I have lost 4 hours of painstaking work. My computer crashed. When I reopened the file there were so many other things going on that I think I inadvertently discarded a recovered version of the file. I do not know for sure. Is there anyway I can repeat the recovery process?
Well, if you discarded the restore-version, that means that openoffice cleared the temporary file in those pathes DataPimp told you. If OpenOffice crashes and gets back up, it looks out this places for in-work-documents and aks you for restore - copy back the edited information into ram and/or into the original file.
Your only true chance will be to use some kind of file-restore/undelete, thats recovers files from fat and ntfs filesystems. Everything you do on the system that uses hard disk space could overwrite the freed space where your to-recover-file lies in. So better search a tool that does not need to be installed and runs right of from USB-stick, download on another computer since download uses temporary space on filesystem... but you know...
Hope this helps you a little bit and you get your work restored.
Hint: OpenOffice has a mechanism to autosave a document every 5 minutes or like. Just start editing a larger file with saving the empty file to the targed destination, than a crash will cost you not more than 5 minutes of your work.
Well since you mentioned your computer crashed, Im going to assume you are using windows. check for a backup folder located in: XP: C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\OpenOffice.org\3\user\ Vista or Win7: C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\OpenOffice.org\3\user
If that doesnt work you can always try a program called Recuva which helps restore deleted files.