Calling on Computer Savvy friends

I am in a real crisis here and desperately hoping some of you computer gurus can help me. I am also a living example of the importance of creating separate back up files of your important data!

My entire fruit orchard database/spreadsheet is all contained in one excel spreadsheet file, and it has crashed. I just cannot describe how critical this file is to me. It has the location (by number) of ever single tree and plant in my orchard, along with where I bought it, when I plannted it, what grafts are on it, and lots more. I cannot get it to open, and I’m hoping maybe someone here can figure out why?

The reason I have hope is that it still appears as an excel file. It still shows an excel symbol and when I try to open it, it starts to open. It even activates excel and brings it up and open, but then it says “Excel cannot open the file because the file format or file extension is not valid”.

I know no one is going to spend a ton of time on something that means nothing to you, but I’m here begging for help because I think its possible that there is some fairly simple solution that someone with experience and expertise might could figure out easily.

If nothing else, perhaps someone can tell me how or can do some other viewer of the data inside the file. Even if I loose all the formating/columns/fonts/etc, I could rebuild all that if I could just see the data in some way that would show the plant number and the information that corresponds to it. ???

I know this is an unusual request. I’ve already been to a lot of other computer sites, MS Office site, and other places.
Also, this also should be under the “General Discussions category” but I’ve been inactive for a few weeks and since I’ve been gone it looks like the non-fruit related/general discussions category has been removed. So forgive me for putting it in the Fruit Going category but it didn’t seem to fit anywhere else.

Thank-you, in advance, for any assistance or efforts made in my behalf. I am attaching the file. Thanks.

fruit tree inventory May 2017.xlsx (19.4 KB)

Your file is corrupt so you better go around the fence to get your file. Run a recovery program to recover the original from the computer or flash drive it was stored on Thanks for downloading Recuva. That will get you your file in most cases.

I’d be worried that the file doesn’t have all the info anymore, even corrupted. It’s less than 20KB. My orchard tracking sheet is about a megabyte. Yes, I’m a data pack-rat, but it shouldn’t be 20X your’s in size, unless you were just tracking the bare bones planting locations in a single sheet.

Have you emailed it to yourself any in the past? I can tell you that seeing your post made me do that just now…

I think Excel stores a copy in a temporary file somewhere under the AppData folder. You may want to look around there. If there aren’t any (or you don’t find what you are looking for), you could try some undelete apps to try to find the remains of one of those temp files.

Some of this could be dependent on OS and Excel version.

Excel automatically saves every 10 minutes to the default location of “C:\ Documents and Settings<username>\Local Settings\Temp” or “C:\Users<username>\AppData\Local\Temp” on Windows 7/Vista. The files are identifiable as they are saved as a number .tmp e.g. “28.tmp”.

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I usually just goto start>run>%temp% to open the temp directory if it is in there. Excel keep its own history but if you recover all .xlsx documents in that location it should get it back.

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This may be mentioned in those comments, but the freeware alternative, OpenOffice, is VERY OFTEN able to recover files Office itself gives up on. This file is too messed up for that, unfortunately, but if you find another version of it in your temp somewhere, it may be useful.

Edit I just noticed the file is attached, wow, that’s super corrupted and tiny, as others mentioned.

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I will take a look and let you know

I tried to use a specific tool to repair it - it says it is too severely corrupted. Can you tell exactly what happened - how exactly it got corrupted? Content of the file looks more like DLL content, not excel file. Like something took some dll file and renamed it to your excel file name. I guess you best bet would be too search in the temp folder as it was suggested above. If you find those .tmp files, first thing to do is to copy all of them in a new folder. Then create another copy of that new folder, in case you do something for the file and it will not be already in temp folder. Now in one of the folders rename them all by changing extension to the xslx. And try to open. Fill free to attach those tmp files here if you have problem with changing extension.

Anyone else see a weird dhcp call when you picked the file apart?

Current versions of Office default to


XLSX files are zip files by nature. Renaming the exteniton to .zip proves the contents are to corrumpt likely overwriten to be read.

