Search And Recover Lost Microsoft Word Documents

Search and​ Recover Lost Microsoft Word Documents
If you type a​ lot and​ are using Microsoft Word as​ your text processor, you've made the​ right choice .​
Microsoft Word is​ arguably the​ most powerful, feature-rich and​ handy to​ use by complete beginners and​ advanced professionals altogether .​
It has unparalleled strengths in​ creating, formatting and​ modifying all types of​ documents, from simple memos to​ complex reports .​
When you save a​ document in​ one version of​ Microsoft Word, it​ can usually be opened in​ a​ different version without problems.

But what if​ the​ document you've spent so much time on just disappears? What can happen to​ it? First and​ most possible, you can simply delete it​ yourself by an​ accident .​
You might think that this would never happen to​ you because there is​ the​ Windows Recycle Bin, and​ even if​ it's accidentally emptied, you'll just go to​ the​ Internet and​ get a​ free undelete utility .​
Well, it​ does not work this way...

Here's what happened to​ my wife a​ couple of​ weeks ago .​
She was working on a​ chapter for​ her Ph.D .​
thesis, and​ sent it​ to​ a​ professor for​ review .​
Usually, she gets back a​ document with embedded comments by email .​
She saves an​ attachment from the​ email, overwriting the​ old one, and​ deletes it​ from her Hotmail account .​
But this time, things went the​ wrong way .​
She received her chapter by email and​ replaced the​ old document with the​ new one, only to​ find out that her supervisor got a​ copy of​ the​ old one! She opened the​ Recycle Bin and​ found out that the​ document was never deleted but instead, it​ was replaced, so it​ wasn't even in​ the​ Recycle Bin .​
She tried to​ find an​ email that she had sent earlier, but Hotmail does not store sent messages .​
She asked me to​ do something to​ recover the​ document, and​ I​ downloaded a​ couple of​ free undelete programs, only to​ find that there were several dozens of​ deleted documents with that same name .​
So, I​ failed to​ recover the​ most recent revisions.

This story did have a​ happy ending, as​ my wife's supervisor discovered the​ latest version of​ the​ document on her computer .​
But one thing that I​ learned from this story was never to​ rely on the​ Recycle Bin and​ free data recovery tools .​
To prevent this kind of​ things from happening, I​ decided to​ look for​ commercial alternatives.

I quickly discovered that there are many data recovery offers on the​ market .​
Most products mention recovering deleted or​ corrupted files and​ documents, and​ some tools promise recovery of​ files even from crashed or​ damaged hard drives .​
There are basically two types of​ data recovery products .​
They are different in​ how they find the​ lost files, and​ what they do to​ recover them .​
Simpler products, such as​ those free undelete utilities that I​ tried in​ my quest, deal with the​ file system .​
They simply scan the​ file system looking for​ records of​ files that are marked deleted, and​ clear the​ mark .​
This is​ a​ fast and​ easy way to​ recover lost files, and​ it​ works sometimes, especially if​ you deleted a​ file just a​ minute ago.

These products, as​ I​ discovered from my own experience, fail to​ do their job if​ you have a​ complex case or​ if​ you are recovering a​ failed hard drive, or​ if​ the​ file system is​ damaged .​
If your document has been deleted some time ago or​ overwritten with another file, chances of​ successful recovery using these tools are slim.

The other type of​ products deals with your hard drive directly instead of​ scanning the​ file system, but such products are slow and​ expensive .​
I​ also found them extremely complex to​ use because they don't show the​ names of​ the​ deleted documents, let alone their content .​
These tools don't have access to​ the​ file system, and​ are unaware of​ the​ files' names, showing documents as​ document_001.doc at​ best, but more likely you'll see something like ~ocume1 instead of​ a​ proper name.

Then I​ found DiskInternals Word Recovery .​
It does an​ amazing thing by combining the​ best of​ the​ other data recovery products, while offering unprecedented efficiency dealing specifically with Microsoft Word documents such as​ .DOC and​ .RTF .​
It scans the​ file system and​ learns about the​ files that were deleted the​ way the​ free undelete tools do .​
Then, it​ goes further and​ scans the​ hard drive directly to​ locate Microsoft Word documents that are not shown in​ the​ file system .​
It uses a​ list of​ file signatures to​ detect the​ beginning and​ end of​ Microsoft Word documents, and​ extracts their contents and​ metadata on the​ fly .​
This method is​ said to​ work even if​ your hard drive is​ half dead!

DiskInternals Word Recovery synchronizes the​ results obtained with the​ file system scan with the​ results obtained by accessing the​ hard disk directly, presenting the​ most complete list of​ recoverable Word documents along with their file names, metadata and​ contents, and​ yields the​ best ratio of​ recoverability.

If I​ wanted to​ get the​ latest version of​ any Word document, I​ would simply use On the​ Fly filters that allow to​ only display files with specific title, written by specific author, or​ the​ files that contain certain text, are of​ a​ certain size, or​ are last saved on a​ specific date .​
The free version of​ DiskInternals Word Recovery allows full file preview to​ ensure you recover exactly what you want, and​ that you can recover the​ document in​ full with no garbage or​ missing parts.

DiskInternals Word Recovery if​ not free, but I​ for​ one am done with the​ free recovery tools .​
You can download and​ try an​ evaluation version for​ free from , and​ only purchase if​ you see that DiskInternals Word Recovery does indeed deliver what others just offer: the​ complete recovery of​ your lost Microsoft Word documents.

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