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Corrupt Word file corrupts whole system

23793 Views 190 Replies Latest reply: Oct 15, 2013 12:41 PM by Allan Eckert RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • mszargar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 21, 2012 11:31 AM (in response to etresoft)

    Yes I have cross-posted this issue in all the relevant running threads in several forums, and I hope everybody does that, because I don't see any other way of warning the others and letting the companies know about the prevalence of the issue.

     

    Sincerely, I do not understand your implication with and your interest in this case. If you have not experienced this same issue and you do not represent Microsoft, please stop making pointless level-1 support contributions. We all know how to keep our filesystem clean, how to maintain our hard disk and how to configure a backup program. I do check my harddisk regularly, like any other experienced user, and I have two bakcup solutions constantly enabled because I can not afford data loss.

     

    This is not a general write issue. The issue arises ONLY with Microsoft word, although I regularly and heavily use Excel, Powerpoint, Aperture, Lightroom, Scrivener, Papers, etc... Some of these are Microsoft software, and some of them make hundreds of automatic write operations per minute. With some of them I have experienced other issues (Scrivener used to have a conflict with DropBox), but I have never run into this specific write issue with any other piece of software.

     

    I don't understand by any means in what way it can be legitimate for a software to tell me it is saving my data for seven consecutive hours while it has problems doing so (the log file of the versioning system monitoring my directory does not show any activity on the specific docx file I was editing during those 7 hours), and while it is corrupting my fs in the background. The minimum is to receive a write error alert, I hope you agree with that.

     

    Plus, if you read my previous post carefully, I referred to the posts of a Microsoft forum moderator. If he is mentioning on a public forum that Redmond is actually looking into this issue, why are you so sceptical about it?

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,360 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 21, 2012 11:41 AM (in response to mszargar)

    mszargar wrote:

     

    I am happy you are not affected by this issue, but this does not mean the software is bug-free. Hope this never happens to you, it is really unnerving. This said, I do not want to be alarmist here. This is a condition that arises extremely rarely. Still, the developers have, at least, an ethical responsibility to solve the issue.

     

    I am not saying that, what i am saying is that pretending it is 'widespread' obscures the real causes, which in many cases will differ from user to user. Other than that I agree with your last 3 sentences.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,900 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 21, 2012 12:00 PM (in response to mszargar)

    mszargar wrote:

     

    Yes I have cross-posted this issue in all the relevant running threads in several forums, and I hope everybody does that, because I don't see any other way of warning the others and letting the companies know about the prevalence of the issue.

     

    There is nothing wrong with posting the same question in other forums. You just can't use those posts as evidence of a widespread issue. You are talking about software used by literally millions of people, 5 of whom are reporting disk corruption. There is simply a far greater likelihood of 5 people out of millions having a dead hard drive than some software doing something it shouldn't be capable of, on only 5 machines out of 5 million.

     

    Sincerely, I do not understand your implication with and your interest in this case.

     

    At this point, it is purely morbid interest I assure you.

     

    If you have not experienced this same issue and you do not represent Microsoft, please stop making pointless level-1 support contributions. We all know how to keep our filesystem clean, how to maintain our hard disk and how to configure a backup program. I do check my harddisk regularly, like any other experienced user, and I have two bakcup solutions constantly enabled because I can not afford data loss.

     

    I am not talking about checking file system integrity. That is different. If your hard drive is physically failing, it could pass any check with flying colors. One of the indicators of a failing hard drive is hard disk corruption in circumstances where it should be impossible.

     

    I don't understand by any means in what way it can be legitimate for a software to tell me it is saving my data for seven consecutive hours while it has problems doing so (the log file of the versioning system monitoring my directory does not show any activity on the specific docx file I was editing during those 7 hours), and while it is corrupting my fs in the background. The minimum is to receive a write error alert, I hope you agree with that.

     

    What "versioning system monitoring your directory"? Could you elaborate on what that might be?

     

    It is unlikely that you would experience any write errors. Modern Office file are complex packages - glorified ZIP files. When you save, it doesn't "write" the file in the traditional way you might expect. It creates an entirely new file in a temporary location and swaps that new file with your old one.

     

    Plus, if you read my previous post carefully, I referred to the posts of a Microsoft forum moderator. If he is mentioning on a public forum that Redmond is actually looking into this issue, why are you so sceptical about it?

     

    I found and referred to a post by a "moderator". Was that the same one you are talking about? If you have evidence of any actual issue, don't imply or suggest its existence. Post a link.

