Problem with a corrupted file
Thread poster: Johanna Timm, PhD

Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:50
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Feb 2, 2006

Dear all,

I just applied finishing touches to a longish Word file (70,000 wds) and had saved - but not yet closed - the file, when my computer informed me “WORD has encountered a problem and will now close”, which it promptly did.
When I try to reopen the file, I get the same message and the document simply closes. I had burnt the finished document to a CD as backup, but the same thing happens when I try to open this file. I’m using Windows XP, Word 2000.
Needless to say that I’m a bit unnerved and would appreciate any suggestions - preferably in very simple terms, I’m not a techie ;(
And yes, I’ve already had 2 cups of camomile tea.

Panicky in Vancouver
johanna


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Tadej Kokalj  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 05:50
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Locate normal.dot Feb 2, 2006

Maybe your file is not the problem, it could be normal.dot. Close Word, locate your normal.dot (on your system should be C:\Document and Settings\YourUserName\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates), delete it (or rename, or move) and re-run Word, open the file.

It is a long shot...

[Edited at 2006-02-02 05:54]


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 05:50
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
*.rtf does help sometimes Feb 2, 2006

Hi Johanna,

Apart from the normal.dot as said (my first thought as well) and presuming your file is saved as a *.doc, I have another shot in the blue save the file as *.rtf, provided you manage to keep it open long enough.

I can't assure that the problem is then solved, but it did work for me on a couple of occasions. Also, the option "Repair" from the MS Office / MSWord setup may help...

(BTW, have you checked whether your MS Office is up-to-date on the Office Update page or perhaps needs some fixes?)

Sorry, not a real help I am afraid..

Giuliana

[Edited at 2006-02-02 07:00]


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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:50
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for now Feb 2, 2006

In the meantime, I sent the file to a dear friend who saved it under a new name. Lo and behold, he was able to open and read the entire file , all 70,000 words of it without problems, which is a a good sign,I believe. He then sent the file back to me - but on my end, the same thing happens: Word closes.
Before I start fiddling with normal and not so normal dots I will try to get some sleep (it's 11 pm here) and try your suggestions tomorrow and/or have the entire system checked out by the pros in my computer shop.

Thanks so much for your ideas so far.
johanna


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Albert Golub  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:50
English to French
I had the same problem yesterday Feb 2, 2006

and renaming the normal.dot file worked (now called normal1.
The file is found following this path :
Windows/Application data/Microsoft/Templates
Good luck


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:50
Member (2002)
English to German
Workarounds Feb 2, 2006

Johanna Timm, PhD wrote:
...and/or have the entire system checked out by the pros in my computer shop.


Before you do that, be sure to try the simple remedies suggested above; among them
- renaming normal.dot
- saving the document in RTF format (or having it saved by a friend) -- however, RTF conversion itself tends to break some documents, so be sure to check it afterwards
- opening and re-saving it in OpenOffice (if you or your friend have it installed) -- this often helps with corrupt files, but just as often formatting is compromised, particularly with heavily formatted documents.
- reinstalling MS Office (or repairing the installation)

Much depends on what kind of document it is: are there many images, is there an automatic table of contents, an index table, many tables and text boxes in the text...

These are a few things that tend to cause problems both within Word and when saving to RTF or editing in OpenOffice.

Endre


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:50
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Have you the hypenhation turned on? Feb 2, 2006

In my case problems of similar kind were caused by the hypenhation, which was switched on. On my PC the file wouldn´t open and Word crashed every time I tried to access the file. Then I opened the file on the PC of my daughter, where no Polish proofing tools were installed. I got the error "unable to open the (Polish spellchecker)", what I exactly expected, but the file opened without any problem. I then turned the hyphenhtion off and voila, I could open the file on my PC too.

Might be similar - let your friend turn all automatic changes off in the file. This means not only hyphenhation, but also styles, which are marked to be automatically updated.
You can also contact me via my profile (or you find my e-mail in our MOD database) and send me the file, maybe I can find something out.

