31/15.