Words just can’t express how grateful I am to everyone who has tried to help. That so many people would take time out of their lives- time they would much rather spend reading about fruit growing- really says a lot about this community. So again, my sincere thanks.

I’ actually a fairly skilled computer guy myself (well, lets just say I’m more than a beginner but far from expert). I had already tried several of the things suggested here…specifically I’d gone all through the Microsoft office sights and tried all the things there to recover lost files, including trying to recover unsaved versions. That also includes attempts to recover the temporary backup files that excel saves every few minutes. So we are on the same page.

I should have better described what actually happened to the file and why I’m here with a problem…but I guess I felt so dumb I hated to confess it! But here is the sad, stupid story.

My computer is about 3 years old and even though I have multiple ad blockers, fire walls, virus protections, etc. it had become so completely loaded down with junk that it had become insanely slow. It was so bad that none of the light duty tricks helped…ie running various cleaners, de-fragging, deleting history and all software I could find that wasn’t needed, reducing the number of start-up items and background items, etc. So I finally decided to just wipe out my computer and start over. I was and did use the recovery option. HOWEVER…before I did that I THOUGHT I backed all my files up to CD. I formated new CDs, then copied my MY DOCUMENTS folder onto one CD, my photos onto 2 more, and so on. Having done that before, I wasn’t worried and made my dumbest mistake ever. I just assumed by backups had gone well and didn’t try to open any files from my CD backups.

Then I went through the recovery option to clean off my computer…I selected the option that said delete all files and folders (dumb move #2) since I thought I had them backed up.

You can guess the rest. After my computer was wiped out, I popped my backup CD’s in one at a time so I could put my files and photos BACK onto my now almost empty computer. You know what happened next…for reasons I may never know, one of my back up CD’s, the one that had my orchard database and all my other important files, wouldn’t open!!! Strangely enough, the other CD’s did open, so I have my photos and other less important files. But the first CD that had most of “My documents” folder wouldn’t open.

I know that deleted files often remain on a hard drive even after deleted until something else is written over it. So I went to Cnet and found some free software that says it will go in and find all your deleted files and save them for you. The software I used to do this was called easeus . I’d never used it. Well, it LOOKED like it worked a miracle. It took about 2 hours of scanning my hard drive but in the end it created these nice new folders which had all my lost files, and even showned the icon they were created with. Just like the one I posted here and asked for help with. Problem is, they won’t open, as you have seen. I hoped that most of the data had been recovered but just some formating or partition data or something had been mixed up. when I attempt to open them, they say “corrupted” so thats why I told you guys they were corrupted. It was a lot quicker than the explanation I’ve just given.

So, I may have my needed files on a CD, but the CD gives an error and won’t show any files at all. So I think its lost.

My database MIGHT also still be on my hard drive even though it was deleted. I still haven’t saved much of anything onto my hard drive so if it was ever there it could still be…but my 1 attempt to recover my deleted files produced nothing but corrupted versions of what I need.

the 19.8K size doesn’t neccessarily mean my data isn’t in that little file. Unlike some of you, my database was extremely simple and quite short. It just had records for about 140 trees and plants, and for each of those there were only about 7 data fields- name, date of planting, grower, retailer, rootstock. That was it. So it would be quite short.

Anyway, I just can’t tell you how awful this is, so I appreciate your efforts on my behalf. It isn’t as simple as just going back through my orchard and recreating it, because in many cases my tree tags didn’t contain anything but tree name and planting date.

Oh well…if, after hearing all this, anyone has any other suggestions, I’m all ears. Otherwise, from the bottom of my heart thank you for your time and efforts on my behalf!

Kevin did you ever email the file to work or to a friend? Check old mail if you did.

Just thinking.

great idea bob. and I did an email search already for all excel files. unfortunately, it had been 3 years since I’d sent myself a copy to work, so that didn’t help. But good thinking, Bob! Thanks

my open office file for pears is 29 kb, so depending on what info you have stored 20 kb may be large enough. Mine is just a list of names however. Did you try opening the excel file in open office? It might work there.

