Home From The Field Finding files: one part detective work, one part archeology, two parts facepalm

Finding files: one part detective work, one part archeology, two parts facepalm

Finding files: one part detective work, one part archeology, two parts facepalm

I had a user ask me to assist her in finding a document that she wrote several months prior. She said that she could not find it and needed a copy in order to prove or disprove something related to a customer complaint that had been made against her.


She sat down at a computer and told me that she believed that she wrote her document on the computer at which she was sitting, but could not find it because the “history” didn’t go back that far. She then commented she didn’t understand how people could find old documents.

Our network uses community workstations with roaming profiles for the employees. I asked the user what computer she was using and asked where she normally stored her files. She gazed up at the ceiling as if trying to recall something and then shut her eyes. She replied “C-A-C-H-E.” and then confirmed by shaking her head up and down “Yeah- something like that?”

I didn’t quite understand what she was talking about, so I asked her to show me what she was doing on the computer with her files. She logged onto one of the community computers and opened Word. She opened “Recent Documents”.  As I listened and learned about her document management practices, I found out that she wrote her documents at two or three different community computers and she never saved the files to her network storage folder or paid any attention to where the documents were saved in general.

Turns out, she would log onto to each computer every day and open and close each of her documents found in Word > “Recent Documents” so her files would move up to the top of the Recent Documents listing. All of her “saved” documents were actually temp files in “Recent Documents,” scattered between two or three computers. When I explained that permanent copies could be saved on a thumb drive, a folder on the computer or in a network storage folder, her head literally exploded.

There was blood and brain everywhere. My favorite shirt was ruined. (Okay, I made that last part up, but she did feel rather silly).

And here I was, looking for an exploded head pic from Raiders of the Lost Ark. – Rob

[Picture Source: LaGreenGrounds]


  1. Ohhh yes i know that …. they sometimes look at me like i where telling them that little green man from mars came to conquer the world …


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