So, I had to buy a software to recover files. All came up properly except the notepad document in which I keep keys from trade. This one looks like it’s in a foreign language. Chinese or Japanese or something.
Welp my Mandarin is crap but luckily I showed it to someone far more capable than I am. Sadly even they said they aren’t sure. I also noticed that weird Chinese characters in some corrupted or unsupported files sometimes too, maybe its for bigger tech nerds because I’m not really like one.
Been at this for hours and hours - first to try to get the files to show in the scans, then trying to do the recovery, then scanning again when the stupid software crashes after I put in the registration info.
Exhausted. Going to try to sleep. I feel physically sick down to my toes. Any ideas welcome.
PS: I saw some sites that said to try to use Microsoft Word in some way - I don’t own Microsoft Office at all. Thanks for helping so far.
Assuming the file was recovered in its entirety, it could be a simple encoding issue. You could try downloading Notepad++, opening the file there and checking if changing the encoding does anything. You probably want to use the “Convert to…” (https://i.stack.imgur.com/c3qXl.png). I guess trying the other options first wouldn’t hurt though. Making a backup of the original file and working on that instead of the original file is a good idea.
I guess someone tech savvy could also look at the actual binary data and perhaps glean some patterns from there to aid in data recovery/sanity checking the file.
I would guess it would be quite hard for recovery software to detect a plain text file with little to no metadata, unless there is still some record on the filesystem pointing to where the text file previously was. It could also be that the file you managed to recover has more or less data than the original file and the software was just unable to determine what is a part of the file and what is not, since on the harddisk it’s all ones and zeros. That would mean that even with the correct encoding you would only see garbage like in your original post, since you would practically be applying the encoding on random data.
Edit. If I remember correctly, notepad displays the encoding used in the bottom bar. If you create a new plain file, what is the encoding there? What about for the file you recovered?
First off, this post is written with the assumption we’re having a worst case scenario. I still hope that the files are merely misplaced as that makes the most sense, but…
Well bad news, I have personally great trust in Recuva and would say, barring user error, if it did not find anything to recover that you recognize as your lost files then they are indeed lost.
Worse news however, if the files indeed has been deleted without your knowledge we need to consider how and why and unless you think someone with physical access to your laptop might have done something by accident we’re pretty much left with 2 options.
A) Hardware failure, your drive is starting to fail at such a fundamental level we’re seeing disc surface damage and you’ll never get any of those files back. Further more you could probably expect the entire drive to fail any moment here.
B) Malice. Hackers, malware, ransomware or any other sort of terrible thing has occurred and your system is compromised. The files have not only been deleted but maybe also stolen and quite honestly I do not know how you would deal with that, but I’d start by keeping the laptop offline.
Secondly maybe https://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ UBCD could be useful to you. If possible get a friend to install that on a thumbdrive for you, or CD if you want to go old school. It is a bootable wealth of diagnostic tools but primarily it has a few anti-virus programs you can run without having to load up your compromised system. It also has a linux distro bootable right off the CD/thumbdrive that’ll let you backup any data you want off your system before a full system wipe and reinstall.
I did the deletion to get rid of icons and shortcuts on my desktop. Somehow in between pressing Ctrl and clicking, I ended up tripling all the icons - in any case, suddenly there were a ton of them. So likely when I was trying to get rid of the extras, I deleted the folder with my info as well.
I have a thumb drive still. I could check out that stuff.
It’s really disheartening to me - every other file, including the list of itch.io game links, recovered flawlessly. The Itch.io games are saved as text and url links, so that’s clearly not an issue. Just my personal notepad got messed up - and so badly. Karma maybe. shrug
I know it might be annoying, but my brain defaults to worse case scenarios, especially since I was starting to come out of a dark and sad place, in the recent weeks. Defenses are down and losing things is upsetting to me - myriad reasons.
Ok that’s a relief at least, we can elevate ourselves out of the absolute worst case scenarios.
I’m not sure what it is you read about ms office but I’m guessing it’s about how word keeps backups on your work and oftentimes if your main file gets corrupted in some way there may be an old version you can restore. This of course wont help you if you were not working with Word in the first place.
Are you sure you were actually keeping the files sitting in folders on your desktop rather than having shortcuts pointing to the real location?
Yes. That’s why I knew right away when something was wrong. Due to memory holes, I had a folder called Notepad Jottings on my desktop. I dropped most recent things in there. For some reason, I had thought it was a shortcut, not the actual folder - mind tricks, so yes, while trying to get rid of the shortcuts that land everytime you install something, I highlighted that folder too, without realising it, and pressed Shift+Delete.
That restores settings, NOT files according to my research and that’s the first thing I thought to try, but no dice. It’s not designed for that.
I don’t know if previous versions of “Desktop” would work. I’ve seen that for the actual file itself, provided you still have the file, in the same location, and perhaps it didn’t save properly, or you deleted something within the doc by accident. Then you could do the right click for “See previous versions”.
Trial netted: There are no previous versions available.
Yes, it restores files in the designated areas(that windows loves) but you had it in a different place.So MAYBE it will restore it.Just for “shits and giggles” try it because I am not having any luck here so far…