Regards
Jerzy


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:50
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Hyphenation Feb 2, 2006

Interesting. I don't have it installed, but on very rare occasions, for no apparent reason, Word (2000) tells me it cannot hyphenate the file and asks me if I want to install automatic hyphenation from the CD. I always say no, I would rather be responsible for my own hyphenation. Jerzy's comments confirm me in this view.

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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:50
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
tried various things... Feb 2, 2006

... but no good news
The hyphenation was not turned on.
The Repair function has not been able to repair anything.
And the renaming of the normal dot file resulted in the loss of all my umlaut macros
I did not want to try rtf conversion- the document is heavily formatted.
I think I will now need to ask my friendly neighborhood computer store guys to look into it. Will keep you posted...
johanna


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:50
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
That´s bad Feb 2, 2006

Johanna Timm, PhD wrote:

... but no good news
The hyphenation was not turned on.

Was at least worth to inform you about such a possibility.

The Repair function has not been able to repair anything.

What operating system has the friend, who opened the file? Have you all MS bells and whistles (Service Packs) installed?
Have you tried the MS Knowledge Base? Sometimes one is able to find a good solution there.

And the renaming of the normal dot file resulted in the loss of all my umlaut macros

You can easily restore the macros and autotextes from this dot to the new dot file, using the Organise function. You can get there after pressing ALT+F8 for macros and chosing "Organise".

I did not want to try rtf conversion- the document is heavily formatted.

And this might be the problem. Is your Word set up to always save a backup copy of your text? Or do you have "fast saving" activated? In the latter case this may heavily increase the file size, as the file is saved including the history of all changes you performed. In ther first case you could try to open a backup copy of the file (*.wbk) and hope it is not damaged.
You could also try the trick with OpenOffice - this really helps with some corrupted files.

Good luck
Jerzy


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Ute Wietfeld  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:50
English to German
+ ...
Proofing Tools? Feb 2, 2006

Hi Johanna, just another shot in the dark, but do you use MS proofing tools? They sometimes cause me the same problem, particularly if a file has been edited in different countries with different MS language settings. The only solution I have found is: Open the file, click CTRL + A very quickly, change the spellchecker back to the original language of your PC (in my case English UK) and tick "do not check spelling and grammar". That normally saves the document, but you can't, of course, then use proofing tools again. Often, however, you can then select the entire text, copy it into a new document and switch the language spellcheck back on, and it works.

In some cases, however, I've had to copy the document paragraph by paragraph into a new doc, spellcheck each paragraph separately -- until I get to the paragraph that has the glitch in it, and the new doc also collapses... often it seems to be just one line that causes the problem. I guess the latter is not an option for you given the length of the document, but you might at least be able to access your doc if proofing tools are causing the problem.

HTH. Good luck!


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
I would solve it like Alexander.. Feb 2, 2006

..and cut the file to pieces. 70,000 wds in a Word file means asking for trouble..

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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:50
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
update Feb 2, 2006

I have bought all my computers in a small locally owned and operated computer shop. Most of the sales reps who work there are students of computer science. Let me preface this by stating that I have complete and utter trust in their abilities and the highest respect for their knowledge. Occasionally though, you are plain unlucky and end up with a sales rep who, well… here’s what happened:

