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Excel 2010: Randomly files get reverted to older versions.

Posted on 2016-09-21
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Last Modified: 2016-10-11
This issue is limited to one user.
I have already run several repairs on Excel and even set up a new computer.
Still the problem happens.
Every couple of months, an Excel file which she is working on will get reverted to a version of one or two modifications ago.

Checking event viewer logs and file server logs show nobody else modifying the file other than the user.
The issue is very simliar to this: http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=1033561
which was never resolved.

I'm inclined to think this is a user-caused issue. It is happening to no one else.
So I guess my question is both technical and non-technical.

On the technical side, is there anything else I can check which could be causing this? Maybe Excel is caching older version which, for some reason, then overwrite the new version?

On the non-technical side, what best practices can I show the user so, if the problem is being caused by something they're doing, it will stop occurring?
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Question by:SeeDk
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9 Comments
 
LVL 23

Accepted Solution

by:
Danny Child earned 251 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41810470
As far as I'm aware, Excel can't revert to any Previous Versions without user intervention.  One common cause of multiple versions is if the user mails them around, and then works on the email attachment versions.  Of course, these could then be saved back as mail attachments again, until the user finally saves them to the network.
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LVL 43

Assisted Solution

by:Davis McCarn
Davis McCarn earned 83 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41810570
Dan's posting would do it; but, since the dawn of time, if you open an older version of a file or use one of the built-in methods to see an older version and then do a save, Office writes directly over the top of the existing file and it isn't just Excel.
If its being a real problem, you could setup the volume shadow copy service to create copies of her files which would let you truly revert to the newer file: http://www.visualwin.com/VSS/
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:Brian B
Brian B earned 83 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41810685
It may be a case of watching what the user is doing to understand how this happens. Make sure they don't have auto save turned on, or are using any sort of revision tools. Other than that, get them to have a look at the date on the file before they open it to see if it has changed unexpectedly.

If possible, get all users in the habit of emailing links rather than documents as well. It may be another user is accidentally reverting the file and this user just happens to be the one who notices it.
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Author Comment

by:SeeDk
ID: 41810802
@DanCh99
The user doesn't email files. They all know to update on the shared drive and then tell others where the file is located so they can work on them there.

@Davis
This could be be it, if an autosaved older version was getting saved somehow. However, I specifically turned on autosave because of this problem, so it was occurring even before then.
VSS is already on, but in many cases the user loses work being done in the middle of the day, before the next shadow copy is created.

@Brian
This issue happens randomly as far as I can tell. It is often once every couple of month, so it's not possible for me to watch the user that whole time.
Outside of installing a keylogger, I don't know how to 100% monitor the user's Excel activity.
I can ask to make sure they check the date of the file before opening, just to take note it hasn't happened before they start working on it.

I spoke with the user and they have a rather complicated process when working on files. For example:
Two files
File1
File2

Some work is done on both and they are renamed to:
File1v1
File2v2

A copy of those files is moved to another folder.
Then, more work is done on the files and they are re-named back to their original names:
File1
File2

Maybe at some point during that process, the user makes an error and reverts the file back to an old version.
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LVL 43

Assisted Solution

by:Davis McCarn
Davis McCarn earned 83 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41810937
There is also an option in Office to always create a backup copy which is off by default.
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LVL 18

Assisted Solution

by:xtermie
xtermie earned 83 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41811141
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:Brian B
Brian B earned 83 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41811150
I can see where an error might be made in that process. Perhaps have the user make a copy of the files before she starts working on them. If the files are on a network share, you could enable auditing on the folder, which would tell us for sure who modified the files and when.

Just so we are clear... The user will open the file and see it is okay, then later when she open the file, it has gone back multiple revisions? So it's not like she has just closed the file without saving? I was thinking they could be getting a "file not saved prompt" without realizing what it meant. But if what I am asking is true, that would not be the case.
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Author Comment

by:SeeDk
ID: 41811278
@xtermie
Thanks, I did see these before and the closest to a solution were some user caused issues.

@Brian
I think that will be the best thing, it is an odd process.
The user works on the file, saves it, re-names it back to original name (file 1) and goes to work on something else.
Then a few hours later, finds that the file has gone back back one or two revisions.
I have enabled auditing and the only account making any changes is this user.
Although the access types aren't perfectly clear on what changes are being made.
The access types I see last time this occurred are:

READ_CONTROL
READ_ACCESS
READATTRIBUTES
ReadData (or ListDirectory)
DELETE

I'm not perfectly clear of which of these is logged when changes are being made.
And maybe "DELETE" also occurs when a file is renamed?
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:xtermie
ID: 41838078
Good comments provided
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