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Major World Error

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Posted by Azoroth   (31 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Wed 12 Dec 2007 12:29 AM (UTC)
Message
Major problem when opening my World. The size of the world reads: 275kb. When trying to load the world I get this error: File does not have a valid MUSHclient signature.
Unexpected file format.

I've tried opening the file with a text reader (crimson editor) but it's showing that there's nothing there...is there anything that I can possibly do to preserve 7yrs of collective mud aliases and triggers? I had to rebuild my world once, this time it seems impossible *sighs*
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,322 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #1 on Wed 12 Dec 2007 02:25 AM (UTC)

Amended on Wed 12 Dec 2007 02:26 AM (UTC) by Nick Gammon

Message
I have sent a private message with my email address. You could try emailing the file to me.

If I may suggest, without sounding like a smart-alec, to you and anyone else reading this, that disk drives fail from time to time, or data gets corrupted by things like a power failure.

I would make regular backups of things that are important, and put it somewhere safe (eg. onto a CDROM).

By the way, it is hardly a "bug" if the file has become corrupted, and is empty when loaded into a text editor. It sounds like a file corruption or disk failure to me.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Shaun Biggs   USA  (644 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #2 on Wed 12 Dec 2007 01:03 PM (UTC)
Message
I can definitely support the idea of regular backups... a 'minor' mistake of rm -rf in the wrong directory almost forced me to rebuild nearly my whole world and plugin files. Fortunately I remembered that I had copied everything over to my laptop two weeks prior, so I just lost a few weeks work instead of years. I now keep a cheap USB drive with regular monthly zipped backups of my MUSHclient directory. This is not as stable as a burned CD, but I can go back and delete bits if I make a mistake. The likelihood of the hard drive and the USB both corrupting at the same time is slim anyway.

Back to the actual topic: If Crimson Editor doesn't show anything, it is almost certainly not a MUSHclient error. The file could be corrupt as Nick suggested, or just filled with bad data from some other program trying to rewrite it. If you have a program similar to Norton Utilities, check the file integrity. Some programs can even pull the raw data off the disk so you can reassemble some or all of the world file if it's just the first few bytes that are fubar'd.

It is much easier to fight for one's ideals than to live up to them.
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,322 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #3 on Wed 12 Dec 2007 07:23 PM (UTC)
Message
The compressed file you sent was only 0.3 Kb which didn't look good. When I opened it in UltraEdit it consisted entirely of binary zeroes.

I suspect what has happened is that the file allocation table has become corrupted on your PC. This might happen because of:


  • A Windows crash (blue screen of death)
  • Turning it off at the power without doing a shutdown.
  • A power failure


It is even possible this might happen without your knowledge. For example, if the power briefly fails and is restored, and the PC reboots, you may not notice.

As Shaun says, a recovery utility might find an earlier version of the world file in the "recently deleted" part of the disk. For example, searching for old files with "<muclient>" in them might be the way to go.

I would certainly refrain from writing new files until you have tried to recover the world file. For example, downloading a large MP3 file or something similar could easily replace that part of the disk with something new.

Once again I emphasise to everyone, and not just with respect to MUSHclient world files, to have the attitude "how bad will it be if I can't boot my PC tomorrow and all files are lost?".

Obviously there would be some inconvenience, but a lot of files (like games, word processors, utilities) can be recovered from the original disks. However things like the school homework you have been working on for a month, details of your finances, passwords (if you save them to disk), source code, precious photos, that sort of thing, which cannot be replaced, should be backed up regularly to another medium.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Mccane   (28 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #4 on Sat 12 Jan 2008 09:30 AM (UTC)
Message
With Gmail storage spaces getting higher every day, I find it to be easiest to just compress my MUSHclient files and e-mail them to myself for storage purposes. It doesn't quote beat the security of keeping a CD on-hand, but it's pretty convenient.
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #5 on Sat 12 Jan 2008 11:37 PM (UTC)
Message
Oh, on a note about this. The "One Touch 4" drives they make, which, one would assume, would be really great for making automatic backups of all your data, are actually now pretty useless. Unless you install someone else's backup program, or version 3.0 or earlier, it will only back up files "it" recognizes, from the "current" user, and files it won't backup ***ever***, no matter what you do, including hacking its list of file extensions, include silly little things like... Firefox bookmarks, configuration files for a lot of programs, certain documents if they are not the right "type", and pretty much anything that might be generated by a compiler, or other method, which falls into its "do not backup" list, and which is probably critical for anything you wrote yourself to work properly.

