Recover Lost Excel File
Posted on 2012-03-15
This is for a customer; I fix PCs for a living.
Windows XP unknown service pack (probably SP3 as very few PCs have an earlier version NOW in my experience) . Excel 2003.
This is not about a DELETED Excel file; please note that. Because the current situation is the file still exists in My Documents but when opened it is a blank Excel spreadsheet. If it were deleted it would NOT be there with the same name (Please correct me if I am wrong).
All below if from phone call; I am not onsite and need your reply BEFORE I go onsite.
Customer left PC on all night with two Excel files open. He saved them both just before he went to bed.
In morning he goes to PC and the icons or whatever in the lower toolbar ARE NOT THERE which is CLEARLY not right so something bad happened overnight (very short power failure because if it were long the PC would not still be up OR something).
Customer starts Excel or (he claims that it was STILL up for both files which I believe is impossible given the above so probably he restarted Excel (not clicking the file names but the program Excel)
In left column (Document Recovery Pane, not sure he says he has not seen it before) were two files, the ones left open. For each file was shown Original File and Recovered File. He clicked the Original File (and he probably should have clicked the Recovered file but that is "water over the dam" now) and both files looked correct. He saved them (not save as). He closed or did nothing with the Recovered files (not sure). He closes Excel. He reopens excel and it shows recent files and he clicks both and one is fine AND THE OTHER IS A BLANK WORKSHEET. He goes to My Documents and clicks the two files and gets the same result.
QUESTIONS: Please answer all you are able to . 4 Questions below.
(1) Is the default setting for Excel 2003 out of the box Auto Recover ON or OFF ?
(2) Does the fact he saw Recovered files in the left column means that Excel Auto Recover was turned on.
(3) Please provide a way to recover the ONE lost file (as it is now blank) OTHER THAN the below
(a) With all Search options open (Hidden, System files etc) search for all xls and all xar extension files in Documents and Settings\UserName. If that fails search the entire HD.
(b) Go to the Auto Recovery default folder (after turning on View Hidden and System files) Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel and look for the files
(c) Use a Deleted files tool that recovers deleted files (i.e assuming PC has not been used a lot since problem occured) and search for the exact file name without extension.
This is the kind of tool that will find all deleted files but the one I am using does a Quick Scan for a specific file name.
Note: (c) Has nothing to do with Excel features. I am using Pareto Disk Recovery free version which does Recover (unlike other similar products free versions which just show if it can find the file).
Note: I said above the file was not deleted but there is a YouTube video by someone that says the Pareto tool can also find missing Excel files in situations OTHER THAN explicitly deleted.
Please note I said to NOT post anything that is the same or very similar to (a), (b), or (c). Only some other approach.
(4) I have heard (from a non-MS source) that Excel Auto recovered files have extension xar (not xls) and A RANDOM FILE NAME. Not OriginalName.xar.
Please confirm or deny that.