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My DVD RW disk crashed and took my novel with it.

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#1 Gwenivere9381


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Posted 06 November 2015 - 09:27 AM

Basically: I'm an author (recently finished my first book). I've been having trouble with various sorts of disks crashing, causing me to lose half-finished work. Last week it was my single manuscript file on my 16GB flashdrive. Thankfully, I'd been backing the file up on the disk I use to collect research (and an extensive list of subcharacters ranging from scullery maids to lords and their provinces) - so, I used the file on the disk (half of what I'd had done), and worked from the half of my book that remained. I started saving my manuscript directly to the DVD RW disk, and backing it up on my flashdrive.


Yesterday I was in a bit of a hurry, so I (very stupidly) didn't back my main file up on my flashdrive - and, being me, I also forgot to eject the disk from the computer when I was finished. The computer in question wasn't mine, and the battery was almost dead, so I quickly turned it on and removed the disk. Previously, prior to ejecting, I'd received the message: "Please wait while the disk [does something I forget], so you can use the disk in the future." But the damned thing shut off before it could finish whatever business it usually does, much less back up the file on another disk.


This morning I woke up to start editing my finished book, and found that the disk was without files. At the top of where my files are usually listed, it says: "Drag files to this folder to add them to the disk." 


I have work from the day before yesterday saved on my computer, but it's ten-thousand words behind what I finished yesterday (I work fast), so I'm trying my very best not to panic. This is an almost 100,000 word manuscript, plus thousands of words of plot details, character lists, details on the imports/exports of provinces, names and appearances of subcharacters, indexes of words in their language (also the form by which their language operates), maps of walls/fortresses that show where my characters' armies need to be marching - all of my own creation, and unable to be found anywhere else except if I were to write everything out all over again. 



  1. I've tried wiping the disk clean of all smudges (of which there were few); there aren't any scratches to repair. Wiping smudges didn't help.
  2. I believe that the disk might've crashed due to its inability to finish what it normally does before ejecting.
  3. I have Windows 7 on one computer, 6.1 on the desktop I'm using now, and 8 on another laptop that may electrocute me (back's breaking off the front of the screen). I formatted the disk with Windows 6.1, have largely been working with Windows 7, and I could use Windows 8 to help recover it if need be.
  4. Also: I'm basically broke at the moment (and unemployed; sucks to live in rural America!) and I'm working on relatives' computers. So, downloading pricey programs to help recover things is a last resort (though I will do it, if absolutely necessary).

Thanks for any help provided. I'm not giving up on recovering this thing until someone a little more experienced than me with computers tells me I've no hope.

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#2 JohnC_21


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Posted 06 November 2015 - 10:25 AM

If the disk was multisession you may be able to retrieve the files using isobuster but it is paid software $40. You can download it and see if it can detect the files on the disk. If you call you may be able to get a discount. The file recovered would be the one you worked out previous to the crash.




If the file is less than 1GB you can scan the disk with Minitools Data Recovery. It will let you recover 1GB for free.



#3 mjd420nova


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Posted 06 November 2015 - 09:14 PM

I have to sympathize with you, as I have lost a manuscript too.  I learned to work with an external hard drive (small 60 GB) as a back up (incremental)  device.  Temporary files for review by others (editor, friends, critics) I put on a CD.  I have has some clients who like to mix CDs and DVDs like trading movies and sometimes work and different platforms can't read them.  Not found any real path but is intermittent with most WIN versions when intermixed.

#4 sparklestar


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Posted 07 November 2015 - 01:17 AM

If you can't get it, at least you only lost one day's work. I know this does not help you for this, but, as a fellow writer, for the future I recommend that you go all out on backups. Leave local copies on the PCs you are working on (if you don't have any privacy issue with that), and imo, don't work *on* external media (if you are?), instead, copy the files to the computer first, then work on them there, and then when you are done for the day copy them back to the external media. That way you aren't doing 100's of saves to an external media and you won't yank out the usb stick while you still have the doc open, etc.


Also I suggest doing version backups, where you have entire copies of the work so you can 'roll back' to thursday for example in case you discover some problem or missing stuff and you don't know when it happened.


And cloud storage or just emailing yourself a zip of the documents isn't a bad idea. I wouldn't use a DVD RW, as you are experiencing, it's too sketchy imo.

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