Basically, the new drives, while nice and big, have software that is foo-bar (i.e. totally worthless by design).

If you can find a backup program to auto-copy everything to such a drive, or just critical ones to an SD card, or a flash drive, etc., it is still the best solution and can save you a "lot" of grief. ;)
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Posted by Shaun Biggs   USA  (644 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #6 on Sun 13 Jan 2008 04:51 PM (UTC)
Message
Quote:
If you can find a backup program to auto-copy everything to such a drive, or just critical ones to an SD card, or a flash drive, etc., it is still the best solution and can save you a "lot" of grief. ;)

It's called a script... or a batch file or whatever you call it on your system. I place no faith in "automatic" backup tools unless they backup everything, simply for the reason you stated with the One Touch drives.

Also, putting the backup data on another hard drive within your case is actually a really bad idea (I know no one has mentioned it, but I thought I'd head it off at the pass). Most hard drive failure nowadays is caused by overheating rather than wear and tear, so just keep your drives spaced out as much as possible. Also, for those of you with computers that have high running temperatures, toss in a drive bay fan (costing like 20 USD at the most) to keep your drives and processors cooler.

On a more amusing note about security, from a friend standing over my shoulder:
If I ever became a world dictator, I would store all my secret documents on 5.25 inch floppies, because then if somebody stole them, they would be like, "Great, now how will I be able to read these?"

It is much easier to fight for one's ideals than to live up to them.
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #7 on Sun 13 Jan 2008 07:10 PM (UTC)
Message
Well, first off Shaun, the one touch drives are USB *externals* with their own separate enclosure, so its not going to "overheat" from being in the case with the other drives. Second, While hard drive failures are sometimes common, I have had one SD card die on me, *while unplugged and in a protective case*. So badly in fact that it won't even reformat. So, I am not sure that is *safe* either. I also have at least one CD, which contained a lot of MP3s, which was stored, in case, someplace cool and dark, which either a) never burned right to start with, or b) died, which I can now only recover about 10% of the songs from. All in all, we simply don't know what the viability of DVDs/CDs/Blueray are *yet*, portable ones *should be* ok, but there are no guarantees there either, and tape (if you can afford it) or another hard drive is "still" the safest media to store your backups on, for decent cost.

That said, the other issue is scripts. The only "native" ones for Windows are jscript and VBscript, and both of those royally suck when trying to do anything too complex, not to mention that, unlike a decent backup utility, you couldn't install them as a service, or other system, on Windows, which could access all user accounts and do a complete backup, or even a backup of critical data from multiple users. The newest One Touches won't do that either, and that is why their software is total junk (well, that and the fact that they can't compress data, so your "backup" drive has to be bigger than your main one, and FSM help you if you have multiple drives you need to back up... Also, on some systems, you might not have access to cscript, or what ever the other one is, which are the "command line" script systems for those two languages, and only one of them supports file IO, and even then, the file IO supported is almost useless. You could install something like Autoit3, which has far better support, but then if you are doing a restore, it might not be practical to write a script with that to "restore" the data back. I am not sure if it will run stand alone, or needs to be "installed" itself to work right.

