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I was compiling my .tex file using pdflatex on an external hard drive, while the compilation took very long (the HDD got super slow from then on), I pulled the drive out. Now, the .tex file seems to be corrupted.

When I try to open it, I get the following screen:enter image description here

Which reads, "The data cannot be decoded with the pre-set coding (UTF-8)." and suggests to open it with "ISO-8859-1". When click OK, the text looks like follows:enter image description here

I would be really happy, if someone can give me suggestion on what I can do here to save this file. I unfortunately do not have a backup for it.

  • Looks like you opened a .jpg or other image file (going by NIKON CORPORATION and Exif data) – moewe Aug 6 '17 at 11:04
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The byte data contain JFIF and EXIF. This indicates a JPEG file. The TeX file seems lost, some options:

  • data recovery tools,
  • repair of the file system,
  • restore via backup,
  • ...
  • Thank you very much for this information. Could you maybe give me concrete starting hints? I.e., to understand which of the alternatives is suitable, how to look into each option? I would really appreciate it! – tt_aa Aug 6 '17 at 11:35
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    @tt_aa Sorry, I cannot recommend anything, there are too many options. A good strategy depends on many factors that I do not know. Why was the HD "super slow" (hardware failure, cable failure, software problem, virus, ...)? How many data are affected? Are there backups? Version control? The value of the affected data? Operating system? Kind of file system? Knowledge of operating systems, tools, ...? There are free tools, commercial tools, companies, ... In the future (= from now on), use version control (like git and backups on different media. – Heiko Oberdiek Aug 6 '17 at 11:59

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