Help me to recover a document in LibreOffice
December 28, 2016 12:04 PM   Subscribe

I overwrote a document and saved it by mistake. Now I need to recover what it was before. Is this possible? I'll spare you the expletives.
posted by crazylegs to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Mac or Windows? Time Machine or System Restore might be able to help.
posted by stopgap at 12:22 PM on December 28, 2016

Do you have cloud backup? I've used Crashplan to do this. You can restore old versions of files. You can even download your backup folder (the place where all those temporary backups are saved every few minutes in case your computer crashes) and loot through it for the document you want.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:29 PM on December 28, 2016

It's a PC, an ASUS laptop. I didn't delete the file, I overwrote it. In other words I replaced the data in it with different data, then closed it (I thought I was in a different file, 2017 rather than 2016. Incredibly stupid I know). I have a feeling I'm screwed. But if anyone can tell me differently please do so.
posted by crazylegs at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2016

If you have cloud backup, overwriting it wouldn't be an issue -- instead of restoring the most recent version of the file, restore a version from a previous date. yes, the most recent is probably the over-written one, but the previous date will be whatever you had saved in that file on the previous date.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:55 PM on December 28, 2016

System Restore might be able to help.
posted by stopgap at 2:43 PM on December 28, 2016

I found a similar question asked here, with two possibly relevant answers...

If "Always create backup copy" has been enabled
in "Tools → Options → Load/Save → General":

You'll find the previous version of the last saved version in the "backup" folder of your LibreOffice user profile (path see: "Tools → Options → LibreOffice → Paths → Backups").
Open the relevant "*.bak" with LibreOffice (File → Open) and save it as "*.odt" in a folder of your choice.

If'n backup copies isn't enabled (it's not in my install here), another answer there suggests...

If you run Windows 7 you might be lucky to get the old version. In windows Explorer navigate to the file, right click on it, select Properties, select Previous Version (a Tab in the window). Windows is searching for older versions of the file. If an older version(s) shows up, select it and press the Copy button which allows you to copy the older version in a folder of your choice.

I don't use windows, so I can't vouch for it, but it's worth checking. And finally, if those options aren't helpful, a deleted-file recovery utility appropriate for your operating system might recover it if you're very lucky and it hasn't been overwritten. Saving a file with the same name doesn't necessarily mean it replaced the previous data, more likely the new data was saved to free space elsewhere and then the old file was deleted. Usually "deleted" just means the space the file is occupying is marked as available, but the more you've written to the disk since then, the more likely the space previously occupied by the file is now occupied by something else. Also, if instead of an old fashioned hard drive you have an SSD (solid-state disk), free space is reclaimed more aggressively for technical reasons involving extending the drive's lifespan, so chances of recovering a deleted file are much lower. In any case, if your data is recoverable be prepared to slog through potentially a lot of other deleted data because often the file name isn't preserved so you have to look through everything the utility can recover, and if the file is big enough to span filesystem allocation units, parts of it might be scattered around the disk and you might have to piece it back together manually.

Good luck!
posted by MoTLD at 3:12 PM on December 28, 2016

Thanks for all the suggestions. Unfortunately none of them worked, but fortunately something else did, which I'm recording here for the use of anyone who might stumble across this in the future.

With little hope I searched through my recycle bin, where I found a file with the right name on it. I assumed that it had been changed in the same way as the one I was working on, but I clicked on it anyway. A box came up with a button in the bottom right that says "restore". Again with little hope I clicked the restore button and to my amazement it worked! All is well!
posted by crazylegs at 8:44 AM on December 29, 2016

« Older You aren't who you think you are...   |   Adding insulation to top-floor apartment? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.