Me: Hi guys… I have this file that I think might be corrupted. Word closes as soon as I open the file. All other files are working just fine. Do you think you could have a look at it?
Sales rep. (busy sorting mail): Say that again. There’s a problem with a file…?
Me: Yup, it’s a long file with lots of formatting and I really need it fixed.
Sales rep.: You need it fixed, eh? What’s wrong with it?
Me, exasperated: I can’t open it. I get an error message and that’s it.
Sales rep.: Error? I wonder why it would do that.
Me: ??? Sigh
Sales rep.: busy looking up something on his own screen. Sorting mail again.
Me: Excuse me, could you please, please just have a look at it. I already tried several things…
Sales rep.: You tried several things? And it still does not work?
Me: No.
Sales rep.. Well… I’m really not an expert in office software…
Me: Is there anyone else around who might be?
Sales rep.: Let me see.. vanishes for 10 minutes, talks on the phone, tests several switches to determine which one is his desk light…
Another sales rep. appears: Have you been helped?
Me (overjoyed):Well, your colleague sort of tried…( repeat my story)
New sales rep: Oh dear. What do you want me to do?
Me: It would be great if you could fix the file, that would be just awesome.
Sales rep. 2: Simon, did you help this lady?
Sales rep 1: Yes. She has a problem with a file.
Me: explaining the entire scenario again, with waning enthusiasm and an air of despair.
Sales rep 1: Should we have a look at the file, then?
Me: Yes!!!
Sales re 2: Well, we have to hook up your system for that. Did you bring it?
Me: Of course. It’s right here.
Sales rep. 1: Ooh, that’s your desktop? Did you buy it here?
Me: Yes, I bought it here. Four weeks ago.
Sales rep 1: Four weeks ago, eh? And you’re having a problem with a file, you say?
Me: silent.
Sales rep 2: How about we open it and have a look.
Me, eagerly: The file name is CFP german.
Sales rep 1: That’s the name? CFP german. That’s weird..
Me: Silent.
Sales rep 2: Why is it called ‘german’?
Me: It’s a translation into German. That’s how I usually name my files, I overwrite the English file and name the new file XXX german.
Sales rep 2: XXX? Why XXX?
Me: Just as an example, I mean.
Sales rep. It’s just an example, she says.
Me: ???
Sales rep 1: Well, I found the file. Oh, and here’s the error message. That’s weird.
(tries this 3 times). Hmm. No idea what could be causing this. Has it always done that?
Me: Always? How do you mean, always? It’s just this one file that is probably corrupted.
Sales rep 1: Just this file, you mean?
Me: Yes!!!
Sales rep 2: And it’s been doing it all the time? Closing down?
Me : Yes….
Sales rep 2: Well, that is very unusual. We will keep the system here for now and will call you later.
Me: Thanks!!!Ok, I’ll be waiting by the phone.

….to be continued


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Better forget about Alexander.. Feb 2, 2006

..when you will return to the shop..

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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:50
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The end Feb 3, 2006

After phoning two times yesterday, being put on hold, phoning again, I was informed at 5 pm that they were still working at it and that they would like to keep my computer for another 12 hours for observation.
It was also confirmed that for file recovery, the charge is 65.00 per hour (up to a max. of 3 hours) and that they are unable to guarantee a successful recovery.

So I spent my day cooking chocolate pudding, writing depressing poetry and watching a murder mystery on TV. One of my kids offered a head massage, which I gratefully accepted.

Today at 9.30 the phone rang. To my dismay, my comatose friend from yesterday seemed to have another shift today
Your computer is ready for pick up. Unfortunately we were unable to fix that file.
Me: Noooo don’t say that please….
Sales rep.: Well, we were able to open the file on our systems, though, no problem there.
Me, ecstatic: Wow, this means you have the file in your computer, editable and all?
Sales rep, unmoved: Yeah.
Me, still not believing my luck: That means you could copy the file on a disk from your system ….?
Sales rep: Yeah, I guess so…
Me: I’ll be right over!!!

And when I finally got to the shop, pulled out my Visa to pay for 24 hours observation, virus checks and a multitude of recovery procedures, this dense, comatose, and highly apathetic sales rep simply said:

‘Oh no, that’s on the house, don’t worry about it. I’ve already made a CD for you to take home. Enjoy your day, miss.’

I had to refrain myself from kissing him, right there in the store

I still don't know what happened to that particular file and why, but maybe all this was not so much about the file anyway..

I’d like to thank you for all your kind offers, here and in private emails, complete with jokes that cheered me up! Virtual hugs to all.
j.

.... postscript....
Knowing that the file in question was now safe and accessible on a CD and after reading all your suggestions once again, AND after working up my courage with the help of 2 double espressos, I finally decided to try Endres suggestion, just for the heck of it: i.e. to uninstall and reinstall MS Office and IT WORKED!!! The file opened without any problems!!!
thanks











[Edited at 2006-02-03 20:37]

[Edited at 2006-02-03 21:59]


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