I just lost a month's worth of journal entries in a locally saved plaintext file. Is there any way to get them back?
Went out last night, and left my computer on as usual, with Firefox, Gaim, and a TED Notepad
window open with a file containing what I'd written in my journal for October. This morning, I find Firefox has gone black and frozen (the Reminder extension has been acting funny lately), and Gaim's System Tray icon is looking weird. I close Firefox, and everything else seems to be fine. So I write a little more in the TED Notepad file about last night and press Ctrl-S to save it. I get an error dialog that says "Cannot save to 200510.txt!" which is, obviously, unexpected and unusual. So I try it again, and get the same error.
Not wanting to lose what I just wrote, I opened another Notepad window, copied and pasted the new entry, and saved that without any problem. Then I tried closing the original window, got the usual Save/Don't Save/Cancel dialog, and picked Save again. Same error as before. So I tried closing the window and not saving, which worked. But then when I went into Recent Documents to re-open that file, I got an empty file! The details for the file now say it contains "0 bytes". The file with the new entry is fine. I have an idea of what may have happened, but that idea doesn't make me feel optimistic about the prospects for recovering this data. Is the data still in my D: drive somewhere? Is there any way to get it back? Even just being able to read it would be constructive; if all else fails, I could write it all down on paper and then retype it. I just don't want to lose a month of personal reflection because of this.
This computer runs Windows ME. The data in question, along with most of my data, is on a physically separate internal hard drive from the system disk (both FAT32, IIRC), so I'm pretty sure web browsing won't overwrite the data formerly known as 200510.txt. Unfortunately, I don't think an undelete utility would work, because the problem isn't that the filesystem has marked the file as deleted -- it's that it has marked the file as empty. Any ideas would be most appreciated.
On preview: I have no money to spend on software. Seriously, it's going to be hard paying utilities next month. So please keep that in mind. Oh, and I do have another computer with Knoppix installed, if there's a solution that involves Linux; but I don't know jack about Linux, so that solution would have to be laid out in painstaking newbie detail. Thanks.