Interviewer data disappearance / recovery

Hello all! I have an unusual data recovery problem. The last time I ran the program, Network Canvas Interviewer did not show any imported study protocols or completed interviews. Everything was gone, as if a fresh install. I did not do anything to cause this change, but I do have to use a virtual PC maintained by my university, so I am guessing this is due to a change on their end in the virtual environment (I am going to meet with IT support about this).

I regularly export my data but the most recent interview has been lost. I think that NC stores its local files somewhere in the AppData folders? For example, I think I can see the imported protocols at this file path:

“C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Network Canvas Interviewer\protocols”

This is where things get weird, because I can see that the protocols are still present at this filepath on the virtual machine. But Network Canvas Interviewer does not “see” these files anymore. It is as though they have become disconnected. (Again, this was probably caused by a change by the university IT.)

Here are my questions:

  1. Can I redirect Network Canvas to “see” the correct local files again? I can see that this might be possible in the Developer Tools window, but I don’t know how to do this.

  2. Alternatively, can I recover the data directly? Where does Interviewer store interview data? Is it possible to copy those files to open them on a different PC?

OS: Windows 10 x64
Network Canvas Interviewer v6.5.2

Thank you,

Hey Will.

Really sorry to hear about this trouble. It does sound to me very much like you’ve had an issue relating to the path of your AppData directory changing as a result of changes to your windows profile outside of Interviewer. You’re absolutely correct that Interviewer uses a Windows profile specific path for storing data, and so it makes sense that a change that would impact this path (for example changing domain or using a domain as part of a login) would cause Interviewer to no longer be able to “see” your data.

First things first, I would advise you to create backup of all user profiles and associated local data. We don’t want to mess up and lose data that was otherwise recoverable. Please create a backup of everything under C:\Users. You mention this is a VM, so there might be other profiles containing other user’s data. You may need the support of your IT department with this.

Next, you can see where Interviewer is looking for data by pasting the following into the developer console and pressing enter:


If the path this command returns is different from the path where you are seeing your protocol files (and other data) then we have identified the issue.

In general, it should be safe to copy data from one profile app data directory to another. So in that case the “fix” will be to do exactly this - close the app, and copy all data (files and folders) from wherever it currently is to wherever the app is looking for it. Then restart the app. Ensure that you really do copy everything - not just the protocols directory (the interview sessions are actually stored in Electron’s localStorage folder, which is a directory up from there).

So to be clear, say the command above returned the path C:\Users\You123\AppData\Roaming\Network Canvas Interviewer, and you found protocol data that looks like what you lost in C:\Users\You456\AppData\Roaming\Network Canvas Interviewer\protocols, you should copy the contents of C:\Users\You456\AppData\Roaming\Network Canvas Interviewer to C:\Users\You123\AppData\Roaming\Network Canvas Interviewer .

There is some additional possible complexity with roaming vs local profiles, but let’s start with this and let me know how you get on.


Hey Joshua,

Thanks very much for the clear response! I think I understand what I need to do. The offending laptop is in the field so I won’t be able to try this until Thursday, but I’ll let you know how it goes later this week.


1 Like

Hey Joshua,

Thanks again for your previous advice! I was able to carry out your instructions. Unfortunately, it didn’t solve the issue for us. The command prompt returned the expected path, i.e., it was pointed at the correct folder in AppData after all. I wasn’t able to find the “second location” that I hypothesized before. I still copied the contents of the targeted AppData folder and opened them on a different PC, which did successfully reproduce the new (mostly empty) Network Canvas environment including a few new cases. The 33 cases completed before this unexplained reset are nowhere to be found.

In short, it seems like our Network Canvas experienced a hard reset and 33 cases disappeared (along with the loaded protocols). One day they were there, the next day they were gone. I still don’t know if this has to do with the virtual machine or something IT was messing with behind the scenes (they don’t know either). Fortunately, 32 of the cases were exported and backed up so we only lost one.

If you have any other suggestions I would be happy to try, but I’m at a loss!

Hey Will

Sorry to hear that - any kind of data loss is a nightmare scenario that I of course take very seriously. Glad to hear you recovered all cases but one.

Based on what you’ve said, I don’t think we have enough information to be able to say that there’s actually a problem with Interviewer. We’ve not had anyone else report any issues like this, and we’ve certainly never encountered this problem ourselves. The mechanisms we use to store data aren’t written by us - they are actually provided by our framework, Electron, and are the as the Chrome web browser uses. I am fairly confident that unless something really strange happened (such as the app crashing in the middle of writing data) there isn’t a way this could have been caused by a bug on our side.

If you find out any further information that might help us understand what happened, please do let me know. Otherwise I think we should put this down to something unfortunate external to the software.

Thanks for using the software, and speak soon (under hopefully better circumstances!).

I think you are probably right. The virtual environment we use has stability issues, so I expect it has to do with that rather than Interviewer. Thanks!

1 Like