Disaster – Genius Needed

by craig on April 1, 2012 5:35 am in Uncategorized

I am sorry for the blog hiatus, but I follow a method of historical research a bit akin to method acting! I am absolutely immersed in the world of Burnes. I am in Bhuj at tne moment, and yesterday was at Mandivi looking at the shipyards and harbours where Burnes procured his boats to sail up the Indus – they are still made today. Much larger than I had realised. In Mumbai I identified a “lost”, uncatalogued portrait of Alexander Burnes which I think is the finest of him anywhere. The owners did not know who it was. It is by Brockendon like the one in the royal geographical society but is quite different, with him in military uniform. It is by Brockendon, not a copy.

Today disaster. I have lost ten days worth of notes. I noticed this morning that I had two versions of the identical document of my notes open – an .ODT on open office. One was a much older version. Paradoxically they had the identical file name but both showed as saved – the save icon was blanked on each.

Having checked that the content was all there on the version on which I was working, and that it was saved, I decided the best thing was to close off the extraneous version. Disaster!! An error message came up saying open office would now close. On restart, document recovery brought up only the old version, minus ten days work. I had a moment of hope when I right clicked on the document icon and saw “restore earlier versions of the document” but clicking on that just brought up a ,essage that there are no earlier versions available.

I am heartbroken- these aren’t just notes that can be recovered from memory, but also painstaking transcripts of old manuscripts, some of which I probably can’t access again even if I had the time and money.

I can think of a dozen things I might have done to avoid this situation. Comments on how to avoid such happenings are not welcome in the current trying circumstance. The real question is, can anyone think of anything at all that might help? I am running Open Office on Windows 7.

I really cannot express how much in despair I feel. This trip has cost all my available cash and I have to come back soon as money is out.

[If any mods have hung around while the blog is quiet, I am getting an extremely small typeface, only on this site. Do we have a problem, or is it another computer glitch personal to me?]

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  1. Not used windows for a long time but if you could avoid using the computer until you could get or a friendly UK person could image the drive and then look t a copy with a disc recovery program you might be ble to get the version before, o if you were saving say every hour you might get an hour old version back.

    However the more you use that computer the less likely it is as the disk space previously used might be overwritten long with the chance to get it.

    I think that is correct, based on my limited memory of Windows systems. best of luck…

  2. I use Open Office as well.It saved an updated version of a file whilst keeping original without update with original file name.
    Run search on Windows for files altered on the date you think you lost your work.It could be that your updated version has been saved but file name slightly altered with a (1) or “old” as happened with mine.
    best of luck !!

  3. I think the best place to get expert advice on recovering your .odt file is to post a request for help in one of the forum communities for OpenOffice, e.g. http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/

    The .odt is basically a ZIP-file and is separating the content, styles, metadata, and application settings into separate XML files.

    Make a copy of your .odt files and unzip them into an empty directory. You can open a XML-file with any editor like Notepad. If you are lucky, maybe only the metadata is corrupted, not the content.

  4. First of all -the suggestions before are all quite useful, but before doing anything else- save your actual version under a new file name and don’t touch the original any more. At least not with OpenOffice.
    You might then create a working copy under another name from Windows Explorer and use this one to try to recreate document history. So you still have the originial data if anything goes wrong.

    You might also check temp files in C:\temp C:\Users\… and the like, if you are lucky you might find an autobackup – the guys at the official forums will most likely know the exact place where OpenOffice might put these data.

  5. The files should still be written somewhere on the hard drive on unallocated sectors. Recovery will be possible until these sectors over overwritten. There is software freely available that can find these sectors and recover the files. I hope that this is one of the cases where you can FishRestore, which would be by far the easiest.

  6. I think Darren is correct. The data can probably be forensically recovered but you have to stop using the computer to prevent it being overwritten in the meantime.

  7. 1. Immediately download free software program such as Recuva from Piriform. You can do this from a site like filehippo.com.

    2. Install Recuva (requires administrator rights).

    3. Start Recuva running as Administrator. If your user account already has administrator priveleges this is automatic when you click the icon; otherwise right click the icon and select run as administrator. The program has a wizard that comes up. On the wizard, the first thing to come up is file type. Click documents; it includes .odt. Click Next, then on the new menu specify the disk or partition where the file would be located. Use In a specific location. The default is C: and this would be where the file is if you haven’t done things like partition your disk. If you are saving your .odt files to another location (say, E:), specify it. Next click next and then start without specifying deep scan.

    4. When the music stops, check whether your file is listed in the list. If not close the program and redo the wizard, this time clicking deep scan. Go have a cup of tea. Maybe even a meal. Maybe even go for a walk. When you’ve come back look on the list for your file. If all you see are numbered .odt files, you’re going to have to recover all of them and do a manual examination of each document, what it contains. You’re going to have to save the file(s) to a different disk–possibly a thumb drive/USB stick. Save the file(s). Open each and every document. You should be okay.

    5. The reason you shouldn’t be using your computer until you recover the file is the following. When you delete a file (any file), all Windows does is release the space. It isn’t overwritten. But the more you use your computer the more possible it is that some other write activity will be allocated the blocks that contain your missing file. Hence one or more blocks can be overwritten thus damaging the file you want to recover. If it hasn’t been overwritten, Recuva will find it and save it, so you should be okay.

    6. In future, after every work session, copy your work to a thumb drive. Keep the thumb drive around your neck. That way even a determined adversary or hard disk crash on the main computer or general computer failure or computer theft will find it a little more difficult to destroy your work.

  8. So sorry but isn’t it amazing that there is instantly so much useful help and advice from these kind readers of your blog. We really are ‘together’ here.

  9. If you happen to be using Win7 Professional or Enterprise/Ultimate, the Previous Versions feature may have a backup. Unfortunately it is nit in the normal Home edition so this probably doesn’t apply.

  10. @Mary: Right, like a school of… oh well.

  11. If only the tale of Craig’s woes was an April Fool. Sadly not I think. Neither is this. The fools are in Istanbul.
    As the Foreign Secretary with the boiled egg look sits down alongside Shillary and representatives of 68 other ‘nations’ in Istanbul today, further demonisation of President Assad will be taking place. Pressure on him to go will increase. Hague has just handed over another £500k to the rebel rabble which will doubtless be spent on weaponry.

