Text mangled in Final Draft - is that the Final Answer
April 23, 2014 2:31 PM   Subscribe

A non-geeky friend just called me asking if I had any knowledge of Final Draft - to which the answer is "minimally" - and asked for help, which I was unable to provide, in recovering or repairing a file. I am now wondering if there is something I didn't think of...

Long story short, and assembled as best I can from the second-hand account, they were using Final Draft when suddenly, and apparently without warning, it deleted a sizeable chunk of text and garbled other parts into incomprehensibility. They attempted to undo with CMD-Z, but apparently to no avail, and then saved the draft under a new name to try to reconstruct it.

I did a little searching and found that Microsoft Word could still be used to recover the text of corrupted files (but this file could still be opened - it was just spindled), and also that it kept backups, which were stored in the Application Support folder.

However, unfortunately, these backups dated only to the moment that everything went kablooey (possibly because the friend then saved the file under a few different names, to try to recover and recontruct the content).

I then had them check Documents (because I am old enough to remember FD on OS 9, and you never know...), and enable viewing of hidden files, again on the off chance, to check the Application Support/Final Draft/Backups folder. Again, no luck.

("Does anyone have a good, simple Mac-to-Mac remote client" may be my next week's question...)

So, I guess my first question is how might a thing like this happen? Olde Worlde FD had some corruption issues, but that usually made files unreadable (I did recover the file in Word, again for old times' sake, but not to any great effect). Sadly, the report of the one witness is light on technical detail. And also, is/was there anything else to be tried to recover the content or layout of the document?

Mass-produced snowflake details - Mac OS 10.8, MacBook Pro from about 2011, Final Draft 8... details otherwise a bit thin on the ground...
posted by running order squabble fest to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
(Gah! Missing question mark in the title. Penultimate draft clearly also required...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:32 PM on April 23, 2014

Were they running time machine backups? If so they will be able to grab an older copy of the draft file from that. Time machine by default records changes to files every hour.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:44 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am FedExing them an external hard drive now. So, sadly, no.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:09 PM on April 23, 2014

Have you tried running the shell command tool "strings" against the file? It won't recover layout but it will extract text that it finds from files.
posted by Candleman at 4:04 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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