My girlfriend requested me to recover a word file which is her 2 months of work :(, and this is her thesis for graduation.

It shows the "Select the encoding that makes your document readable" screen when I tried to open it, I tried 2 recovery tools but didn't work.


*****The history of the issue***** she said she was copy pasting from other files while creating this file(she copy pasted from a pdf too). 2 days ago she opened the file in company pc and worked on it. Wrote 2 pages and saved. Next morning she could not open it. it is possible that an error occured when saving. the computer she worked freezes sometimes , when she was working there was a file in usb she plug out and in it and continue to work. then saved.

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    What exactly happened to the file to begin with? It's was recovered by word, or something else happened? Also, in which language was to thesis written?
    – Gnoupi
    Aug 29, 2012 at 13:26
  • At least in OpenOffice it wants Character set, default font, language, paragraph break. Can you share a working document of hers that she created with the same program, it would allow us to know the value for some of those settings.
    – Dan R
    Aug 29, 2012 at 14:20
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    I know this is of no help to this question but for future reference: Word has a terrible history of corrupting documents. I always keep copies - set Word to always make a backup copy. Even that doesn't always help. With critical docs, I use a macro that replaces the default Save option with one that makes a backup of the previous version BEFORE saving. Oct 15, 2012 at 11:48
  • I'd like to add to @JulianKnight 's advice and suggest that using dropbox.com will allow you to revert changes to a file over a short period of time. Additionally, this solves several other possible causes of corruption in files, including errors and interuption while copying. sparkleshare.org + (github.com | gititorious.org) would also allow you to progressively version the file.
    – Ben West
    Oct 18, 2012 at 2:41
  • @BenWest: I've tried using a DVCS system such as GIT with Word. It does work but you still have to commit the file on each change. This really doesn't work with Word as you - even with Word 2010 - still need to save often and files get corrupted seemingly randomly (though its worse with big, complex files and/or using MS folder sync such as Briefcase). The only reliable method I've found is to use a macro to replace the SAVE command as outlined. Oct 18, 2012 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


That file is (as far as I can see) more or less random garbage and doesn't resemble any file format I could recognise. I also ran it through a file(1)-like program which couldn't identify anything. So you're out of luck it seems.

You could try asking Windows for a shadow copy (Previous Versions it's called) of that file, though.

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