    Even Assad’s wife is being villified. In the Washington Post, a headline reads ‘While bloodshed continues, she shops for crystal encrusted shoes’. I thought they were talking about the likes of Karimov’s daughter. No. Not even Michelle or SamCam.

    WESTERN PSY-OPS AGAINST SYRIA: When Mrs Assad’s “Shopping” Becomes a “Crime Against Humanity”



    Good opening spoof para!


    PS The state broadcaster’s stooge Marr has got Hague coming on his chat show shortly. What a waste of airwaves and satellite time.

  12. school of fools?

  13. Craig, you have my sympathy.
    The above advice seems mostly correct:
    1) The old version is probably still on your hard disk, but using your installed Windows system increases the risk that it will be over-written.
    2) Confused’s advice above risks the lost data somewhat because the installation of Recurva writes to your hard disk.
    3) If you can get an “image” of the whole drive made now, the lost version should be preserved in the image for recovery later.
    However, all imaging techniques are not equal. Some do not record the contents of the “blank” parts of the disk, and these are not good enough. The ones that do will produce an image file as big as your whole hard disk. This will be much bigger than a writable DVD. You would probably have to buy an external hard disk to keep it on.
    Using your machine without disturbing the lost data:
    Your machine could be booted with a GNU/Linux “LiveCD”. By default, these do not write to the hard disk, thus permitting the use of your machine without disturbing the contents of the hard disk. Note: a LiveCD can write to your hard disk if you ask it to, so don’t do that, and don’t choose any “Install” option for the same reason. Anyone with a decent Internet connection can download the image for the Ubuntu LiveCD from here:
    It’s a big file (about 700 megabyte) so broadband is needed to download it. It can then be written onto a CD to make a bootable LiveCD. I would guess that most Indian computer shops would know how to do this. There is no charge for the software, and a blank CD costs about 20p.
    A LiveCD works in the computer’s RAM, the contents of which are lost at power-off or when the machine is restarted. Thus, to save any work from a LiveCD session, the most convenient method is to use a USB memory stick.
    Please keep us informed. If you wish to attempt recovery of the lost version before you come home, I can post instructions here.

  14. A good April Fool piece here.
    Cameron asks Shaun Ryder to advise on class and help to detox ToriesAfter a week of gaffes, No 10 calls in the Happy Mondays singer who helps to launch a T-shirt campaign to banish ‘pastygate’

    .In pictures: Ryder’s celebritiy friends help launch the ‘We’re All Eating This Together’ T-shirt campaign

  15. Craig, regarding the small typeface you are seeing, I haven’t seen that problem here.

  16. Someone, get on a plane to Delhi pronto.
    @Nuzothie and April Fool I can only see porpoises or clerks here.

  17. Clark is correct that there is the risk of over-writing the file; however, the chances are low. One solution is indeed to use a boot CD the way he says. The grand ultimate solution is to unscrew the Hard Disk from the computer (not something they taught you at FCO I imagine), put it into a hard disk box (cheap) that turns it into an external disk drive, then install Recuva on ANOTHER computer (can’t do it on the old one since it doesn’t have a disk anymore), and then run Recuva from the other computer pointing it to the now external hard disk that is connected from the box by a USB plug. This stuff is easy for a techie, but you’re not in London. Not that they’re aren’t techies in India (!) but it’s a foreign country and what do you know? This stuff is simple for a techie. Best wishes.

  18. Just an addendum. The only problem with a bootable CD is that it’s not certain that it will have software to recover deleted files. Even forensic bootable CD’s can’t be assumed to have such software automatically.

  19. Craig, I’ve e-mailed to the various addresses I have for you. Obviously, read them from a computer other than your laptop if at all possible.

  20. Confused, I agree that the risk of loss is fairly low; any use of the installed Windows system increases the risk.
    Any major GNU/Linux distro will include the package “testdisk”, which can recover lost files. If it’s a Debian-based distro, the following command will download it from the repository and install it, even into a LiveCD session, so long as there’s an Internet connection:
    sudo apt-get install testdisk

  21. I think the main point is that you mustn’t use the computer that the data is lost on as you may overwrite it.
    It happened to me a couple of times that I lost all my data (probably those darned Zionists eh? – *swivel-eyes, swivel-eyes*)
    A friend told me I should use a programme called “Spinrite”.
    When I used it it worked really well.

  22. SpinRite is an excellent program from Peter Gibson, but not quite the right software for this as (1) it is primarily intended for recovery from physical hard disk damage rather than files lost by deletion, and (2) it writes recovered data back to the disk drive being examined, where it could overwrite the data we’re searching for.
    Craig’s computer (i.e. hardware) can be used without risking the lost data, but the system installed on his hard disk cannot, i.e. Craig’s Windows 7 should not be started until the file has been recovered.
    File recovery is likely to produce masses of recovered files without their original names. The Ubuntu LiveCD approach enables these files to be inspected, as the Ubuntu CD includes OpenOffice for opening the recovered .odt files.
    Peter Gibson revealed several security flaws in various versions of Windows, and also set up the useful Shields Up! website that can scan your system for security holes:

  23. Ah! Okay, thanks for that Clark. I was hoping you could give your opinion on SpinRite as I know very little about these things.

  24. “Peter Gibson” – I mean “Steve Gibson”, duh. I think Microsoft bought out his company in the end to shut him up about security flaws in Windows; see the section “Was MICE added to Windows intentionally?”:
    SpinRite used some very clever techniques to attempt recovery of data corrupted by physical defects on the disk surface, but the latest version was released in 2004, and hard disk technology has moved on since then. It’s a specialist tool for data recovery experts to use on certian older hard disks, and way beyond (and slightly unsuitable for) the undelete functionality required for this job.

  25. As other have pointed out you should *STOP* using your current machine (as doing so will decrease the chance of recovering your file) and seek expert advice. There is still good chance that the “right” version still lies on the disk but the more you use your machine the bigger the risk to loose it forever.

