Solving the Sorry PowerPoint can’t read ^0 error

So there I was opening a PowerPoint file from my OneDrive folder when I got this error message: Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read ^0.

What was happening? Well first some background.

My iMac’s fusion drive had failed, I had it replaced and then reinstalled OS X before using the migration assistant to restore my iMac files, applications and preferences.

Well there I was thinking everything had gone so well. I had virtually no data loss, so was pleased I had managed to get things sorted. However I was annoyed when opening a PowerPoint file from my OneDrive folder I got an error message.

I got this error message: PowerPoint found a problem with content in <file name>. PowerPoint can attempt to repair the presentation. If you trust the source of this presentation, click Repair.

The word trust made me think that this was a permissions issue rather than corruption.

I clicked Repair and then this message appeared: Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read ^0.

I wasn’t sure what was going on.

As part of my back up back in April I had backed up the files from the OneDrive folder onto my external hard drive. I hadn’t updated it since, as far as I was concerned I didn’t need to back up the OneDrive folder as it was already backed up in the cloud.

Going through the OneDrive files I realised that virtually all the files I had created or edited since the back up weren’t working and “needed repair”. I was as you might imagine rather annoyed. What was worse was the files had also synced across the cloud and my laptop.

I did some Google searching for a solution, and to be honest it wasn’t too much help. I did try and reset OneDrive but this didn’t work.

I was convinced that this was a permissions issue rather than file corruption or data loss. The file sizes looked fine for example.

In the end though I did come up with a solution.

In Finder right click the file and select Version History.

Note that this option is only available for files on OneDrive.

As you can see I had two versions of the file with the same date and timestamp.

This reinforced my opinion that this was a permissions issue.

Right click the three dots.

Then select Restore (or Download).

This then creates a new version, which will open.

The file can now be opened normally.

I’ve not worked out how to do this for multiple files, so am having to do it for each file that doesn’t open.

This process also works on Windows computers as well.

This has demonstrated that despite having an online cloud and a physical backup there was still the potential for data loss after a hard drive failure.

 

Where’s my fusion drive?

A week ago my iMac’s fusion drive failed. Despite trying to fix it myself through software the reality was that it was looking very much like a hardware failure. I booked it into the Apple Store for a repair.

Less than a week later I got a call from the Apple Store saying it was fixed and I could come and pick it up. Having driven up to the store and come home, I got my iMac out of the car and set it up. I switched on my iMac. 

The Apple Store had replaced the failing hard drive, but that was it. They had left it pretty much, from an OS X perspective as I had left it with them. The SSD was still visible, but at least now I could see the 3TB physical drive. I had to reset the fusion drive. Luckily I knew how to do this via Terminal and the diskutil resetfusion command.

I did think that this was poor, as the last time the drive failed they had reset the fusion drive and installed OS X onto the iMac. 

Having reset the fusion drive, I then set about formatting the drive and installing OS X. Decided to bite the bullet and install Big Sur, knowing full well that I had applications that I liked that I wouldn’t be able to use. Key for me was Fireworks, but I did have Photoshop which I could use instead..

Installing Big Sur didn’t take long.

Then I used the migration assistant to start moving files from the external hard drive to the iMac. This took much longer than I thought it would.

Finally after many hours it looked like my iMac was back. iMac

Getting it repaired

Well after the failure (again) of the Fusion Drive in my iMac I took it to the Genius Bar of my local Apple Store. They confirmed my diagnosis that the Fusion Drive had failed.

I had a few options.

I could replace the SATA HDD myself with another SATA HDD, which I did consider. I could replace the broken SATA HDD with a new SDD drive.

I could get someone else to do that.

However upon consideration, taking a 2014 iMac apart isn’t a simple job and would require replacing the adhesive for the glass LCD panel. So wasn’t sure I wanted to go down the road. Also the cost of a 2TB or 3TB SDD was quite expensive, though buying a 3TB HDD myself would be cheaper than what Apple was proposing to charge.

