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HELP! Corrupted file without adequate backup!


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I am new to this forum and am actually not a FM developer (more of an end user). I am a medical doctor who uses a Filemaker Pro based electonic medical record (v5.5.2) with about 4 Macs (server running Mac Classic, 1 client running Classic, and 2 clients with macOS X). I had previously backed up the database (on the server) nearly every day, but had gotten behind by a few weeks recently. Just the other day, the server crashed as one of the clients was quitting out of the database. This resulted in a force quit/reboot of the server computer.

After re-launching the server, FM gave the window as each .fp5 file was opened saying "the file was not closed properly, filemaker is now performing a consistency check". This process occurred for each data file, except for three of them-- where the alert was as follows " this file has been damaged-- you will need to recover this file from the file menu" or something like that. I proceeded to "recover" each of these 3 files, and they all appeared to successfully "recover". I then tried to launch the database again, but when it attempted to open some of the damaged/recovered files, it gave the alert "access privileges have been damaged or tampered with. Please contact Filemaker if this issue cannot be resolved."


I have contacted the developer of the medical record software and sent off a copy of the database to them to try to recover. Just today, they contacted me and said that they were unable to recover the data-- that they simply were unable to open these "damaged" files to even import/export the data. They supposedly have some tools from Filemaker (given to developers) to recover data by exporting them out of damaged files and importing them to good ones. They recommended that I contact Filemaker to see if they could help recover some data, or at least open the file.


There are about 2-3 weeks worth of patient medical information in one of these damaged files that we REALLY, REALLY need. Does anyone have any ideas on how to repair these files, or at least how to open them so that at least the raw data can be exported. I would imagine someone would have developed some kind of file repair utility that could do something like this.


Can anyone help? (PLEASE!)

Thanks in advance,


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Guest Yukon Cornelous

Before it's too late, Are you on FileMaker Server?


If so check too see if the sever files are backed (option in server)

Must be done before next scheduled backup or x-x

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If the developer cannot open the files, you have little choice but to send them to FMI. Through FMI try their best, sometimes the data just isn't there.


I'd start assuming that the data is gone for good and begin doing two things:


1) whatever is necessary to get back up to speed with replacing the lost data, or damage control;

2) set up a decent backup process.*


Consider also that the databases that could be opened after the crash probably have some minor damage that will probably get worse with time and may cause major problems later. They should not be put back into service. You need to get known-good copies of the files (the last backup, or rebuild them from scratch) save them as clones, then import the latest data into the clones and update all auto-enter serial numbers etc. Only put these known-good files back into service.


*A decent backup process involves many things, only one of which is setting up FM Server to backup the files. Other things include keeping known-good cloned copies of the files to restore the data into after a crash (these have to be kept up to date when changes are made to the database structure) and keeping extra backup copies on removeable media or on a separate remote server to guard against general hard disk failure. Ideally a backup should be kept off-site to guard against fire or other major event that wipes out the whole office.

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Thanks for your help. I wound up talking to FMI, and they were going to charge hundreds of dollars to even send these files to them.


I wound up having a friend of mine who is a computer programmer "hack" into the file and extract all the raw text. Thankfully, all the records were readable and "decipherable" in ASCII text (except for one day's worth of information). I did simple cut and pastes (text to text) to get those records back.


Making the backup had gotten so low on the priority list that we just didn't do it for a few weeks-- since this crash, we have been backing up again every day.



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A crash like that brought us to the decision to upgrade to FMP 7 AND the same OS on each computer that data is being served to. It has been a big project to "covert" - more like rebuild...it is addictive...I'm starting a 12 step group soon.

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