  26. Did you check the open office menu, File>Recent documents, for another copy of the document? Open office should not be able to accidentally edit the same file in two instances, so a duplicate copy would explain how you appeared to being doing this.
    If there is no other copy in oo menu file>recent documents, there is but a *slim* chance that a careful technical recovery process will recover the file, but undertaking this yourself or following instructions here has a really high chance of frustration and spoiling what slim chance there is.
    My advice is to check those recent docs in the open office menu (not windows recent docs), and if no other copies are there, shut down the laptop and consider it untouchable until you can get it to someone who can do a safe scan of the hard drive -on the off chance the file was not overwritten in the apparently buggy incident, or afterward by your webcache etc, while the laptop has been used.
    Proceed as though it has gone – use your mind/pencil.

  27. Oddy enough the dog ate my homework once……….

  28. Abdul Jarndyce

    1 Apr, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    Other side of the hard disk, meanwhile:
    Bradford’s electoral riot—how forgotten corner of diddled Britain shoved its anger up party hacks’ to-do list:


  29. Abdul Jarndyce

    1 Apr, 2012 - 2:50 pm

    And particularly for listeners abroad, this being Sunday, a Desert Island Discs Special: Donald Rumsfeld

  30. Abdul Jarndyce

    1 Apr, 2012 - 2:54 pm

    Normal Rumsfeld service now hopefully resumes with missing link:

  31. Meanwhile, back im the ‘ConDemocracy’… Planned for inclusion in the queen’s speech so it must be true.

  32. Also on the BBC website, so definitely a true story!!
    The prediction of the arrival of a fascist state gets ever nearer. Or is it here already?

  33. Craig, daft question probably, but you mentioned that you’d tried two of OpenOffice’s recovery options, but did you try just opening the file as normal?
    Craig’s description of two files with the same names suggests that different versions may have got saved in two different folders. A simple search on the filename might locate the newer version. But I’d recommend trying these options from a LiveCD session so as not to disturb the contents of the hard disk.
    Crab, I’ve had pretty good results with undelete utilities. When a hard disk is big and mostly empty, deleted files can remain undisturbed for a long time. I once recovered about sixty files from a Windows drive that had been formatted and over-written with Ubuntu.
    I hope Craig reports back with good news.

  34. Just to endorse Clark’s solution: it’s sound.
    Run a Linux distro FROM THE CD or THUMBDRIVE and recover files using that, saving the recovered files TO A THUMBDRIVE NOT THE HARD DISC.
    You may even find you like Ubuntu better than Windows, I do, it’s what I’m using.
    However if you’re not too sure about Linux, bring it back with you and let Clark have a go. Sounds like he knows what he’s about. Borrow another box to complete your researches?
    I suspect that the mains supply in Mumbai/wherever is less than perfect, and the small typeface is another symptom of data corruption due to this. When you’ve got the files off it, and backed-up the remains, you would be well advised to do a complete reinstall of W7. You would be even better advised to install Ubuntu instead….

  35. You might find it kicking around in a Temp folder, too. Amazing how long Windows can store stuff in there if you don’t clear it out, but that depends on the installation. As it’s in Something/Temp (not Windows/Temp, as it’s OO? Clark?) and OO’s probably looking at My Docs/Something, this is not immediately obvious.

  36. People on medialens are asking if the internet spying stuff and this about Cherie Blair are April Fool pieces!
    March 30, 2012 6:23 pm
    Cherie Blair moves into private healthcare
    By Anousha Sakoui, Andrea Felsted and Sarah Neville
    Cherie Blair will venture into the health market on Saturday with the launch of a private healthcare centre in a branch of J Sainsbury – the supermarket chain.
    This is part of a debut venture by the private equity fund she co-founded, which plans to open 100 private health centres across the UK, at a time when government reforms are triggering enormous upheavals in the cash-strapped National Health Service.
    But in her first interview on the topic, Mrs Blair, who is married to former prime minister Tony Blair, rebuffed any suggestion that the venture sought to take advantage of difficulties in the NHS.
    “While this venture is a commercial one, it is not about replacing the NHS or profiteering, but complementing the services it already offers,” Mrs Blair told the Financial Times. “Our aim is to simplify access to basic healthcare and improve medical outcomes through earlier detection and more timely referrals to GPs.”
    The venture highlights a trend in the retail sector for putting extra customer services into superstores – from health centres to hairdressers – to put excess space to use. Sainsbury’s will receive a percentage of the turnover from the service, which is being launched in Leeds, as well as rent and the health centres will run on a partnership model similar to that operated by John Lewis, the UK retailer. They will provide health, optical, hearing and dental care, and are expected to employ GPs and dentists.
    However, the role of the private sector in healthcare delivery has come under scrutiny as the government’s NHS reform legislation endured a difficult passage through parliament.
    Critics, including some within the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, argued that plans to promote competition in the provision of NHS-funded services paved the way for privatisation.
    The reform blueprint was watered down to secure the support of Lib Dem dissenters. Some in the private healthcare industry fear its share of the NHS-funded market could fall below levels it reached under Mr Blair’s premiership.
    Mrs Blair founded the Allele Fund in 2008 with Gail Lese, a doctor and fund manager, with the aim of investing in healthcare and technology companies internationally.
    They have lined up Cavendish, an advisory firm, to help raise $100m to finance the venture, called Mee Healthcare and which is expected to become profitable within the next five years.

    “The outlook for the [health] sector couldn’t be stronger; driven by an ageing demographic in the UK, greater demand from consumers towards convenience and accessibility, combined with an increasing emphasis on health and wellbeing,” said Dr Lese. There is also growing demand for pre-screening and preventative care, she added.
    No not April Fools. Both true and completely revolting.

  37. I trust that the special advice to Craig, to ‘Not start your computer up again’ has had him reaching for pencils by now, good luck with it and see you back soon.

    Thanks for that snippet Abdul, a great account of many volunteers who’d ‘won it for George’ and also a good lesson to anyone wanting to stand as an Independent. I should write up my experiences, working for Bushra in Blackburn, but it would mean stressing myself with bad vibes from the past, and its gardening time!

    To stand in an election, in your own locality, where you might or might not beknown, one must use the time before elections to do stuff, writing lots of letters on topical issues helps to keep your name alive, active work.
    When the time comes, you first need a galvanising issue, volunteers that are willing to help long hours, an electoral agent, unless you want to do it yourself, a good healthy constitution, because you are up from 8am till midnight.

