Question about AT&T 1738 Digital Answering Machine

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Recovering deleted voice messages

ATT Answering System 2256/1256

Need to recover seven deleted telephone messages.  Imperative that I do so as I was saving telephone messages from granddaughter (2-3 years old) since 2006.  I intended to save to a disk (once I figured that out) and hit the wrong combination of buttons. 

I have contacted Customer Service for ATT but have not yet had a reply and it may not be the answer I am looking for.

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Re: Recovering deleted voice messages

Hello, Please don't give me bad marks for being candid and honest, and the bearer of bad news. I have been personally offered up to $5000 to retrieve a legal issue, and many offers over the last 20 years to help recover loved ones voices on digital answering machines. And I am sorry to say that I have never been able to. You see when the memory is stored, its not imprinted on a disc or tape, it is stored on chips in a binary code. If it was permanently imprinted, like a disc or a tape it can be extracted under the right conditions, even if "deleted", everyone watches CSI right? But in the case of answering machines and many other logic devices, the chips that hold this data are very limited in their retention, and the data is not imprinted, being held by a thread of small voltage when the power is off. Some devices have methods to "dump" the old data (such as scrolling the caller id to a certain amount), and some answering machines merely "shut down" and reboot when their memory is exceeded. But in the digital answering machine, there are two ways people lose their messages, and they are gone forever I am sorry to say. If they delete the messages or greetings, the circuits "flush" out the old data, and wait for new data, and its gone. This feature is actually needed to prevent everyones machines from filling up the memory, and then shutting down. The other reason is that they were saving messages, and the machine "lost" them, or will not run at all from a power surge. The first problem is most likely from a loss of voltage from a backup battery, super capacitor, or an error that needed to be fixed by a self boot sequence(and flushing of data). The second failure is normally catastrophic and when the hardware is damaged and needs repair(if it can be repaired), it has to be re-initialized to reboot and function properly, thus flushing out any old data, and loading the default program. Normally most failures, even minor, will short the power of the device, which provides the chips with the tiny voltage to hold the data. Sometimes theres a battery or a super capacitor to hold the voltage, and "flash" memory, which are all not having the data imbedded in the memory material. I do have a little good news. With my experience, I have found, and recommend that people purchase an old fashioned standard tape machine and use it as a answering machine, or as a recorder for those precious messages and greetings. Sorry I wish I had a silver bullet. CG

Posted on Oct 31, 2008

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