Oh, and yeah, there is an "advanced" command line scripting system you can install from Microsoft, but again, you have to "install it" to make it do anything. Ironically, it also appears to be a clone of Bash, which kind of tells us what they are possibly doing with some of their new "connections" with the Linux community. I.e., stealing shit, replicating it, then not releasing the source to anyone, while claiming they own it. Same old, same old. lol One kind of wonders how they figure someone *else* won't sue them over theft of the code for Bash, even if Novell can't, according to their deal. Then again, all they would have to do is borrow the code from Unix needed to make their script system act like Bash, and side step that issue, I guess... But its definitely the same BS they have pulled before, every time they wanted to shift the landscape to reposition themselves and bury some competitor.
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,322 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #8 on Sun 13 Jan 2008 07:34 PM (UTC)

Amended on Sun 13 Jan 2008 07:36 PM (UTC) by Nick Gammon

Message
It might be worth mentioning what I use for backups here, as I am reasonably happy with it. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSLU2

The NSLU2 is a small device (about the size of a hard disk drive) that sits on its little feet, and plugs into the power via a power-pack. It has 3 other ports - two USB ports and an Ethernet port.

It runs a version of Linux, which is burnt into its firmware. The device itself has no moving parts and is therefore reasonably unlikely to fail, per se.

The idea is you plug it into your home network via the ethernet port, and plug in two USB drives of your own choosing (I think I have 2 x 300 Gb drives plugged into it).

You configure by connecting to its internal web server via any web browser, and set up user names and "shares", which effectively lets you divvy up the disk space as you see fit.

In my case for example, I allocate share names to myself, my wife and children, so each can back up their files to their personal area, and access that regardless of which PC/laptop they are currently using.

An important feature is that you can configure it to, at a specified time (eg. midnight each night), copy all of disk A to disk B, thus making a second copy of all your files.

Thus if either disk ever fails (and they probably won't both fail on the same day), you keep the one that still works, and replace the bad one, and thus you still have your files (as at last night anyway), and next night they are all backed up again.

Since it implements a network disk (via Samba) you can mount the drives as ordinary Windows shared disks, and you can also get at them via OS/X (which also supports Windows shares).

There is also an inbuilt ftp server, so you can ftp to the drives if you happen to run Linux on your main PC, and send/receive files that way. Also recent Linux versions support Samba shares (eg. under Ubuntu you do something like: smb://shared_disk/shared_folder) so you can also mount them as shared disks as well.

Finally I tested what would happen if the NSLU2 did in fact die, so I took the drives and plugged them into the USB port of my main PC, whilst running Ubuntu from a standalone boot disk, and they appeared fine there (they are formatted with the ext3 Linux file system).

I think this is a pretty failsafe system - to lose all your data both drives have to die virtually simultaneously. Since the USB drives are stand-alone they are not in close proximity so heat should not cause both to fail at once. You could always buy different brands so that if there is a design fault it shouldn't occur to both at once.

Plus you could periodically upgrade them (eg. to 1 Tb drives) to give you more capacity, and more peace of mind as you are using newer hardware.

I can only see two major problems, a fire which would probably destroy everything, and theft, where a thief might make off with both drives. Possibly a power surge might take them both out, but you would plug them into a surge protector.

To guard against that I would periodically back up copies to CDROM (or DVD) and keep them offsite, eg. at a friend's place. The trouble is, even DVDs have less capacity them modern drive. I suppose another approach for off-site backups would be to buy a third USB drive, and simply command the unit to make a full backup, and then store the USB drive off-site.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Onoitsu2   USA  (248 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #9 on Sun 13 Jan 2008 08:41 PM (UTC)
Message
As the question was posed by Shadowfyr, AutoIt3 can be "compiled" which actually compresses the script and the interpreter into a single executable, usually about 150-400k in size. It can be used on most any Win32 platform, even things running in a PE mode (Windows Live CD)

You can even make things run as a system service, I forget what the program name was, but if you look on the AutoIt forums for service you will find a link and instructions on making your creation whomp on windows flaws.

