Accidentally overwrote an MS Word document. Recovery efforts failing fast.

While helping my (former?) girlfriend with a project titled “XYZ Project,” I somehow saved the XYZ Project document (MS Word) such that it overwrote her just-finished “ABC Project” document.

The “ABC Project” document is gone. I downloaded two recovery programs, but probably wasn’t using them correctly because it restored some deleted documents, but did nothing to get us back to our overwritten original version.

I have since opened and closed the ABC Project document several times, as I tried an assortment of less-than-genius recovery efforts. Have also tried to locate temp files.

She is running a home version of XP.

Any help, or is the document toast?

If what you saved over the original was larger than the original, I’m gonna guess the original is toast. If it was smaller, the extra disk space was likely released and is recoverable. Unless, of course, there have been other file writes since then, in which case it’s less certain.

It’s always a good idea to save important works in different editions as you go along, and of course back up elsewhere.

Thanks for the setup. I don’t think I’ve ever been the first one there to tell somebody the obvious - unless of course someone beats me to the post.

MS Word makes backup copies of documents. These will be saved with the original filename with the first two characters replaced with ~$. If your document was called XYZ.doc then look for one called ~$Z.doc, usually in the same folder as the original. If you’re lucky, Word hasn’t backed up the new version.

Let me expnd on word backups. You can turn them off. In that case the word back up isn’t there. You overwrote the file when the same name was used.

Does she use Windows system restore on that drive. You are in luck in that case. By using the restore to an earlier time option, it will write the old version of that file back onto that harddrive, of coarse everything reverts to what it was before, so make sure the file you just saved to the wrong name is backed up. Any files that didn’t exist when the restore point was originaly made is left on the hard drive untouched. I hope either the word backup file is present in an unaltered state, or that she has some system restore points you can use. Even if she doesn’t use it, it still runs when a software install is run or the task schedular runs it. Your out of luck if it’s disabled.

Looks like it has. Toast? :smack:
BTW, Napier suggests making multiple copies. Is this best done by clicking on:

File > Versions > Automatically save version on close

Here are a variety of recovery techniques suggested by Microsoft for Word 2003:

Ther may be something there you haven’t tried yet.

Sorry, but System Restore doesn’t work that way. It will restore your system files and programs to their previous state, but it doesn’t touch Word documents or other user files.

I’m afraid I’m going to have to say, yeah, it is. You need to buy flowers. Lots of them.

Tried them all. :smiley:
The smiley before the storm…

If she ever carried the ABC doc anywhere on a flash drive you might be able to save your ass even if the doc has been “erased” off the flash drive. Flash memory stuff is typically hard to erase permanently and easy to recover. This program is the bomb for that kind of thing. and has saved my ass multiple times. It’s $ 40 but worth every penny.

astro makes a very good point. Even if you can’t recover the last finished version of the document, don’t forget to look around for earlier versions. Maybe the last few edits were fairly small and easily remade. Even if the earlier version very different, it may serve as an easier starting place to replace what was lost than a blank page.

Did you email the document to anyone for review? Put it on a flash drive, copy it to a network drive, zip disk, CD, etc.? Maybe put it on your laptop?

In a pinch, you could use a capable text editor like UltraEdit to look in the windows swap file for fragments of the document that might be cut and pasted back into some order. This usually means temporarily moving the drive to another system as a second drive, and it is ugly (real ugly, and I should know!) to browse a gigabyte sized file looking for bits of your document, but I’ve done it and have sometimes found things worth the time.

Good luck.

Has she by any chance emailed the previous document at any time? If so, it’s possible her email program has a copy of the document in the sent items folder. A recovery method that has saved me in a similar circumstance.

In other words, basically what RJKUgly said. Ignore me, I’m just passing through.

Now I’ll add could you have already retyped it with less time and effort?

Is your girlfriend thinking, “Carnac’s not so magnificent anymore”?


Dang…and you can’t even say “No problemo, the whole thing is saved in the little keylogger I installed to snoop on you” without being in even worse trouble…

May a crazed weightlifter clean and jerk your sister.