Lost RTF file

I just lost an RTF file (an article I’ve been writing and revising) when DTProV2 froze and would not even respond to a Force Quit command. I had to use Shift-Start to restart my computer. I had had the main database and two separate RTF files on my screen before the crash, and both of those files were listed under a folder on the main database window. I had been saving both my RTF files as I went along, using Command-S. Every time I did that, the “Data” dropdown menu was highlighted, indicating to me that some saving was happening.

When I tried to access DT again, it told me I had over 1000 errors in the database, and suggested I either revert to a previous backup or rebuild. I chose to rebuild, hoping I would find the file I had been working on.

The database, which apparently was exported and then re-imported without errors, did not include my RTF file, which I had saved and saved using Command-S while I was working on it. I haven’t scrutinized the rest of the files, but by the file counts within the folders, most of my other recent work appears to be intact.

I have searched throughout DT for the missing RTF file to no avail. I have also searched my computer using both Spotlight and the Finder’s search box.

Is my file totally gone? How can that be? Does saving not save to something, somewhere? Is the only “saving” that counts when one does a full backup? Even Appleworks allows users to retrieve files after an unexpected crash. Could that kind of facility not be built into DT? There seem to be no specific instructions in the tutorial on saving RTF files.

Also, in the process of searching for DT backups in my Documents folder (and actually throughout the computer), I noticed only one backup of DT Pro, when I have used Backup and Optimize several times since starting to use DTProV2 and my preferences are set for maintaining 5 backups. Also, I seem to have dozens of old DT backups, from before DT Pro, even though I have trashed the old DT software.

The solution to this problem is very important to me, not just because I’ve lost hours of work, but because I really love DT and am trying to integrate as much as possible of my work into it. I have used DA and DT for research until now, but this is the first time I’ve used DT to actually write and edit an article, and I’d like very much to know that using it is as secure as using MS Word or Appleworks.

I have a PowerBookG4 running Tiger OS 10.4.1. I have 2.29 GB available on my hard drive.

I’d appreciate whatever feedback and advice anyone can offer. In addition to help finding my file, I’m particularly interested in hearing from others who use DT as a word processor. Many thanks.

Wally

Hi, Wally:

The amount of free space on your PowerBook drive is starting to get marginal. OS X needs disk space for its swap files and temp files.

My old TiBook 500 MHz has 1 GB RAM, and only slightly more free drive space than yours. I’ve got a big DT Pro database, and when I’ve been working it hard and have a bunch of other applications open as well, my Virtual Memory swap files grow to 1 GB, which means disk space becomes really tight. Performance slows, because operations begin to require a lot of disk activity. And what can seem like a freeze may just mean that DT Pro (or DT Personal) has to do some CPU and disk intensive operations on the database that make it unresponsive for a time, especially if it has to use Virtual Memory a lot. If that happens, it’s best to be patient for a while – DT Pro may be able to finish its work and become responsive again. Sometimes quitting other applications helps free up memory.

Even if DT Pro becomes unresponsive, you should be able to go down to the Dock and select the Finder, then have access to quit other applications that may be open.

Apparently, when you force quit the computer, DT Pro was doing some disk writing that was not able to go to completion. That results in file corruption and database errors.

It’s also possible that the System or the drive directory had problems that, in turn, caused problems for DT Pro. If you search for “suspenders” on this forum you will find some of my verbose rants about running a “clean” computer. :slight_smile:

OK, what are some steps to assure maximum performance and reliability?

[1] Run maintenance routines regularly, especially after a forced shutdown of your computer. Disk Utility can do permissions repair, and if used from your Installation DVD, can run disk verification and repair. There are several utilities that will run cron scripts, permissions repair, clean out old log files and clean out old cache files (which should be done once in a while). DiskWarrior 3.0.3 can fix disk problems that are not detected or corrected by Disk Utility, and I run that once in a while.

[2] Try to free up as much drive space as possible. Remove some of those old DT Personal backups, for example. I’ve got DT Pro permissions set to maintain only 3 backup file folders inside the database package, which is enough for overkill if you keep the System and drive well maintained. That will save space. See if you can archive or delete some of your old files on your computer. If you are not using them, archive them to a CD or external drive. Your PowerBook will be happier if you can give it a few more GB free drive space.

[3] Run Tools > Verify & Repair followed by Tools > Backup & Optimize whenever you’ve been working the database hard, such as adding lots of new content or editing or writing. I’ve got my preferences set to never backup automatically. That would be stupid, if I didn’t manually trigger these routines whenever I’ve put time and effort into database work. When I take a break, I run those routines. I usually do it when I finish up for the day, and quit DT Pro. Quitting and relaunching daily is actually a good thing.

[4] Make external backups, preferably to a CD or external device. Check out your DT Pro Scripts menu (just left of the Help menu). The Export section has two backup scripts. You might like the Backup Archive script, which will make the smallest possible, zipped archive of your database. It automatically runs Verify & Repair, Backup & Optimize, creates a database with no internal backup folders, then zips the file and appends the backup date to the database file name. Warning: It will take a while for a big database, so take a coffee break or walk the dog while it’s running.

[5] Restart your computer at least every few days. Some people like to brag about how many months they can keep their computer up and running. That’s not a good idea. Macs don’t have the bullet-proof RAM of servers. Errors can creep in over time, bits can get twiddled. Restarting can be the cure for slowing performance and flaky behavior.

I’m still pleased by how well my old TiBook runs a big DT Pro database. But now I do most of my work on a second-generation iMac G5 with 20" screen, 2 GB RAM and 2 GHz CPU. I’m running off a 500 GB hard drive (7,200 RPM, compared to the TiBook’s 4,500 RPM 60 GB HD), and my boot partition has 212 GB free space. Virtual Memory is rarely used. I’ve been thrashing the database hard today, and I’m up to 2 VM swap files totaling 128 MB, but still have 1025 MB free space. I just did a single-term search that found 19 items in 0.045 seconds. DT Pro flies. I really don’t think I could justify a PowerMac dual 2.7 GHz CPUs with 8 GB RAM…at least, not now. :slight_smile:

Bill -

Thank you for the wonderfully detailed response. I thought I did wait a really long time when DT seemed to be in a processing mode until I determined that it was a crash. My dock told me that the application was not responding and I was unable to pull down the Apple menu to request a Force Quit the usual way. I guess I should have waited even longer. I might not have lost that RTF file. This was a good lesson.

Thank you also for the maintenance instructions. Not being a “techie,” I really have not followed the kind of routine you suggest. I can assure you things will change!!!

Wally

P.S. Under ordinary circumstances, does using Command-S actually save the contents of an RTF file to the place in the database where it is listed?