    People have to be pursuaded, they have to know you care, your face has to be seen at as many opportunities as you can fit in. Never run away from a debate with other candidates, indeed demand you are included in panel debates. Press release your activities as best as you can, ideally at 6am in the morning, i.e your daily itinary, where you gonna be, etc., but do not rely on the media,they are fickle and thats a nice word for their bipartisan coverage. Rely on your campaigns/election agent and your team, alone, and ensure that your volunteers keep happy and healthy, have some time out with them.

  38. The replies you have received in terms of looking for the file via the file system are good. It should be there.

    During the writing of my PhD way back in the days of 3.5″ floppies I had a main set in the office, a set that lived in my bag and was updated every day and another set that lived at home and was brought in once a week for updating (no home computer). That is not as anal as some I have known, it is a minimum. Back up everything, preferably to another drive. This can be done automatically now. Once you have resolved this, and I’m sure you can, learn from it so it can never happen again.

  39. Hey, Windows 7 users, where would OpenOffice default to storing Craig’s file? This is Windows 7, so I’m guessing something like:
    C:\Users\Craig\My Documents
    In XP, would it have been(?):
    C:\Documents and Settings\Craig\My Documents
    In Windows 7, is “Documents and Settings” a shortcut pointing at “Users”, or is “Documents and Settings” a folder in its own right?

  40. Komodo, I know some of the folder paths for XP, but not for 7. Windows stores “Temporary” folders all over the place. In XP it was:
    C:\Documents and Settings\{account name}\Local Settings\Application Data\{application name}\… etc. Or something like that. There are also
    and maybe others called “tmp” instead of “Temp”, though a user’s file should only be somewhere in that user’s folder, not in “C:\” or “C:\Windows”. I’ve never bothered learning all the paths; I just go fishing as needed.
    And yes, I’d be willing to visit Craig to attempt file recovery when he gets home.

  41. …fishing as needed…Me too. I have one box at work running XP in a W7 VM and that is as near as I want to get to W7. I’ve seen Windows likened to a car with the bonnet welded shut, but the little of W7 I’ve seen suggests a car with the bonnet welded shut and concreted over, with a spy phoning home in the driving seat. Even XP has too many temp files for comfort…
    Hope Craig has found an inet cafe and is able to read your good advice!

  42. On Win 7, LibreOffice, which is probably close enough Open Office to give the path, has these default paths:

    backups: C:\Users\[Craig’s User Account Name]\AppData\Roaming\LibreOffice\3\user\backup

    documents: C:\Users\[Craig’s User Account Name]\Documents

    temp files: C:\Users\[First 6 letters of Craig’s User Account Name]~1\AppData\Local\Temp

    However, when you save a file using ‘save as’ then the program opens the folder last saved to. You have to browse to a different folder. Any further saves of the same file will default to the folder the file was last saved to. So if Craig has been saving his work to a special folder somewhere, then that’s where it is.

    Also, when I ran a test with Recuva to give the instructions above, I saw that the files showed up with alphanumeric names. Recuva will sort on file type, so it would be easy to save all the .odt files to an external drive, and then to open them one by one. Since there are a whole pile of saves Craig should be picking up not only the last saved file but all kinds of slightly older files.

    If Craig or someone in Delhi removes the Hard Disk from the Computer, puts it into a box and then opens it as an external disk drive on ANOTHER computer under Recuva (following the wizard but pointing it to the now-external drive) there is no danger of data degradation since the now-external drive doesn’t boot; it is just an external hard disk drive. Of course you will see all your system files as mere data files.

  43. …the W7 VM – XP box is because some proprietory software does not run on W7 because W7 is not backwards-compatible. What does the software do? It opens an ASCII terminal on an RS232 link. Thank you, our Windows-indoctrinated IT people…

  44. The RGS portrait of Alexander Burnes by William Brockedon. Also some images of charts given to Burnes.

  45. The painter William Brockedon

  46. Confused, thanks for the paths. The technique of connecting the hard disk to another computer to prevent the disk from being written to is essentially the same as booting from a LiveCD or a USB stick. The former requires a second machine, and the removal of Craig’s hard disk and its installation into a USB external hard disk box. The latter requires a LiveCD, an Internet connection, and a USB memory stick to save the recovered files on.
    Komodo, I think Windows 7 and Vista are not backwards-compatible with some Windows XP software because that software won’t work with Vista and 7’s improved security arrangements.

  47. Abdul Jarndyce

    1 Apr, 2012 - 6:51 pm

    Of poss interest to prospective Parliamentary candidates—even if in lands afar, & buggered by malfunctioning hard disks. A rare Tory voice of truth on Bradford’s electoral riot:

  48. Abdul Jarndyce

    1 Apr, 2012 - 8:47 pm

    One bit of good news at least, Craig, amid the tech glitches. YouTube now available on DVD:

  49. Craig, I am so sorry to read what has happened to your document.

    I know advice given *after* things happened is not worth much – but I having once lost several folders due to a bug in Windows XP I now feel a bit wiser.

    Now my laptop runs remote backup software all the time (four at the sime time: Syncplicity, Dropbox, Live Mesh and Insync). Just to be on the safe side. In India, mobile internet is available (albeit terribly slow) pretty much all over the country – a GSM dongle plugged in your laptop could have saved your work.

    Take care, come back home safely.

  50. First thing to do is to TURN OFF the computer and stop using it until you are able to scan it using data recovery software. This is to prevent Windows overwriting the sectors of the drive where lost data is recorded. Windows keep writing to the hard drive all the time, even if no applications are open, so computer the system should be switched off!
    Then, using another computer, google up for a “Recovery CD”, or other recovery programs that can be can run off a pendrive. There are dozens of such solutions, also free ones, up there on the internet. I have never used any of them – but if you google up “data recovery boot CD”, etc., you are sure to get plenty of results. The trick is to either record them to a CD and then boot your computer of the CD, or format a pendrive to emulate a CD drive and then run the recovery CD image off it.
    Let me know if you need more details, I can try to google up all the information.

  51. The software is a skeletal GUI to allow the user to configure a COM port, open it, and translate a remote device’s I/O for a terminal window. It’s the sort of thing you have to physically prevent ‘Nix systems from doing when you’re not paying attention, and rumour has it that even MSDOS could manage something similar. Vista? Bloatware. I once bought a box with Vista preloaded. I wiped it the same day in disgust, and replaced it with Mandriva*.
    (Advertisement) Stop buying stuff. Load Linux….
    *later replaced, but it was a good choice at the time.

