The admin will be able to see the files, do this:
1. Copy the files (that the Admin sees) outside of EPDM.
2. Perform and Undo-CheckOut on those files
3. Have the Admin or another user Get Latest and CheckOut the files.
4. Once Checked Out Copy the files outside of EPDM into the same location of the now CheckedOut files
5. Say Yes to the Overwrite file warning,
6.Check In the Files.
Disclaimer: Use this method only for EXTREME cases, where a lot of work will be lost.
I was assuming when Stephen said "computer failure" he meant the files were not retrievable from the computer hard drive. If that is the case, the changes the user made post check out are gone. If the files can be retrieved from the failed computer then your method will work.
It's my understanding that any file that is "Added" to the vault environment is Uploaded to the Server, These are know as "Private State Files"; other users won't be able to see them (at least in 2014) but the Admin will. I'm still not sure how often the Server snags these "Not Checked-In" files or versions of files, it's worked for me before.
Adrian, "Private State" only lets you (admin only 2014, other users too 2015) see that a file with a certain name exists in a certain folder. The file itself is not really in the server until checked in for the first time. It is sort of a searchable "place holder". In this case however, the files where already in the vault and checked out. If the files cannot be restored from the failed computer, changes are lost.
When a file is first dropped into a vault folder, it is added to the vault as is and is checked out to the user as a private state file. Other users can't see them but they are there, 2015 added options for all users to see them. An admin can copy them out and re-add them, minus any local edits made.
Future changes to those files though only exist on the hard drive of the machine making the changes.
A local backup drive is recommended.....unfortunately here it is deemed too expensive to give everyone an external drive for backing up local files. Since some engineers leave files checked-out on projects for long stretches of time, there is the potential for some major data loss.
All the private state files are accessible by the admin, but if a file is checked out by any user it has be checked in from same machine, same location & by same user to avoid losing the changes performed after check out operation.
Only Admin has the right to perform an undo check out operation but all changes done after checkout would be lost.
So there is no way out to recover the changes if the machine has crashed with some files checked out.
All: thanks for responding and your help is most appreciated. I am not sure the "Correct" answer given the discussion. I finally heard from our VAR and there response was that they were not accessible from the server, only from the computer that had done the check out. Since the files were no longer accessible that way, my assumption was, given the Var's response, that the files were lost. So, I went ahead and performed the admin "undo check" out which meant any work done post the last check out was lost. We are still using SW2012 with EPDM2012, so that may have been a factor in the Var's answer.
I wish I had seen Adrian's suggestion earlier; it would have been interesting to give that a try.
Again, thanks everyone,
Sorry for the confusion guys, I remember doing something similar to what I listed, but seems my memory has failed me. Thanks for the clarification on the Private State files.