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Old 07-10-2011, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Syracuse IS Central New York.
8,517 posts, read 4,007,409 times
Reputation: 4029

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First, this is not for me personally, but for a very non-computer saavy friend of mine. So I do not have a lot of details.

She was working on a Word document, saved it. Now she can see it, can even see the date/time she was working on it, but cannot open it. It's important to get to this document.

I asked her about the operating system, the only answer I got was "Windows", and how old is the computer which is she also doesn't know as it's borrowed. It is a desktop, not laptop.

Any suggestions out there as to how to restore this document? Please make it reasonably simple as I have to try to explain it to her, although I may just go over to her house with any suggestions and try them myself.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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Error messages?
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Syracuse IS Central New York.
8,517 posts, read 4,007,409 times
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I asked, she didn't remember. She's going to check later today and get back to me. Right now, she's stressing about having to rewrite the document. I keep telling her not so fast, let's see if this can be retrieved.
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Old 07-10-2011, 02:37 PM
 
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Was it originally created on that computer or did she create it on a different one but is now trying to open it on this one? Reason I ask is because newer versions of Word save the document with the extension .docx and older versions of word will not open them. You have to open it in a newer version of word (2007 or newer) and then save it as type .doc. You can then open it in older versions of word.

Is it saved to a usb flash drive or on the computer hard drive? If it is on a flash drive and it was not dismounted properly before being removed from a computer, the file may have been corrupted.

It would help if we knew what version of MS office word is being used and what the extension on the file.
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Old 07-10-2011, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,545 posts, read 5,678,159 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dijkstra View Post
Was it originally created on that computer or did she create it on a different one but is now trying to open it on this one? Reason I ask is because newer versions of Word save the document with the extension .docx and older versions of word will not open them. You have to open it in a newer version of word (2007 or newer) and then save it as type .doc. You can then open it in older versions of word.

Is it saved to a usb flash drive or on the computer hard drive? If it is on a flash drive and it was not dismounted properly before being removed from a computer, the file may have been corrupted.

It would help if we knew what version of MS office word is being used and what the extension on the file.
Good point about the different version. If that is the case, there's a compatibility pack that will allow you to open 2007/10 files in 2000/03/XP.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 file formats - Support - Office.com
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Syracuse IS Central New York.
8,517 posts, read 4,007,409 times
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Ok, I got a little more information. The document was done on 2 different computers, one older, the other newer.

The only error message was it kept saying "Unretrievable". She also said there were a lot of weird symbols like #.

She's going to try to email it to me to see if it is the Word version differences. I've fixed a few of those before.

I was also wondering if somehow this ended up as a zip file on her???
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:25 PM
 
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She could have possibly saved it in a number of different formats including .pdf which could be opened by adobe reader. I doubt she zipped it but you never know. Maybe she will get it emailed to you and it will be fairly obvious what the problem might be but if it was opened on two different computers, there is a good chance it was copied to a usb flash drive and not dismounted properly causing file corruption. She may still have a good local copy on one of the computers in her documents folder she could try.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:59 PM
 
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You can always try Open or Libre Office. Sometimes they can open documents that MS Office cannot. It's rare, but worth a shot.
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,511 posts, read 55,435,808 times
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Honestly? There are some computer users that you are better off NOT rescuing. Not saying this is the case here, but if someone is on a phone with me and wants help, they better be able to give me the information I need and follow directions exactly. I've had customers where I had to resort to support through email only - both to cut down on the "what does this button do?" calls, and to focus the responsibility for errors caused by not following instructions exactly.

I'm not a fan of the various formats MS used for Word anyway. Quite literally, it can be easier to take a printed copy, scan it, and run it through an OCR than try to reassemble some of the Word format files.
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