  52. ‘Confused’ is right; if autosave is ticked then voila:
    Go to folder titled AppData, opening a subfolder titled Local, opening a subfolder to Local titled Temp, opening a subfolder to Temp titled [craig username letters].tmp, then change the .tmp file extention to .odt.
    Else go here:
    Download – install – run – look for file.

  53. @ Craig,
    I assumed that your next post would be on the Bradford West victory ( defeat – of course, if you were on the opposite side of George Galloway).
    I do declare that I like George Galloway.
    His enemies say that he is egotistical, narcissistic, and a bloody loud mouth. Well for my part, his ego has its equivalent in Muhammad Ali and Usain Bolt – both accomplished athletes, likeable, humane and principled people, as best I know. But, in Galloway we find a showman, not in the boxing ring or on the running track, but in the fight and run of representative politics, and a bloody good fighter and a damn good runner in Bradford West was he. The loud mouth part of it is so true, and as a debater and an orator he actually is very talented.
    Galloway is one of the few, unlike so many balless and unprincipled Members of Parliament ( gutless if one is a woman elected to represent – but doesn’t stand up against wrongs) – who has consistently spoken truth to power about the Palestinians’ plight and the criminality of the West in its blind and mindless support for Israel, and likewise his opposition to the war criminals Blair and Bush, and the savagery unleashed in Afghanistan and on Iraq.
    Agreed, that Galloway is not perfect and he has erred in some of his political judgments. The “indefatigable” Saddam ( Saddam’s “indefatigability” was naïve and a political mis – step; it was a wrong political stance by Galloway). He failed to understand the brutality of Saddam when the US sold him the chemical weapons used against the Iranians. Galloway was thus, partially correct on that occasion, because the “oil war” has been a huge waste of Western money and has bled over a million Iraqi lives. It was and remains a violation of International law when Blair and Bush lied, and then more than a million have died. Galloway, has consistently spoken out and he is right.
    More importantly, if one wants a democracy, then voices representative of the minorities, have to have parliamentary space, and Galloway appeals and makes room for that in Westminster. He is not quite credible when he supports Middle East dictators – but he does so in the context of the West fawning to the other Middle Eastern dictators who are supplicants, clients and compliant, while brutally demitting from office those who dare oppose Western hegemony ( cf. Gadaffi and the British non-response to Saudi Arabian and Bahranian dictatorships). Galloway does indeed have flaws – and which human being doesn’t ? He appeals to the idealistic young, the left, the Muslims and he has cultivated his own cult of personality. So what?
    I suspect, and think that I know that you –Craig, would not be as approving of Galloway as I am. But, Craig are you not a middle class trained diplomat, and person of conscience? I suspect, if I ever met you, I might find you urbane, courteous, considerate and gracious to a fault. Galloway, by contrast is…..you fill in the blanks ( not quite like a Craig Murray).
    So – we sit smugly by, and disapprove of the braggadocio and flamboyant style of the man, but at the risk of ignoring the substance of his message.
    I would sooner have Galloway in Westminster any day of the week than some of the spineless ones and wankers elected to represent.
    To Galloway’s credit, I say – Audentes fortuna juvat (“fortune favours the bold”) – and for my part, I salute him.

    P.S. Murray – my sympathy – and I do respect you as an honourable man of courage.

  54. This is a software freedom issue. Windows does not give Craig the freedom to start his computer except from the installed Windows system, which risks corruption of the deleted file.
    At present, Craig could get around this by starting his computer with a GNU/Linux “LiveCD”, or a bootable USB stick (GNU/Linux again). Microsoft will not offer such tools because such an operating system would not be tied to the hardware of your machine, and Microsoft sell 99% of their Windows systems by having them pre-installed on new machines.
    But Microsoft are currently applying their market dominance to the hardware manufacturers. Microsoft are advocating a system called “Secure Boot”. This would be built into computers, and would make it impossible to boot any system but Windows. Of course, they’re calling this a “security feature”, having created the security panic with their insecure software in the first place.
    If you wish to preserve our freedom to run software of our choice on our own machines, please sign this petition:

  55. Apparently words like dinasoar are being taken out of school tests in New York for not being Pc.

    Its a form of new world order liberal Faschism to dumb us down.
    I am so glad we havent got a Television here.


    Good luck with your Retrieval Craig.

    Alexander Burnes seems an interesting fella.

  56. If the machine in question has already been partitioned into having a C: and D: ‘drive’ (but which are, in fact, both on the single internal disk), then recovery s/w may be installed on the other partition to that which holds your documents. Such an installation will not endanger the data because the recovery program is written to free blocks which would never be used by the Office document.
    I’m not that familiar with M$ OS’s, but it’s surely worth performing a full search on the drive with the documents, for anything containing the original document filename. Make sure to include ‘hidden files’ in the search.
    Locking stable doors and all that, but my advice on important working documents is to backup important documents to your own hotmail or gmail account regularly, encrypted first if necessary, as an attachment. Saves messing about with zip drives, and doesn’t depend on anything remaining in your personal possession. One poor acquaintance has her entire PhD thesis on a floppy back in the day that was continually being used. Just one. That eventually failed, she was heartbroken.
    There are plenty of data recovery firms about – it would be most surprising if this data were completely irretrievable.


  57. Glenn, C:\ and D:\ partitions only help a bit, unfortunately. The file is on C:\. Windows is nearly always installed on C:\, and Windows itself constantly writes to the partition it’s installed on, even if the recovery software is on another partition. The only way to ensure that the unindexed file is not over-written is to not write to the partition it’s on, so that means not starting Windows at all.
    I agree that a filename search could find an old or a backup version, but it’s safer to do it without starting the Windows system which is installed on C:\.

  58. Possums get ready for the front door crashing and hoards of goons making their way into your homes;
    UK government preparing email and internet surveillance legislation
    Under legislation expected in next month’s Queen’s Speech, internet companies will be instructed to install hardware enabling GCHQ – the government’s electronic “listening” agency – to examine “on demand” any phone call made, text message and e-mail sent, and website accessed in “real time”, it was reported yesterday.
    Donuchyou love the smell of freedoms?

  59. “Comments on how to avoid such happenings are not welcome in the current trying circumstance.”
    An understandable request. It seems a bit of a din in here tho.

