Microsoft Office

My wife is having a nightmare day. She works extensively on Word and Excel online. Today Word just stopped saving. We auto recovered something, saved it as, and it existed as a viewable clickable document in her Dropbox account for a few minutes, then gone without a trace. She took her HP laptop to the Geek Squad. They couldn’t help her, they’re keeping it for a couple days. She borrowed her supervisor’s laptop and the same issue started cropping up—she lost another couple hours of work. I’ve never seen anything like it. Anybody got any advice?

Is her Dropbox full? The free version has very little storage.

She pays and has “an assload” of space.

does she use SmartSync?

does she also have a GoogleDrive/OneDrive set up? Hopefully her Dropbox folder was not moved inside one of those.

I am a power user and Dropbox software is basically flawless, unlike the steaming pile OneDrive

Get a Mac.

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So, just to make sure I’ve got this right… she was using Word Online (the web-based Word that is part of Office 365) to edit a document, tried to save it directly to Dropbox, and the file appeared and disappeared?

She may be fucked. The desktop versions of Word/Excel at least have an autorecover cache in the file system that you can dig into with fingers crossed, but unsaved edits in the cloud are often dust in the wind. Was there any sort of message on the screen about saving not working, and why?

Is her Office 365 account a personal account, or one issued by her employer? If the latter, then her IT department and/or Microsoft support will need to get involved, since either the problem or the solution may be impacted by organizational settings that only they can tinker with.

Did she have trouble saving other documents, or just this one? What browser was she using, and did she try any other browsers?

Regardless, since the problem presented on two different PCs, it’s pretty unlikely that her specific laptop is the problem, so go get it back from Geek Squad. They suck anyway.

If she has the Dropbox app installed on her computer, one thing you can try is to check the Dropbox cache folder on her laptop. If the file existed in her account long enough that the sync app picked it up, it’s possible that a copy of the document is still in there somewhere. Also, on Dropbox on the web, make sure “Show deleted files” is turned on, and check the Deleted Items folder.

Lastly, we must remember that a Microsoft product is at the heart of this matter. Even their mature products like Windows 10 and Office 2019 suffer from various longstanding minor bugs dating back to the late 90s and early 2000s that Microsoft hasn’t bothered to fix. Office Online is a much newer product - even Google Docs/Sheets is more mature - so I can only imagine the host of new bugs that Microsoft hasn’t stamped out yet.

Overall… you live by the cloud, you die by the cloud, and letting cloud services like O365/OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, etc. directly interact with each other is a risky practice. They may say it’s fine, and it may be fine most of the time, but when shit goes south they’ll point the finger at each other and you’ll be stuck in the middle. I know that’s cold comfort right now, but that’s the reality of it.

Office 365 is horrible.

Most of it is fine, and a decent alternative to Google for orgs that need Exchange/Sharepoint/etc. But the Office Online apps suck.

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So she was finally able to get around the situation by redoing everything into a different template. The geeks identified a couple different forms of malware on her laptop. We’re going to just use the desktop installed versions of the software from here on out. I am lobbying for her company to switch to GoogleDocs but that looks unlikely.

Thanks to all for your help.