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Saturday, September 06, 2008
Yesterday, I had to install a security update on my work PC that required a reboot. I dutifully closed the 20 or so windows of stuff I had open, making sure I had saved each document. Later that day, I went to open a draft of a whitepaper on the use of electronic data sources for drug safety surveillance as a follow-on to BearingPoint's work on the eHealth Initiative Connecting Communities for Drug Safety Toolkit.

No document. No trace. Nada.

I can't recall the last time I've totally lost a document or file. I backup my hard drive, archive email and am pretty religious about hitting the save button (seems my spiritual calling has been downgraded from saving souls to saving documents, but that's another story). But the biggest change that's happened, frankly, is that Microsoft has gotten pretty good at making sure documents don't get lost when their applications crash. They crash pretty often still, but at least when they do, you can almost always pick up the pieces.

I had already put in several hours over three days into editing this paper and was probably less than an hour from finishing. With extreme diligence, I look through every option I could think of to find it. Hidden file searches, Google Desktop, looking to see if I had named it something else accidentally in the process of saving it. In the end, I figured that I had been saving the temporary internet file of the draft that had been sent to me via email. But when I opened it again from the email, another instance of the document - Whitepaper(2).doc - came up containing none of my changes.

The path address for that file was in the Temporary Internet File folder a couple of subfolders down. But when I looked in the TIF folder, there were no subfolders showing - even though I had made sure that all "hidden" files would show.

I gave up, resigned to the idea that I would spend a good part of the weekend rebuilding what I had already done.

My favorite time of the day is that place between when I wake up and when I get up. Things become clearer during that intersticial space between dreams and reality. It's when I'm best at figuring out puzzles whose solutions have eluded me - be they that one last line in the lyric of a song, a business issue or trying to remember where I left my sunglasses.

Today when I returned to my computer, I typed the file path into my Windows Explorer browser and the hidden files appeared one by one. There among the hundreds of temporary files was a beautiful sight - my lost file.

The weekend is saved - or at least it gave me enough time to treat myself to a little blogging...

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