  60. Craig, we’ve all been all barking up the wrong tree here. Send a silly text in an airport or write a controversial poem. Then let the authorities pull you in; they’ll confiscate your laptop and extract every bit of data they possibly can. Then recover the lost data via a Freedom of Information Act request, and recover the laptop when an MP tries to dispose of it in a public litter bin.

  61. Clark: You’re right, the only chance for this approach is if the datafiles were all on D: . It’s best to leave the thing entirely alone and not start ‘doze up again, as you say, and take it to a data recovery outfit. Most inconvenient for Craig though. Perhaps he should remove the disk, and get a new small one installed with an OS by some local IT shop – new notes can be made and the old disk kept intact. Better still, stick to old tech of the paper variety until returning.
    Accidentally erasing a piece of work has happened to the best of us. My approach is to start again without delay, it’s surprising what’s retained in our memory. The second draft often turns out to be better than one remembers the first as being, and done unexpectedly swiftly too.
    Not that Craig needs much of my advice, but I’d use the remaining time there to re-do the taking of transcripts – by photos if pressed for time, multiple shots of each page – and knocking up a outline to what was in the missing notes. Fill in the details as time allows. A severe PITA, but that’s the best that can be done with a bad situation. I’ve done it numerous times in the past, one can get mightily annoyed, or put it aside with a sigh and press on as part of the business of life right away. It’s surprising how quickly one moves into the “acceptance” phase of grief should one decide to get on with things as they are without delay.
    John Pilger had nearly all his pictures from an investigation of Burma, taken in stealth at great personal danger, ruined by some idiot at the film lab. I imagine he was a bit cross about that too.

  62. boniface goncourt

    2 Apr, 2012 - 4:06 am

    Can you clarify what exactly these comment threads are supposed to be? There are a few rather prim theosophists, but not much of anyone else. Is it, as they claim, a “blog that specialises in spiritual understanding”? In which case, uh….

  63. Fedup I posted about this very important matter earlier, see

    1 Apr, 2012 – 2:58 pm
    Meanwhile, back im the ‘ConDemocracy’… Planned for inclusion in the queen’s speech so it must be true.


    1 Apr, 2012 – 3:12 pm
    Also on the BBC website, so definitely a true story!!
    The prediction of the arrival of a fascist state gets ever nearer. Or is it here already?
    but nobody commented or responded. I think we should all be working out what action to take to resist this. A massive citizens’ protest and a rising up against this gross invasion of our privacy is needed.

  64. Giles Fraser the man of principle who resigned from St Paul’s is taking up a priesthood in one of London’s deprived boroughs, Newington in the Elephant and Castle. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/01/canon-st-pauls-parish-priest
    He writes:”London is a tale of two cities: you’ve got the City of London, where people make extraordinary amounts of money, and you’ve got another London, represented by places like the Elephant & Castle, which is largely forgotten. It’s the church’s job to be an advocate and to shine a light on poverty.”

    I have just been reading about some of the inqualities.
    eg the average take of a CEO of a FTSE 100 company is now £4.2m (Guardian)
    69% of the acreage of Britain is owned by 0.6% of the population. More pertinently, 158,000 families own 41 million acres of land, while 24 million families live on the four million acres of the urban plot. (New Statesman)

  65. I tried using Openoffice on MS7 and eventually concluded that MS finds Openoffice the enemy and they will fight it. I use it with my Ubuntu system and have had few problems.

    But in any case the first dozen suggestions here for recovering your data make much sense.

  66. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-greece-conduct-joint-naval-drill-amid-ongoing-tension-with-turkey-1.421907#.T3jmB4qcH7g.aolmail
    This from David Schermerhorn – Free Gaza. His accompanying message is below the dotted line.
    Extraordinary how almost all ‘western’ nations bow to the Zionist entity. Down to allegiances in the rotten ‘leaderships’ – UK and US par excellence. Eg our so-called Foreign Secretary, Hague, who only a few ‘American’ citizens would have heard of, stood up aged 16 at a Tory/GOP conference to proclaim he was a ‘Friend of Israel’. Yes, aged 16. He has not advanced beyong being the nasty little squirt he was then.

    More ‘mundus nostrum’ than ‘mare nostrum’. And the entity resents ‘delegitimation’.


    On 02/04/12 00:54, David Schermerhorn of Free Gaza wrote:

    To all, Why should we be surprised that the Audacity and others did not succeed? Why the AoH remains imprisoned? Not only are Flotillas blocked but the Israeli gas deposits are protected by the US 6th Fleet off Cyprus or Lebanon or Gaza. The Med has become Israel’s Mare Nostrum with our support.

  67. Mary, rest assured you are not a voice crying in the wilderness – I read your reference yesterday to the new internet Stasi snooping bill and nodded in agreement. (Or maybe that should read the OLD internet Stasi snooping bill, because, of course, this is the second time round the block for it.) It’s rich, isn’t it? that a government currently beating up a newspaper for phone hacking wants to phone hack the entire nation.
    But not enough people seem to care in the same way they undoubtedly would if all the nation’s snailmail were re-routed via GCHQ.
    Mind you, did you see the recent article in Wired on the real time spying centre they are building in the US? The intent is to monitor ALL the world’s communications in real time with acres of super computers to crack the encryption.

    “Those who do not  move, do not notice their chains.” – Rosa Luxemburg

  68. Look at these photos. They shock.
    I found them following reading this piece in which the link to a Guardian photo does not work hence the Mail link.
    Duty Calls {http://warlordsandmerchants.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/duty-calls/}
    On Thursday March 29th 2012, The Guardian published a half-page photo entitled “Duty calls, No-frills flights for US troops”[1]. The picture, an interior shot of a US military transport plane showed row after row of grinning American troops and was captioned “US soldiers relax on a plane bound for Afghanistan from a transit base outside Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek”. No further reporting or analysis accompanied the image.
    The troops in the photo are laughing cheerfully. It is the sort of image you could imagine the US military might use in recruitment material to demonstrate the ‘camaraderie’ and ‘adventure’ of army life; it is not what you expect to see in a supposedly left-wing newspaper.
    The image, in combination with its heading, depicts the US troops as simply doing their ‘duty’ and even appears to sympathise with them for being forced to tolerate a ‘no-frills flight’. Its broader context – that the troops shown in the image are being flown from a US military air base in Kyrgyzstan (one of hundreds of US military bases around the world that enforce its global hegemony) to reinforce the US/NATO military occupation of Afghanistan – is not discussed.


