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I have a very important Word 2010 file that has been deleted. I believe the kids may have deleted it as it's not available on the desktop where I had saved it as well as in the recycle bin. I have run data recovery software that sees the file and can recover it only to be junk (it's not available in the first found partition). What is the best way to salvage this file?

What I have tried:

  • Did a search to see if the file had been accidentally moved.
  • Used a few data recovery software one of which found the files I required but they are now just a bunch of crazy symbols and asks for conversion. Any of the options doesn't work.
  • Googled for multiple solutions on damaged and corrupted word documents but no software was able to fix or even acknowledge that it's a fixable word file. copied and renamed to .zip– this just asked for the first of multiple parts zip file.

Its only been a few days and there are plenty of disk space so I don't think it would have been re-written so quickly.

Can someone suggest how I can salvage the file – if I can?

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STOP! Have you been doing all of these things to the drive itself, or to a cloned copy of the drive? If the former, it may already be too late. If the latter, good. As you have had no luck with data recovery software, it may be time to use a professional data recovery service. This will only be worthwhile if the document is worth at least several hundred dollars to you, however.

There are other options. You could do a scan of the drive itself in Linux, for example, but it is very likely that any decent data recovery software has already done this.

You may also wish to consider regular backups from now on.

  • Well, if the file was on the desktop, which usually resides on the OS partition, he’s already SOL. – Daniel B Aug 15 '15 at 10:50
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  1. Upload your .docx document to Google Drive.
  2. Right-click on the .docx document and select Open with -> Google Docs. Google Docs will convert the .docx file to its own document format for editing in Google Docs.
  3. From the open document in Google Docs select File -> Download as -> Microsoft Word (.docx). Google Docs will convert the document back to .docx format.
  4. Open the .docx document that you downloaded from Google Docs in a Microsoft Word or any other word processor that supports the .docx format.

Google Docs does a good job of converting documents to .docx format. The two document conversions in Google Docs may remove whatever there is in your original .docx document that was causing the problem.


Alternate method

  1. Make a copy of the .docx document that you want to recover and rename the copied document's extension to .zip.

  2. docx documents are zipped XML files. Extract the document.xml file in the word folder and the images from the media folder which is a subfolder of the word folder.

  3. Open the document.xml file in a text editor and recover as much of the text as you can. The document.xml file may also contain some of the original document's formatting information, which can also be recovered. If the document.xml contains any formatting information, the best way to view it is by opening document.xml in a web browser.

  4. Sometimes you can also recover a .docx document by creating a blank .docx document, renaming its extension to .zip, and replacing the document.xml file of the blank .docx document with the document.xml file which was extracted from the document that you want to recover.

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Even if you never made a backup of the system to another drive or media, which you should do to be able to recover from events like this, it is possible that Microsoft Windows made one for you on the drive on which the file was stored through a restore point. Right-click on the recovered file and choose Properties. Look for a Previous Versions tab. If there isn't one, right-click on the folder that used to contain your file then select Properties, and check to see if you can restore a previous version of the folder to a time when the file was there. Copy any files created or modified after that time to another location before reverting to the previous version of the folder.

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