EPDM Tech Tip: Data Recovery

Sometimes a First Impression is all you get…

Data recovery when local files are lost before the first check in.

It was a typical scene, curbside to the local cafe.  Boy meets Girl. They introduce themselves, shake hands, and exchange glances with a smile. Boy begins to think about all the things he wants to say to Girl, rehearsing all of it in his mind.

And then Boy gets hit by a bus.

Girl is left standing with no clue of all the things Boy was thinking before the bus crashed into him. Only that first impression is locked in her mind. Well, that and the image of the crash itself, but this isn’t about that crash. It’s about yours.

It’s about those (hopefully rare) times when your computer hardware decides to fail, a laptop gets stolen, or Murphy’s law cruelly strikes in some other fashion, and leaves you with files that were added to the Enterprise PDM vault, but were never checked in for the first time. Is all lost? No… but that first impression is all you get.

Some groundwork… before and after the meeting at the curb

Before we continue our saga, it would be useful to define a few things about our couple: the file and the vault. There are two “states of being” that a file can be in before it enters a workflow.

  • A file can be tagged as a “local file”. You may see this from time to time, depending on your windows and vault permissions.  Its state is <local file>. Sometimes it is a temporary file, a file you don’t want to be in the vault anyway, which is good, because the vault doesn’t really know about it.

EPDM screenshot local file

Similar to our couple standing by the curb before the introductions were made, the file is in the same space, but they (the file and the vault) are still complete strangers.

Other times you do want the local file. And if this is the case, a simple right-click “Add To File Vault” will push it to the next step.

EPDM screenshot add to file vault

But we’re not going to talk any further about local files. We’re interested in what happens after the first introductions.

  • A file can be introduced, or “added”, to the vault, but not yet checked in for the first time.  This is the state our tragic couple was in before the bus entered the scene. Files in this state will show as being checked out, but their state will be blank.

EPDM screenshot document checked in

At this point, all we have is that first impression. So now the question is, exactly what is that first impression?

The First Impression… from all angles

In our example, Gary creates a file called “Boy.txt”.  The text file has one line. He drags and drops the file into the vault. Note that from Gary’s view, the file is Checked Out by him, the state is blank, and he can see the contents of the file in the preview window.

EPDM screenshot preview of checked out document

Now when Tom looks in the same directory, he still sees nothing.

EPDM screenshot no documents in directory

However, the EPDM admin account, at this stage, can see what Gary sees. So far, so good. In our story hands have been shaken, smiles exchanged, and while only Gary and the vault admin account has access to it, the vault is now aware of the file’s contents and some basic database information. However, this is where the first impression ends.

Daydreaming at the curb…

In our tragic tale, our fair hero “Boy” begins to think of all the nice things he wants to say to Girl. Likewise, Gary decides his document needs some more content. He begins to add more lines to the file. He then saves the file, but does not check it in!

Gary’s Explorer window now looks like this:

EPDM screenshot explorer window modified document

Note how EPDM now tells you the local file has been modified. The date of the file has changed from 11:46 to 12:16 (an appropriate time to snag some lunch), and the preview window clearly shows the changes Gary has made.

Tom still has no clue what is happening behind the scenes, but when we check in with the Admin account, we find something that might be unexpected:

EPDM screenshot unmodified document

The admin account still sees the original file. Until Gary checks his file in, the vault is only aware of that First Impression… what the file was when it was first added to the vault.

If the bus hits… (or the computer crashes… or the laptop gets stolen…)

Should Gary’s computer fail, and his local files cease to exist, if the bus hits, is all lost? No… but that first impression is all you get.

In the event of such a loss, the admin account can be used to make that first impression of the file available to all. The admin simply right-clicks on the file and selects “Undo Check Out” to get the process started.

EPDM undo checkout

You’ll get a warning that the file is checked out by another user. Be sure to check the “Undo Check Out” box before proceeding.

EPDM undo checkout warning

EPDM will give you one final warning…

EPDM warning popup box are you sure you want to undo check out anyway

And once you say click “Yes” the original file will be checked into the vault, available to everyone with the permissions to see it.

That first impression might not be much, but when Murphy’s Law strikes, at least it’s something.

Better yet – don’t leave all that daydreaming on your local drive. If possible, check in your files after any substantial amount of work. Get them secured safely in your vault. That’s what it’s there for.

For more information, or to talk with an EPDM consultant, please contact us!



One Response

  1. Ken Black
    April 29, 2012 at 1:53 am | | Reply

    Great info, although I hope the guy that got hit by the bus is okay. Just kidding. Good tip that the admin account can be used to make that first impression of the file available to all. Right clicking and selecting Undo Check Out should be tried.

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