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,360 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 21, 2012 12:08 PM (in response to epollari)

    epollari wrote:

     

    Csound1, thanks for relating your experiences with Word on ML in a respectful manner (unlike etresoft, I hasten to add), but I think we can safely conclude that the bug only becomes apparent when editing hefty Word files. To give you an idea, I'm now at 306 pages, with close to 200 embedded pictures, and a saved file size of 60 MB.

     

    I get by by keeping Word autosave disabled and saving the document manually with a new name every time (Word won't let me use the existing name, but fortunately that won't ruin the file system).

    Word's autosave has always been erratic, I stopped using it ages ago. And my largest doc is 45mb & 67 pages (graphics) but as I said I cant replicate this issue.

  • Kidstolondon Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 21, 2012 12:16 PM (in response to epollari)

    Epollarri—

     

    Your experience with file size, and embedded images, is similar to mine — although I hit the problems at about 30MB, 100 pages, and 70 or so images. 

     

    Stopping autosave did not help me, nor did manual saves (they became corrupted too). I have since turned off Time Machine and will pray/hope/keep-fingers-crossed when I start my next large Word project.

  • petermac87 Level 5 Level 5 (4,065 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 21, 2012 2:29 PM (in response to mszargar)

    mszargar wrote:

     

    We all know how to keep our filesystem clean, how to maintain our hard disk and how to configure a backup program.

    In which case there would be no need for these Forums, but a lot of people in your 'WE' group apparently are not as clever as you, and need some help with their issues.

     

    Cheers

     

    Pete

  • mszargar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 22, 2012 8:34 AM (in response to epollari)

    You are right, I tried to rectify it, but the forum software does not let me to do so...

  • mszargar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 22, 2012 9:33 AM (in response to etresoft)

    Sorry for the bad humor of the other time, and thank you for bearing with me. When such a thing happens to you once, you try to convince yourself of having a bad chance. When it happens to you twice, you want to hold the world responsible for it...

     

    As for

     

    There is simply a far greater likelihood of 5 people out of millions having a dead hard drive than some software doing something it shouldn't be capable of, on only 5 machines out of 5 million.

     

    I really think it is more to that than simple hard disk failures...

     

    One of the indicators of a failing hard drive is hard disk corruption in circumstances where it should be impossible.

     

    Thanks to SMART, such issues are closely monitored. This was actually my first hypothesis, but then I checked my SMART monitor and there was no report of recurrent read/seek/write errors. I also ran the SMART tests to make sure. The disk is truely healthy. Also, in case of a hard disk failure I expect at least some of the humongous image libraries I have on my harddisk to be affected. I access and edit these image files regularly. No sign of that yet...

     

    What "versioning system monitoring your directory"? Could you elaborate on what that might be?

     

    I didn't mean a real versioning system like CVS, but I have a paid DropBox account and it keeps a record of all the changes in my DropBox folders and also makes incremental backups of all files. DropBox had not recorded any activity in my working directory for more than 7 hours prior to the crash, despite me being frantic about pressing CMD+S every 2 minutes.

     

    Modern Office file are complex packages - glorified ZIP files. When you save, it doesn't "write" the file in the traditional way you might expect. It creates an entirely new file in a temporary location and swaps that new file with your old one.

     

    Yes, I learned about this after the crash, and I found it outright irresponsible that Word creates its temporary files in obscure locations on my hard disk (why I call them obscure is another story that takes another discussion thread). At least if they were created in my current working direcrtory, I could keep better track of them. Still, this does not explain why Word does not produce an error message when the swapping operation fails. Either the feature has not been implemented properly or it uses deprecated methods that eventually clash with the way Modern MacOS manages its fs.

     

    If you have evidence of any actual issue, don't imply or suggest its existence. Post a link.

     

    Because of the excellent design of Microsoft forums, I can not provide you with a permalink. But if you follow this thread: http://bit.ly/OwIz41, a certain John McGhie has reported that MS is working on the crash issue. Now, to be fair, in MSglish he is considered a Community Star, and not a moderator, but he claims he is well informed and is writing the message from MS headquarters. Also, he is separating the three issues of Word crash, fs corruption, and unable to save. In my experience these issues are closely tied: Word fails to save for a long time, then it crashes with a weird error message and then you should be happy if your computer boots up the next time. Fortunately this last time the fs damage was minor and I could recover fast. Nonetheless, the unsaved information is gone, and interestingly I could not find anything in my recovery directory, although autorecovery was on. Time Machine backups did not show any activity in the Autorecovery folder either...