My backup scheme is VERY lacking, but that is only due to funds being lacking. But then again I have never had a drive failure, only a partition, which allowed things to be 100% recoverable. I know how to care for my drives and to optimize them for long life. In fact I've had more backups, the few times I have backed things up, fail than the actual data.
Oh yeah, did I mention I have used XP Pro since it was SP0, and kept that until 9 months ago, when I had to streamline my CD's to install on someone's newer computer that had hardware that was minimum SP2 compatible. And with all the things I tweak, and programs I use for odd things, one would assume I would run into corruption and other issues at least once in the past 7 years. And did I mention I have a 2 year old that loves to play frisbee with my CD's, and never had a problem "fixing" them to be readable. I guess I am just lucky when it comes to the lifetime of my data.

-Onoitsu2
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Posted by Shaun Biggs   USA  (644 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #10 on Mon 14 Jan 2008 04:16 PM (UTC)
Message
I hate to quote myself, but to keep the defensiveness going about the OneTouch drives being external, I did specifically state that no one had mentioned internal solutions for backups until I brought it up:
Quote:
putting the backup data on another hard drive within your case is actually a really bad idea (I know no one has mentioned it, but I thought I'd head it off at the pass).


Onoitsu: AutoIt is an amazing tool, but as Shadowfyr said, there isn't much that comes with Windows to allow decent scripting. You still have to download/install something. As for creating a backup tool with AutoIt, you can just compile the program and back that up with whatever extraction tool you made. That way if something bad happens to your files, you can just chuck everything onto the new drive and go.

I too have had great luck with a lack of hard drive failure. *knocks on wood* The only issue being with a Windows install around 2002 suddenly deciding that it couldn't boot off of my hard drive. So, I installed Win98 again on a new hard drive to copy over the old data, which Win98 couldn't read. Then I installed Linux, and found out the drive worked fine. That settled the debate for me when XP came out :) I don't even take particularly good care of my drives, aside from making sure they are nicely spaced out, as well as cleaning the inside of my machine every month or two.

It is much easier to fight for one's ideals than to live up to them.
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Posted by Onoitsu2   USA  (248 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #11 on Mon 14 Jan 2008 08:58 PM (UTC)
Message
Seems like nobody can get what my name means, so lemme explain it :)

OhNOITSyoU2 (too)

I hope that clarifies my name, so I am not called Onoitsu, as most people think of me as Asian, or originating from a country near that region.

Just a little OCD thing I have :)

-Onoitsu2
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #12 on Mon 14 Jan 2008 09:25 PM (UTC)
Message
FWIW, your explanation didn't make much sense to me. :-P (Unless you were trying to say that the name means: "oh no it's you too"?)

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Shaun Biggs   USA  (644 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #13 on Tue 15 Jan 2008 12:15 AM (UTC)
Message
Ding ding ding ding... we have a winner... he is "Oh no, it's you too!" I'm just too lazy to hit a number key. Maybe I'll just use the nickname "Ono", until someone accuses him of causing the break up of the Beatles. Yeah, that's the ticket.

It is much easier to fight for one's ideals than to live up to them.
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #14 on Tue 15 Jan 2008 02:52 AM (UTC)
Message
Yeah. Never had a drive fail on me either. Worse thing that ever happened was a failed install of Fedora Core, which hit a bad disk (and these where ones I paid to have burned for me, so I didn't have to spend a year downloading it), which failed to update the boot record correctly to load Lilo, or maybe Grub.. Don't remember which one it is actually. Fixed it by skipping the "install source code and programming utilities" part of the install (which was, thankfully, the only disk that was bad). I still can't get the blasted thing off the machine now, since it installed in a bloody virtual partition, and I am not too sure of my ability to whack that, even using Fedora's own installer. I don't use it, because a) its wasn't a complete install, since I had to avoid some of the features to get it on there, and b) I can't get anything else installed while "it" is sitting one there. Sigh... Oh well. lol

But, nice to know you can do some more stuff with Autoit than I realized. Just wish it was Lua. I need to learn that, and haven't had anything that I *can* do with it in Mushclient, which has caught my interest enough to bother learning it. Kind of hard to get interested when I have spent most of my time since like a year ago playing EQ2, instead of muds. :p
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