Sunday, January 5, 2014

Office for Mac Asterisk Bug Fix That Works

Spent over 7 hours editing a paper already past due for publication to have every character turn to asterisks on Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 this weekend. Spent hours searching google for a fix and seems the world consensus is that whats lost is lost. More on that here-

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/mac/forum/macoffice2011-macword/corrupted-document-all-of-my-work-turned-to/158a21b8-6e87-4de4-9659-105e0d5563c4?msgId=8aa4a864-63aa-45d1-b936-d2ea8e262649

and here-

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/mac/forum/macoffice2011-macword/word-converted-my-text-to-asterisk/59799bcd-d076-483c-85c1-d12908208e69?msgId=fa1e392b-906a-4622-b221-7770c30914bf

and here-

http://word.mvps.org/mac/asterisksbug.html

But where there's a will, there's a way. Here's how you get your file back:

1) Word autosaves the file every 10 minutes (I actually have my autosave set on 2min). This file gets deleted as soon as you hit save (or Save As... in my case)
- the first thing I did when the asterisk bug hit is save my file as another document (original name f'ed up.doc). Big mistake as the auto recovery file was instantly deleted.

2) Download a file recovery software. I used Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery. Pay the $99 for activation, you know what your file is worth to you.

3)  Click Recover Deleted Files. Go get 8 solid hours of sleep. You deserve it and it will take close to that long for recovery software to run.

4) In the file types- open documents, then open word files. There will be a list of countless word files, all without names (The naming scheme used in the operating system is part of the file system architecture, which becomes severed when the files are deleted. hundreds or thousands of files with names that are gone forever.)  You'd think organizing by modified date would help, but alas all the dates are gone as well. Just left with hundreds of word files.

5) Insert flash drive and recover all Word files to the flash drive (for some reason recovery software can't recover to same drive)

6) Now you have a folder on USB drive that has hundreds of files. Among them is the auto recovery file of your document.

7) How to find it? Several ways.
     A) Wait for spotlight to index the files (they'll have to be copied back to the hard drive). you can speed this long by going to Settings- Spotlight- Privacy- and add the folder you transferred to the hard drive to list of folders for spotlight to skip. Close out of settings. Go back in and remove the folder from the files to not index list.  Search.

    B) Find a file of approximately the right size (Compare to whatever version you have saved thats closest.) Arrange files by size. Keep opening files till you find it. (Tip: Use number of words to know if the autosave file is the most recent one available- more words usually means more recent)

8) Don't forget to update your Word (Help- Check for Updates) to the latest version with the bug fixed (it actually happened to me twice, shame on me.) You'll have to update twice to get to the latest version.

9) If I saved you a ton of work, help me pay off my student loan. PayPal accepted.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Took a long time but it worked!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I just really want to thank you for posting this solution. I thought I had lost my master's thesis today when that stupid asterisk bug wiped out my document. I scoured the internet looking for a solution and yours was the only one that worked. The program you suggested was able to recover my whole document (at least I think it's the whole document, after the near-mental breakdown I went through today I can't even remember where I was at when it happened) in about one hour. If anyone here is reluctant to try this program because of the price, just know that you can download it off piratebay for free (although if you can afford to pay $100 then do so to support the developers). It's also worth mentioning again that the recovery did not take me 8 hours like your post says, but less than 1. Thanks again!

Dmitriy Golovyan said...

Glad to hear!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dmitriy,

I've tried everything but it hasn't worked for me yet. Any chance you could help me please?

I have added you on FB - happy to pay btw if it ends up working.

Thanks.

Philipp

Dmitriy Golovyan said...

Send me a Facebook message, I don't think I accepted that request

Anonymous said...

It must be in your 'other' folder.

Thanks!

Brjazgunova Kristina said...

Hi! I tried your solution. but for some reason it did not work. Whenver I am trying to open a file on my flash drive it says that that either file type is blocked from being opened on my version or that document name or path is invalid. What do I do?

Dmitriy Golovyan said...

Not sure, haven't encountered that. I would try
1) trying to copy file to your drive from the usb before opening
2) try to open the file from word instead if double clicking from the file
3) maybe didn't recover properly- trying again, this time recover to a different usb
4) upload to google docs- see if google has an easier time opening it
6) good luck