  69. Update: I expect that Craig is already doing as Glenn_uk advised above; recovering his work from his memory. Craig e-mailed me yesterday. He had installed Recuva, as per Confused’s suggestion, recovered a file and sent it as an attachment. I tried various ways of opening it, none of which revealed the original document. I e-mailed my (lack of) progress reports to him with requests for further files to try out, but I got no reply to several e-mails, so I expect he is working feverishly to reconstruct his work.
    Recuva gave the file the .txt extension. It isn’t actually a text file. OpenOffice files are really .zip files, but if this is a .zip file, it may have been truncated. Upon renaming to “recovered.zip” and attempting to open it, Ubuntu’s Archiver gives me the following error message:
    End-of-central-directory signature not found. Either this file is not
    a zipfile, or it constitutes one disk of a multi-part archive. In the
    latter case the central directory and zipfile comment will be found on
    the last disk(s) of this archive.
    zipinfo: cannot find zipfile directory in one of /home/clark/Desktop/recovered.zip or
    /home/clark/Desktop/recovered.zip.zip, and cannot find /home/clark/Desktop/recovered.zip.ZIP, period.

  70. Hey Clark, how’s things?
    My suggestion is for Craig (or someone who can get to his house) to take a copy of his temp files, and to sift through them in case there’s something there. It would require a bit of patience, and of course may not pay off – depends as you say on whether Craig is intending to try writing it out from memory anyway.
    I much sympathise with this predicament anyway – it has happened to me also.

  71. Jon, good to hear from you. Craig is in India; I’d have offered to go to Kent immediately, and will do when he gets back if he so wishes.

  72. Craig: you’ve probably tried this but the first thing to do is check Open Office’s own backup folder. You can find it by opening OO and navigating to Tools/Options/Paths (in the left pane)/Backups.

    If you can’t find what you want make sure Windows Explorer is configured to show hidden files (this is quite easy to do but I don’t know my way round W7). Sometimes after a crash files get converted to hidden status and won’t show up unless you specifically tell Windows to do so.

  73. @Mary – ‘Look at these photos. They shock.’
    I’m not trying to be flippant, but those conditions don’t look any worse than a typical economy class on a 747. ( Although the soldiers probably get better food.)

  74. I was not referring to the comfort or the lack of it. I was referring to the vast numbers of them and the number of planes with the members of the military sitting laughing and joking as they go to a foreign country to perform yet more atrocities.

    Or perhaps you are being ironic.

  75. I’m surprised that Recuva gave an Open Office .odt file a .txt extension.

    When I ran a test to give the proper procedure, Recuva showed up my .odt files as .odt, but only after a deep scan.

  76. Mary – Fedup
    Dave Davis warned of this legislation on WebCameron years ago (2008) when he was shadow home secretary. I backed him with a public awareness campaign online. I suspect he fought a bitter battle over civil liberties with Hague and agent Cameron which he lost and then resigned.
    For my part I am on a mission to stop the methods of stealth and manipulation that I believe exists in the British establishment.
    A deeper ill is the increasingly tenuous hold upon the levers of our own democracy by an apathetic populace.

  77. No I wasn’t being ironic, apart from the gag about the food. The Guardian article you reference talked about comfort, and the Daily Mail article was all about how crammed in they are. I merely pointed out the obvious riposte that they are no more crammed in than economy class tourists. As for the numbers, sending troops by plane is small beer compared to the traditional method of sending them by ship – the Queen Mary in World War 2 carried more than 10,000 troops. The only shocking thing for me in this story is what they do when they arrive at their destination.

  78. Austria are introducing similar monitoring of all email / mobile and Internet communication under pressure from the EU, holding onto all data for 6 months. Germany refused in the end as it was deemed unconstitutional, for the moment.
    The US already has access to most money transactions and email. This is all for their benefit.
    Joe public does not have the money for laundering , nor is part of a terrorist organization and yet we’re being targeted just in case ?
    As we saw what they did by discrediting Assad and his wife through disclosure of email, they can turn that little stint of online shopping into a crime against humanity.
    We’ll all have to think twice before ordering that korma by telephone or internet just in case the delivery driver was on holiday in Pakistan or India. Mind you , water boarding after a hot curry is maybe okay ??
    Whilst the police and our security services manage 100% anonymity in court or after shooting unarmed civilians , our Govt is trying their damnest to bring back the Star Chamber for all the online criminals that they will be able to nail and prosecute behind closed doors with this new legislation.
    The noose is tightening and our creepy wee Liberals go along with it all. Craig what is wrong with your old party ?? Don’t they have anybody left with ideals ??

  79. Mark You are correct on all scores. The apathy of the sheeple is the most concerning of course. They carry on posting on Facebook and Twitter without a care in the world or thought.
    King of Welsh Noir Point taken. I did link to this too
    Duty Calls http://warlordsandmerchants.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/duty-calls/
    which is a fair piece by a good man but who is typical of the liberal critic. “To imagine The Guardian publishing such a sympathetic and humanising image of troops from other militaries that are guilty of similar human rights violations is entirely inconceivable.” Inconceivable. Is it with people like Rusbridger and Leigh there? They care little for the grunts in the plane and even less for the ‘sand niggers/towel heads’. These are all gentiles. The high command in the Guardian are interested in Zionist hegemony. They are a very lethal and tiny minority of humans. Finally, it is not Afghanistan that is the focus, but Iran.

    The author I believe is this person on Linked In. Interesting combination HSBC and the FCO!
    Business Intelligence – Middle East & North Africa HSBC
    Public Company; 10,001+ employees; HBC; Financial Services industry

    February 2010 – Present (2 years 3 months)

    Volunteer Teacher UNRWA, Damascus, Syria
    Nonprofit; 10,001+ employees; International Affairs industry

    September 2009 – December 2009 (4 months)

    Research Intern UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Damascus, Syria

    June 2009 – November 2009 (6 months)

    Advocacy Intern International Crisis Group
    Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; International Affairs industry

    August 2008 – February 2009 (7 months)

    Freelance Researcher Control Risks Group
    Privately Held; 1001-5000 employees; Security and Investigations industry

    2008 – 2009 (1 year)

    Research Assistant Menas Associates
    Privately Held; 11-50 employees; International Affairs industry

    2007 – 2007 (less than a year)

  80. nicholas wood

    2 Apr, 2012 - 2:02 pm

    Dear Craig, Shut your lap top up and get it seen to by an expert.

