Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

PhD Discussion Forum

The following thread is brought to you by our sister Web site If you wish to reply or post your own thread, you will be redirected to this site.

This Category: > PhD Advice / Support


I've 'lost' my thesis

User: Skig - 29 September 2011 18:30

Yes, I 'lost' my thesis today, at around 12:42pm (thesis RIP), microsoft word couldn't cope with the size of the document and my file got corrupted. I'd removed a small chunk of it and did some formatting to decrease its size yesterday but that obviously didn't stop it happening.

After a few hours trying to recover it, I gave in and called for help. I then found out that, even if I'd managed to recover it, it probably wouldn't be the whole document, there could be parts missing, formatting gone awol, etc

No sweat though, I regularly back up my work so it's just today's work that's been lost, well morning and lunch really as I spent the afternoon attempting to savage it,-) bit stressful but hey ho, not the end of the world.

So for those of you who don't back your work up, start doing it now! And regularly! I can't possibly imagine what would have happened to me if I'd really lost everything weeks before submission...

User: Rina - 29 September 2011 18:47

Hi Skig, what a horror situation avoided. Bless you for saving most/some of your work before. Hope all goes more or less smooth from this point on. In this opportunity, could please other people share their experiences/suggestions on how/where/when to save/back up your work to less technology-savvy peers on this forum?

User: cindrella - 29 September 2011 19:24

Thank god, you have a back up Skig, Phewwwwwwwwwww!!! These things are so unpredictable. I am writing my thesis with latex and I lost whatever I wrote couple of times for no reason, the text just vanished when I closed the file despite saving it. Since then I have been taking back ups of every copy and name them with the date at the end so that I have all the versions. Thanks for the warning. Cheers!

User: Skig - 29 September 2011 20:04

I know!! Completely agree with you Cindrella, these things are just unpredictable and you never know what and when stuff is going to happen. How weird about your text disappearing though :-( Yep, I do the same, I back up but keep the old versions. Handy when your sup tells you to take something off and you find you can homely add it somewhere else ;-)

Rina, as Cindrella I've been keeping copies of my backups as I go along so if you asked me for a copy from 2 months ago, I'd have one. I've chopped lots of things off over time thinking they may come handy one day, and some did so I was glad to have had copies. All I do is to save files with the same name but different dates so for example, my current copy of the appendices is called 'appendices 2909' so I know that's the copy from 29th Sept. That's the one I lost, so I'll have to open appendices 2809, save as appendices 2909 and work on this new document if that makes sense. I work out of a USB stick, but have copies in my laptop and my PC. You could also use something like, but I don't back up the whole computer per se, just my work... hope this helps.

User: catalinbond - 29 September 2011 20:49

What a stress. Glad you havn't lost too much, from the title I thought it was the whole thesis!

I was amazed WORD coped with putting my thesis together, especially as my word computer is slowly dying.
During my PhD I was quite lax about backing up, but during writing I was so careful. I also emailed a copy of whatever I was working on that day to myself to make sure if my computer and all my data sticks died I'd still have them.

User: Skig - 29 September 2011 21:55

Sorry Catalinbond:$ I didn't know how else to call the thread...

Well, my thesis was already divided into two, now it's in three pieces and although it's ok to work on, not sure how easy printing will be. Oh, well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it...

User: TwankyPhD - 30 September 2011 01:01

Quote From Skig:

I spent the afternoon attempting to savage it
Freudian slip between salvage and savage, don't self-sabotage now so near the end lol. so glad u had nearly all of it backed up and i appreciate the advice!

User: Skig - 30 September 2011 09:31

Quote From TwankyPhD:

Freudian slip between salvage and savage, don't self-sabotage now so near the end lol. so glad u had nearly all of it backed up and i appreciate the advice!
Lol I'll try not to ;-)

User: Claudia - 30 September 2011 10:59

I panicked a bit for you there ;-)

If it helps - I wrote mine up as seperate chapters. When they were done I coverted them to PDF, and then merged the PDFs together. It saved me from having to deal with 100s of pages in one Word document :-)

User: catalinbond - 30 September 2011 13:26

Claudia - did that mean you had reference sections for each chapter?

Apparently you can link documents in word and then it can still sort things out like the contents page and endnote. I just threw everything into one big fine and fell over in shock when Word coped with it.

User: lindalou83 - 30 September 2011 14:29

Oh my god! I am now living in fear! *starts making back up files for everything*.... this may take a while...!

User: squaredot - 30 September 2011 16:18

Hi Skig, I panicked for you when I saw the title. So so so glad that you have a back up. I was just thinking the other say that if I lost my thesis at this stage, would I have willpower to re-write them all over again? Thanks for the reminder, very much appreciated it.

User: Claudia - 30 September 2011 16:41

Umm.. no. I couldn't get on with Cite while you write (and didn't have Ref manager on my home computer anyway...). The refs that I had in the text I inserted manually, and I just used reference manager to generate a bibiliography. Then I just saved that as a PDF...

User: Skig - 30 September 2011 16:45

@Squaredot, I'm not sure I could have written it all again, no...

@Lindalou - lol, you better start now then! I used to have an external hard drive where I'd just back up the whole computer as it was just easier...

@Claudia - thanks for the tip, I tried that but the formatting well a bit crazy. I couldn't sort it out so had to opt for the risky strategy.

I've found a way to decrease the size now, so fingers crossed, I should be ok. Plus I got another usb for back ups exclusively and I'm backing up every hour now!