I did consider before taking it to Apple to get someone else to do this, but they would charge £84 first just to diagnose the problem, so would then charge (like Apple) for labour on top, as well as the replacement HDD cost.

What the Apple Store was proposing wasn’t excessive and so decided to go down that road.

So now they have my iMac for a week, well hopefully less time than that.

Fusion drive fails again

Back in April I had a few problems with the Fusion Drive on my 2014 iMac. So much so that I had to copy the data off the iMac onto an external drive and then reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.

Having got back to where I had been before the drive failed I was happy with going back to work on the iMac. However I was suspicious that the drive might fail again. I kept regular backups of files and photos, but I did have an expectation that the drive might fail again.

On Saturday it did just that. I was using the iMac to sort out some train tickets and other tickets when it just froze. Nothing was working, so I switched it off at the back and when I switched it back on I was rather downhearted, but not really surprised, to see the prohibitory symbol.

I booted into Recovery mode (hold down the Command and R keys when turning on and release once you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe). I ran disk utility which confirmed the Fusion Drive had failed. The SDD was working fine, but the (mechanical) hard drive had failed. A Fusion Drive us made up of an SDD drive and a standard hard disk drive combined to look like a single drive under OS X.

Luckily I hadn’t lost any data, but wasn’t sure what to do next.

I did reformat the SDD and installed OS X onto that (and even upgraded to Big Sur). The speed was very impressive and to be honest part of me did think about leaving it like this. However this wasn’t a practical long term solution as the iMac would just randomly reboot for no reason. Certainly couldn’t use the iMac for anything productive.

I did look into fixing the iMac myself, but in the end booked it into the Cribbs Causeway Apple Store Genius Bar for an appointment. The 2014 iMac counts as vintage technology (as it is just under their seven year limit) and isn’t quite obsolete, yet!

Working well

So last week the hard drive on my iMac stopped working. I had to migrate the data off the defunct drive, fix it, format it and migrate the data back again.

Well having now used it for a few days it appears to be working fine, I think it might be working even better than it was before.

However as with any drive, I will be making a regular backup of the data.

Just in case.

Really?

So last week the hard drive on my iMac stopped working. I had tried to repair the drive and reinstall Mac OS X. In the end I bought a new external hard drive and decided a new approach and in my last blog post I discussed how I was using the migration assistant to copy files and settings from the defunct drive to the new external drive, and how I had to wait….

Having left my iMac overnight I came down the following morning, slightly apprehensive I looked in on the iMac, pressed the space bar, and I was rather downhearted to see the prohibitory symbol.

Mac prohibitory symbol

Oh no, this reminded me of 2017 when the fusion drive had failed.

It looked like the whole process hadn’t worked.

So I went to make coffee, but when I came back it had gone and I saw the Migration Assistant back in full flow finalising the migration. Maybe it had worked.

Once the migration process had finished I rebooted the iMac using the external drive and everything was working now.

Well not quite, though all my data was on the external hard drive, the settings needed to be updated and various applications needed passwords and all manner of things.

So my plan for the day was to work from the external hard drive and then later reformat the iMac hard drive and migrate the data back.

To be honest I got so fed up with the spinning beachball that I started the Migration Assistant just before lunch. I took the decision not to migrate some of the user accounts, as yes I wanted to retain the data, but didn’t need it on the main machine.

So I formatted the internal iMac fusion drive, checked the health of the drive and installed a fresh copy of OS X on there. I then started the Migration Assistant, taking the data and settings from the external drive and putting it back on the internal drive.

What was interesting was how much faster this process was from external hard drive to the internal drive compared to the other way round.

It was also interesting to note that once I had completed the migration, that unlike working from the external drive, as well as no spinning beachballs, most things were working just as they were before the crash.

So, so far, all seems to be working fine.

So I waited….

So last week the hard drive on my iMac stopped working. I had tried to repair the drive and reinstall Mac OS X. In the end I bought a new external hard drive and decided a new approach.