    OS X Mountain Lion
  • marycontrary Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 27, 2012 3:17 AM (in response to epollari)

    Hi the same thing has happened to me... I lost the doc I was working on & everything else because I couldn't back up my files... the warning could only be removed by shutting the computer down.  Now it hashappened again. Can you walk me through what I need to do...someone please... no techie x

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,900 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 27, 2012 8:32 AM (in response to mszargar)

    mszargar wrote:

     

    Thanks to SMART, such issues are closely monitored. This was actually my first hypothesis, but then I checked my SMART monitor and there was no report of recurrent read/seek/write errors. I also ran the SMART tests to make sure. The disk is truely healthy. Also, in case of a hard disk failure I expect at least some of the humongous image libraries I have on my harddisk to be affected. I access and edit these image files regularly. No sign of that yet...

    If you have bad sectors on your hard drive, everything will work fine until you access the bad sectors. If you have large files on good sectors, they will be fine. The way journaled HFS+ works, every time you write data, you write to a new place on your hard drive. Even if you change a file in place, the changes to the actual disk are written elsewhere and the file pointers are swapped after a successful write. If the write reports an error, then no pointers get swapped and your file stays as it was - that the journaling part. So, installing a new operating system update will write a lot of data to a disk that has not had that much data written for a long time. That new data may go into sectors that have never been used. It really isn't that your drive has died, those sectors were bad when you bought it.

     

    In theory, hard drives are not designed to be perfect and the operating system is supposed to be able to recover. How graceful that recovery might be is an open question. Hard drives are so cheap and easy to replace (except for perhaps Minis and iMacs) that I never bother with them. I replace them at the first sign of failure. There is no way to postively identify a hard drive as good. All you can ever hope to have is no evidence of failure. Once you have evidence of failure, the drive is on its way out. It is only a matter of time.

     

    I didn't mean a real versioning system like CVS, but I have a paid DropBox account and it keeps a record of all the changes in my DropBox folders and also makes incremental backups of all files. DropBox had not recorded any activity in my working directory for more than 7 hours prior to the crash, despite me being frantic about pressing CMD+S every 2 minutes.

     

    You might want to consider using Pages with Autosave. Word has had problems for decades with its version of Autosave and even with incremental saves. It works fine 99% of the time, but it is a real pain that other 1%.

     

    Yes, I learned about this after the crash, and I found it outright irresponsible that Word creates its temporary files in obscure locations on my hard disk (why I call them obscure is another story that takes another discussion thread). At least if they were created in my current working direcrtory, I could keep better track of them.

     

    All modern software works like this.

     

    Still, this does not explain why Word does not produce an error message when the swapping operation fails. Either the feature has not been implemented properly or it uses deprecated methods that eventually clash with the way Modern MacOS manages its fs.

     

    There is another option. Word probably uses custom routines using cross-platform code from Windows.

     

    Because of the excellent design of Microsoft forums, I can not provide you with a permalink. But if you follow this thread: http://bit.ly/OwIz41, a certain John McGhie has reported that MS is working on the crash issue.

     

    Thanks! That explains a lot. I can certainly believe that Microsoft detects an error and reports it as a failed disk. The same thing happens when other low-level errors get reported as "out of memory" when there is plenty of RAM. I think the original poster is experiencing an actual hard drive failure, conflating that with Word's typical file corruption and inaccurate error messages, and coming up with some serious system problem that only affects 1 out of a million people. Sometimes, Word's "failed disk" errors are incorrect, but not always.

  • marycontrary Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 27, 2012 1:44 PM (in response to etresoft)

    thanks for that x but what do I actually have to do please? I have been mucking about with this for days now... reinstalling my internet provider emails backingup back ups & I do not want to have to do it all again.

    My word doc has stalled with the "undiscoverable disc error on file ... has a media problem etc" I tried all the stuff recommended to Muriel but my hard drive? something crashed & I lost a days worth of work (my fault no doubt) & days worth of opportunities to do more...dumb mary x

  • marycontrary Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 27, 2012 1:56 PM (in response to epollari)

    Hi epollari... My macbookair is about 3 months old... I bought microsoft:mac 2 weeks ago... everything that every-one has posted here has happened to me (but I do not really understand all the jargonese ... no negatives meant...) I am just trying to do some work. Just reinstalled the programme.. 10 minutes into my doc... it is happening all over again. I am afraid to exit the doc because I dont want to get back on the merrygoround without the solution. I rang microsoft tech support... they told me I had to pay for assistance which I find a bit rich since I just bought the programme....

    marysad

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