    Quickly write out all your notes again with a fountain pen, you will be amazed how much you can remember.

    Photocopy as many of the original documents as you can before you come home.

    Best of luck , Nicholas

  81. DonnyDarko,
    Assad is of course a succinct example and probably one of the reasons Cameron has recently got his balls squeezed over Syria and the failed foreign intervention that now seems to have been aborted even though some mercenaries are being retained on foreign payrolls.
    Syria was saved from a ‘Libya NATO massacre’ by public insight, an awareness and communication this government wants to avoid in the future. In other words ‘keep the fucking masses’ chocked off by statute.
    The struggle is only just beginning!

  82. Clark, I’ve run the recovered file through a Hex editor and file analyzer, to no avail: there are no identifier strings. It may just be a RAM dump. I’d be surprised if that was the only candidate that Recuva produced.
    I’ve recovered numerous lost essays and dissertations, working on a university helpdesk for many years. The success rate was very high, except if the files were encrypted or the data sectors had been reallocated.
    There are options to provide tech support via remote desktop connections. (I’ve used LogMeIn and SimpleHelp). Some are browser-based, and don’t require installation.

  83. Nextus, thanks for trying that. Yes, I wish Craig would send more files. I think the chances of recovering the lost work are quite good, but it’s frustrating having no more files to work on.

  84. I think there’s a good chance that some earlier autosaved versions of the missing file are sitting safe and sound in Craig’s OO backup folder but they’ve become hidden since the crash. Well worth activating the “show hidden files” option to see what crops up.

  85. The first ten minutes of the BBC 6 O’Clock News were devoted to the glories of our Victory Over The Argies. Dreadful stuff. John Simpson and Caroline Wyatt playing it for all it was worth.
    This is the website version http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17580449 which takes top billing. Thatcher’s children live.

  86. Had a look at it – the size at any rate is consistent with one block of a zip file, but couldn’t achieve any more with it than Clark. Might be an idea to look for more files the same size. More thoughts here: (may not correspond with the W7 filesystem, but the princples probably apply)

  87. “The apathy of the sheeple is the most concerning of course.”

    Only outdone by the arrogance of those who know what is good for us imho.

  88. Hopefully some good news out of Syria lets hope this will calm the situation, let`s see some more good news please.

    Lets get working and providing….


  89. I seem to have got up your nose Anon.
    The apathy IS concerning. It will be too late one day soon as people will discover. Their liberties are under attack as are the services they have taken for granted like the NHS.

  90. Mary – you don’t get a point across to people by comparing them to farm animals.

  91. Agree, Anon. “Sheeple” has passed its sell-by in any case. Much over-used, and usually by people from whom I would rather distance myself (pervasive smell of campfires and old dope)

  92. I like this site but i hardly visit anymore.
    Seems to be too many spooks and infiltrators now.
    Shame really.
    Craig,its imperative you stop using your laptop befoe you wipe more stuff.Get a tech to look at it pronto and you should be fine.

  93. “They carry on posting on Facebook and Twitter without a care in the world or thought.”
    I don’t use Facebook. But there is a lot of activism organised on Twitter, along with sharing of good alternative sources/links. Twitter is as good as the people you choose to follow, and the material you post yourself.

  94. No personal experience of either canmpfires or old dope Komodo.
    In Aarhus, Denmark and not much reported in the UK, there has been this gathering of racist and fascist groups including the EDL.
    First All-Europe Racist/Fascist Gathering Overshadowed in Denmark
    by Ron Ridenour / April 2nd, 2012
    Ruling authorities confront the continuing crisis of capitalism by: 1) aiding the very firms that bankrupt the general economy by transferring workers’ taxes to the capitalist class; 2) decreasing the welfare state, throwing huge numbers out of jobs and onto the streets; 3) increasing state repression against those who resist, and by allowing the growth of racist and fascist civilian groups.

  95. The BBC reported it Mary, it was headline news last Sat morning. Norwegian Breivig supporters were interviewed and the tone in which it was reported was earnest, sombre, not as if the report was of terrorists. A front against the spread of Muslimisation of Europe was the theme in Aarhus, a matter of fact report we do not get proffered if there is an election in France Poland or Germany, the coverage was refering to the EDL’s interlectual policies, if you can call it that, being used to galvanise a European rightwing front.

    Muslims were warned not to attend under threats, unless they wanted their organisations banned, they should stay at home.
    The police had to protect a smallish gathering of about 1oo plus fascists from Europe. The EDL thought that this meeting would attarct thousands, but they stayed home, despite the overwhelming policing that kept them safe.

    They will continue to cause mischief, who knows they might even dare to stadn in elections, the main parties love to split the votes.

  96. Thanks Nevermind so they did. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17570464 Played up the theme of anti-islam I note.

  97. The gangsters in charge are now rolling out Assad’s uncle, aka the Butcher of Hama, to aid the propaganda campaign against Assad. Note Bowen#s fence-sitting.
    In 2011 Rifaat Assad was said to be in his £multi million luxurious mansion in Mayfair. Now he seems to be in the equivalent in Paris.

  98. Mark Golding, the video is disturbing. Zionists are responsible for most of the trouble in the world. They work, as well as through organisations like AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee), Atlantic Bridge and Friends of Israel, at a lesser level among freemasons. Freemasonry is the mystical side of Judaism containing in its lore phrases like making ‘darkness visible’ and its ritual is a mockery of Christianity which, in the higher degrees, includes sexual acts in coffins, or so I am led to believe.
    One thing should be made clear, and isn’t always. There are many good Israelis who do not want war. Einstein was one such thinker. But the trouble is their Zionist masters do. I tried to blog on this back in January to make a distinction between the Zionist elite and ordinary Israelis.

  99. Conroy the photographer ex Libya and Syria and companion of the late Marie Colvin is named as a MI6 operative by Infowars Ireland. As if we didn’t guess that already!

    Bravely he joined the protestors recently in London where he was embraced by them.
    He has a website called Reflex TV. {http://reflextv.webeden.co.uk/}

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