How to recover from self-inflicted problems

When Windows asks me if I'm sure, I'm usually sure. Unfortunately, sometimes I am also wrong. Here's how you can recover in case you ever make a couple of the same silly mistakes I made recently.


Where did that file go?

Last week I finished writing my column (I use Microsoft Word) and saved it. But… where?

I have a folder in my Documents folder called Columns, and that’s where I keep my columns. But when I saved last week’s column and opened that folder later I didn’t see the column in there. Oh no! How can I find it?

When this happens to you (and at some point it probably will) the first thing to do is stop clicking on things, and calm down. There are several ways you can find a file you’ve recently worked with, and a couple of them are really quick and easy.

One way is to use Windows built in search function. I didn’t know where the file was, but I remembered that it had the word “tips” in the name. The bad news was that many of my documents have the word “tips” in the name! I could use the Advanced Search options to narrow the search to just Documents, and then sort the results by date so the most recent documents with “tips” come to the top of the list. That works but it’s a little tedious and would take some time to look through my stuff.

Another option is the excellent free search utility called Search Everything (http://www.voidtools.com/). In just seconds Everything can find your file and show you exactly where it is. It’s much faster than the built in search.

Both those methods required me to remember at least one of the words in the name of the file. But if you simply can’t remember what you called that file, there are two easy ways to find it. I knew it was a Word document. Opening Word and clicking on the top left corner displayed a list of recent documents, including the one I wanted. Clicking on that opened the column, and then clicking on "File | Save as" allowed me to save it to the correct folder, and showed me where I’d saved it in the first place.

Finally, I could have clicked on Start (because I was using a version of Windows that still has a Start Menu) then on Recent, and opened the file from there.


Wait. What?!? OneDrive has a Recycle Bin?

Sometimes when I write my column I start it on my main desktop computer and work on it using my netbook when I’m between customers. I save the work in progress/finished column to OneDrive because I write in Word, and my Windows 8.1 netbook makes it easy to use OneDrive. (OneDrive is Microsoft’s free online storage offering, similar to Dropbox or GoogleDrive. Check this tutorial for more: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/getting-started-onedrive-tutorial.)

While working on this very column, I managed to delete it from OneDrive before grabbing it to work on back at home. I logged onto OneDrive via the web, and noticed a Recycle Bin. It turns out the OneDrive Recycle Bin works just like the Recycle Bin on a computer. You can restore files from the bin to their original location! Click on Recycle Bin in the left panel, select the file(s) you want, and click on Restore along the top of the OneDrive window.

Not only that, OneDrive will show you previous versions of documents you’ve stored there. Right-click on a document, click on Version history, and select the version you want to revert to. It’s nice to have a second --- or third --- chance at undoing a mistake.

The best key combination in any version of Windows is…

CTRL+Z. Pressing those two keys simultaneously will UNDO the last thing you did. Sometimes I wish we had an Undo key for real life.


Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!


Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.

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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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