I’m going to say it again use recuva on the link I posted for you.i think you will be surprised.

Kevin, I downloaded your file and tried to open it. Try changing the extension. Sometimes that works. I saw that it is an ‘Open Office’ file. ? Not Microsoft Office? Maybe the extension .xlsx just needs to be changed.

I hope you can save your file.
There is definitely something wrong - because it is only 20kb. That just couldn’t be - not with a big spread sheet as you describe. I got it to open, but it is empty - no data. This might be a stupid question - but did you try opening Excel - and then go to FILE - OPEN RECENT - and see if it is listed there.
Good luck. - Karen

Clark- I absolutely did that and it has me more confused than ever. I had the exact same results as the results I got from the other recover utility program that I used. With Recuva, it took about 3 hrs and it produced a wonderful list of all the files it said that it could recover. I could tell by the file names that it really was finding my files. But here is what kills me…when you look at the details for the file I need, it shows it as “excellent condition, undisturbed, fully recoverable”. So of course I recover it and save it. But when I go to open it I get exactly the same results as I did on the other recovery program recovered file: it won’t open.

In fact, not a single one of the files recovered using recuva will open!!! What the HECK!!!

@macmanmatty I did try opening in open office…no go.

@ILParadiseFarm I wouldn’t mind paying for the software, but after using 2 other recovery utility programs and getting the exact same results from them both, I’m hesitant to spend money for a 3rd try that likely won’t work either.

Someone also suggested I use one of the recovery services you can hire, but that costs hundreds of dollars and for all the complaining and crying and expressions of desperation, at the end of the day it isn’t worth that kind of money. In the end life will go on. I can rebuild a good bit using my tree tags so it isn’t a total loss.

At work we use Carbonite for our stand alone desk tops that aren’t networked with auto back up. It costs like $69 PER YEAR and backs up every single day and is completely effortless…you never even know it does it other than occasional emails telling you it is backing you up every day that month. And retrieving it is almost as simple. WHy, oh why, I didn’t have this on my home computer I will never know!

Looks like I’ve learned a hard lesson here, but life will go on. Thanks again for all your efforts on my behalf.

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I dropped the xlxs file linked to above into a hex editor.

A sample good xlxs file will have the Magic Bytes (first 2 bytes of the file) as 504b. It contains readable text such as “docProps/app.xml” and the word “worksheet”.

Your corrupted file has Magic Bytes of f679 , I doubt that would match up to any common filetype. Also, there is readable text “microsoft windows user power management” and various .dll libraries, “protected storage”, etc. Readable text is interspersed with null bytes (00). In other words, fragments of various files. Nothing remains of the fruit, sorry to say.

Hey Karen- Thanks so much. Yes, I did try that. But because (as I tried to explain above) I ended up deleting my files AND MS office and everything else on my compuer and reinstalling office, there were no “recent files” shown…but yes I tried that.

But listen, I very much do think you might be onto something when it comes to that extension. I noticed that also and there seems to be something strange about that. And you are right, it shows as an "open office file. That also makes me curious.

Again, I have now used 2 different recovery programs and both created a list showing the file names I need, saying they are recoverable, and then recovering them, but when I open them they don’t open and have the funny extension.

I’m just not sure about the file size and whether its truly empty. As important as this spreadsheet is, it was quite short. It probably had a grand total of 100 lines (i said 150 earlier but don’t think that was right) and only about 5 data points for each line (ie 5 columns) and they were all just a few words. You could almost see the whole spreadsheet on a single page. Right about now you’re thinking “if that is all it was then what is the big deal?”. ha. ANd in the end, I must confess it isn’t the end of the word- in spite of all my complaining and expressions of desperation.

Thanks again, Karen.

As sad as that is to hear, Larry, I am extremely grateful to you for doing the work and telling me what you found. Somehow I find more peace in knowing there is nothing in that file of any use. It was madening to think all my data was in it but just couldn’t be opened.
Thanks so much! Btw…I’m impressed with your knowledge!