I took the decision that I would install Mac OS X on the external drive and then from there retrieve the files from the iMac hard drive.

I could then either reformat the iMac HDD and reinstall OS X or use the external drive as the main drive. Less keen on the latter option as the drive would be significantly slower than the fusion drive on the iMac.

I am hoping that it is a software issue with the drive and not a physical problem. Regardless I did want to take off the data and try a fresh install.

If that didn’t work, then it might be a trip to the Apple Genius Bar, but I didn’t fancy spending £300 on a replacement fusion drive, especially as the computer is now eight years old and having done this already before.

So I connected the drive to the iMac by the included USB-C to USB 3.0 cable and started the iMac off in recovery mode. I did try and install OS X onto the drive, but that wasn’t going to work as the default file structure on the drive when it shipped was FAT. So I started Disk Utility and formatted the drive to APFS ready for installing Mac OS X. This all worked and went to install OS X. 

This also worked and I was feeling quite pleased, however the real challenge was going to be was moving the data and documents over from the iMac hard drive to the external drive.

However I had forgotten about the Migration Assistant, a tool I had never used. Usually when I buy a new Mac I like to start from scratch and only install the apps I know I am going to use.

However this time I thought the Migration Assistant would be a better choice.

So I said yes in the OS X install screen and selected the internal iMac drive and selected all the files I wanted migrated and then waited….

As I was told it was going to take fifteen hours…

So I waited…

What should I do?

I started thinking about what I should do with my iMac now that it wouldn’t start and I couldn’t reinstall OS X onto it.

I knew I could copy files off it, so thought about whether I should start that. However that would mean using multiple drives and using another Mac. I knew that this would take time, as moving files from one mobile drive (well the iMac in disk mode) to another takes much longer than moving them from the internal HDD to an external HDD. The Mac mini I was using to connect to the iMac only had a small SDD so wasn’t an option.

In the end I decided that I would buy a new external hard drive. 

I went with the LaCie STHG4000400 External Hard Disk Drive. I went with the 4TB version in silver.

Though I went with the USB-C interface, I knew that included was a UBS-C to USB 3.0 cable I could use with the iMac.

Having ordered that with next day delivery I turned the iMac off and left it alone.

Failure to install

Yesterday I tried to reinstall Mac OS X on my iMac which had failed to start. As I was ill I actually didn’t get back to the computer until this morning.

Alas the install process was still on the progress bar, which I knew wasn’t quite right.

Well I tried again to reinstall Mac OS X on the iMac which failed again.

I then put the iMac into disk mode and using another Mac viewed the drive, and I could see the files and documents.

I actually wasn’t too concerned about loss of data, as most of my working files are in the cloud in Dropbox and OneDrive, whilst all my images are currently backed up to Amazon Drive, as well as physical storage.

I suspected there might be a few files that I only had a single copy of, so decided not to reformat the drive and install a fresh copy of OS X.

Still feeling ill, I turned it off and went back to bed to watch Netflix.

Mac Fusion Drive failed again…

Well it had to happen didn’t it with my luck with the hard drive on my iMac.

The computer had slept the night before and I had woken up not very well so didn’t go to the computer in the morning. Though I was off work sick, I did need to start a Zoom meeting for an external consultant, but when I went to the computer pressing the space bar didn’t wake the computer.

I pressed the power button, counted to ten and pressed the power button again.

In the meantime I started Zoom on the iPad so I could do that before focusing on the iMac.

I was slightly annoyed that the iMac was now stuck on the Apple logo and progress bar.

Hmmm

Quick Google search, said to start in safe mode and identify the issue.

So turned the iMac off and attempted to restart it in Safe Mode.

Well that didn’t work.

So then tried Recovery Mode to repair the disk using Disk Utility. This did launch successfully, which was slightly reassuring that maybe it wasn’t a physical problem with the disk, but a software issue with the disk.

I ran Disk Utility, that indicated a few errors, so decided to reinstall Mac OS on the drive. I started this and left it to it.