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How do I find an excel file that i opened through the outlook web interface, then worked on, then saved but without choosing a file location?

I opened an Excel file from an email opened from the web interface for outlook exchange.  I worked on the excel file, saved it multiple times, but did not choose a specific location to save the file to.  As a result, after I closed the file, I can no longer find it.  I have searched through many folders, including the 'default' ones, but have not found the document .  So, I need your suggestions on how to find the document.  Thank you.
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ccaldwell7178
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ccaldwell7178
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3 Solutions
 
4mrhodesCommented:
Sorry, but I think your changes are for the most part not saved anywhere - unless you specifically do a 'save as'

Here an outdated article talking to it - but I think it still holds true for more recent versions of Exchange and Outlook or OWA.

http://ask-leo.com/why_do_the_changes_ive_made_to_a_document_that_was_emailed_to_me_disappear.html
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MaximumIQCommented:
open a file from OWA, go to File -> properties (not all programs will have this. Adobe Reader for sure has it) and see where the file is located. Your excel file should be in that same folder.
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MaximumIQCommented:
To add to that, if you did a save and it didn't force a "Save As" prompt that means the file is located somewhere in the physical disk and not just loaded in memory. So I'm about 97% positive that your file is on the computer
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4mrhodesCommented:
@maximumIQ - They are definitely saved to the disk when you tell excel to save them - problem is the open attachment is saved to a 'temporary file' that excel was using to read/view the attachment.  When you click save it save to that temporary file which is deleted by outlook when you close the message the file was attached to (hince, no longer on the computer) - short of using recovery tools on the drive, if the senerio i am describing is correct, it isn't likely you can get the changes back
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MaximumIQCommented:
I stand corrected. I tested it and saw the file get deleted as I close the email containing the excel file.
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4mrhodesCommented:
To add to my original, 'sorry no solution - solution' - please read the article and the comments (the article was originally written in 2004, but the basics of email is still handled and limited by set of protocols written in the 60's, so 2004 isn't that old.  Also the most recent comments confirming this is still the way most email clients handle attachments (Outlook specifically) are as recent as a few months ago.
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4mrhodesCommented:
@ccaldwell7178 - the file can't be found on your computer, but technically it is likely still there becuase when Windows deletes a file all it really does is remove 'knowledge' of the file in the allocation table, the file isn't really gone until it gets written over. So depending how much time you spent editing it - it might be worth trying to recover it with something like R-tools (www.r-tt.com) - i believe their free demo would have enough functionality to get back just the one file (if it hasn't been written over)
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AlanConsultantCommented:
Hi,

If you opened it in Outlook, edited it, and saved, the closed Excel, then the file attached to the email in Outlook may have now been changed.

If so, when you closed the email (not Outlook - just the email itself), you may have gotten the message something like, "The email you are closing has changed, do you want to save those changes?"

If you said 'Yes' to that prompt, then the excel file in the email may have been saved in the new state.

If you said 'No' to that prompt, then your changes saved in excel, may have been lost when you chose not to save changes to the email that the excel file was part of.

Just a guess :-)

If you want to check, try it by making a trivial change to an excel file in another email (or the same one), save and close all the way out of the email (saving changes), and then reopen it and see if your trivial change is still there.

Alan.
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planetnineCommented:
ccaldwell7178

The file should be saved in your temporary internet files under your profile. You have to have show hidden files and folders turned on and hide protected operating system files unchecked. This is also why that file didnt turn up in a search. If you are on an XP machine you wont be able to do this under your own profile. You need to log off your profile and log in as the administrator account or some other account.

OS XP

Log on as administrator or another profile with administrator access. In a windows explorer window click on tools and folder options. Click on the View Tab. Scroll down and select view hidden files and folders and uncheck the hide protected operating system files.

Now navigate to this area:

C:\Documents and Settings\XXXXXX\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\
(XXXXX = your user profile)

In this folder you might have these folders. Look in all of them.

Randomly named gibberish folder. For example: WXT2ZY5
Content.Outlook
WebTempDir
Content.IE5

OS Vista/7

It is a little different in Vista/7.
Again make sure you have hidden files and folders and protect OS turned off.

 You will need to have access to this location:
C:\Users\XXXXX\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

Look for some of the similar themed folders or just search for XLS XLSX sheets.

Please let me know if you have success.

Good Luck,

Planetnine
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4mrhodesCommented:
@Alan3285 - not to be defensive, but your post is pretty much a summary of the article I linked in the fisrt reply - not trying to imply you did that on purpose.  But you might want to read through what others have said, including links before adding your solution.  Also, not all clients behave that way, some are not so good about asking if you want to save the changes when you go to close the message with the attachment.
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4mrhodesCommented:
@planetine - Also not to be defensive, but the article I suggested he look at also has your solution.  But no where near the detail you gave it.  I made the mistake of assuming he looked in that folder when he said he checked all the 'default' locations.  Probably a bad assumtion on my part.  However, if outlook was closed after the the Excel file was closed the temporary file would be deleted anyways.

From the article
"What if the message wasn't open? Well, it had to be open in order to open the attachment in Word. If you close the message before you close Word you lose the possibility of updating the attachment in the message. Outlook will usually warn you if you're about to do this.

The good news is that if you've closed the message and Outlook can't update it, it also doesn't know that it needs to delete the temporary file when Word closes. So you may be still able to find the document by searching in your temporary folders."
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AlanConsultantCommented:
@4mrhodes:

Yes, you may be right.  I would suggest in future that you post the link and a short summary too to help stop that happening, and for those that don't like clicking random links.

In terms of your comment about various mail clients, the OP does explicitly indicate the use of Outlook and Excel 2010, so it is a reasonable assumption in this case that they are using Outlook 2010 - not certain, but reasonable.

HTH,

Alan.
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4mrhodesCommented:
@Alan - Thanks for the good advice - will definitely try to follow it in the future.  Good point about Outlook 2010.

Cheers,

Michael
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4mrhodesCommented:
I am not interested enough to test it myself (I stick to telling users to save the file first), but if someone does know if OWA (version?) prompts for saving the file please post.

@Alan - After looking at his question again, trying to see how I missed the Outlook 2010, Excel 2010 thing (I see Excel 2010 in the tag, good catch) - but he mentions Outlook Web Interface, I would assume he is using OWA likely with IE since he indicated in the tag - but no idea which version of Exchange.  I don't know off the top of my head how well OWA (2003, 2007, 2010, sp?) handles the save file prompt.


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AlanConsultantCommented:
@Michael - Yes, excellent point, and I have no means of checking all those versions of OWA which might, as you say, behave differently.  I agree - I also tell people just not to do it, and save the file first, but most people just think you're being anal until something bad happens, then its your fault somehow anyway!

Alan.
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watunggaCommented:
ccaldwell7178, launch the Excel application withouit opening an excel file.  

Click on Office logo, and view the recent documents....
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James MurrellProduct SpecialistCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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