Recovering old-ish files from a current hard drive
November 17, 2016 7:17 AM   Subscribe

I have some files in common formats - .doc, .pdf, .xls, etc. - on my hard drive. They were created around 2010. I can no longer open them, but I'd like to. Over time, the files have been migrated between both Mac and PC laptops (at work, hence the mix), and at least one of these (the PC) crashed and had to be recovered.

I've tried things such as 'Recover Text From Any File' in Word. I get multiple pages full of random symbols. I've also tried several free online text recovery services, but nothing. Any suggestions will, as always, be gratefully received! Thank you.
posted by carter to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
btw, I currently have a MacBook Pro, with El Capitan 10.11.6.
posted by carter at 7:18 AM on November 17, 2016

A year or so ago, I bought Scrivener, which is software for managing writing projects; novelists love it. A side benefit I didn't expect was that it was able to open almost anything, including files more than a decade old that I thought would never be readable again.
posted by Orlop at 7:46 AM on November 17, 2016

Just a couple thoughts:
#1 - have you tried opening the doc and xls files in Libre Office? I just successfully opened a 1998 .doc file and a 2005 .xls file in Libre Writer and Calc respectively. It might be worth it just as an experiment (?).
#2 - there are an amazing number of command line utilities in Linux for doing things to pdf files. For instance see this link which explains how to extract the text from a PDF.
posted by forthright at 7:47 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I always had great luck with Dataviz products and their Conversions Plus software. I haven't used it in a couple of years, but it could convert any format to any format.
posted by Melismata at 8:12 AM on November 17, 2016

forthright: I tried Libre Office, unfortunately it produces the same random symbols. Looking into updating my Scrivener licence ...
posted by carter at 8:19 AM on November 17, 2016

Orlop: Actually Scrivener produces garbage as well :( But thanks for the suggestions.
posted by carter at 8:24 AM on November 17, 2016

So I think this is a case of corrupted files. And I need to try and get around that, for instance by somehow getting the files repaired ...
posted by carter at 8:27 AM on November 17, 2016

You could try running DiskWarrior on the drive.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:24 AM on November 17, 2016

« Older I sticks m legy out real far   |   Book Recommendation Filter: Vacation, Sci-Fi... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.