How to Recover Auto Saved Files From OpenOffice

By Aaron Parson

All might not be lost when OpenOffice crashes. Use automatic recovery or check the backup directory to try to recover your work.

OpenOffice 4 automatically saves copies of your files as you work, protecting you from losing everything if the program crashes. Recovering from an AutoRecovery save is usually straightforward: reopen OpenOffice and the program walks you through the process. If the program doesn't prompt you to recover, check the backup directory manually.

Restore AutoRecovery Data

Step 1

Reopen the OpenOffice program you were using prior to the crash. When OpenOffice starts, it checks for available AutoRecovery data and prompts you to restore the lost work listed in the Status of Recovered Documents list. Click Start Recovery to attempt recovery.


If you click Cancel on this screen, OpenOffice gives you the chance to save the AutoRecovery file for later use. If you decline that offer as well, OpenOffice permanently deletes it.

Step 2

Open the document.

Click Next to load the successfully recovered document and report the crash. To load the document without reporting the crash, click Cancel instead. Both options give you your work back.


By default, OpenOffice saves AutoRecovery data every 15 minutes. To change this interval, open the Tools menu and click Options. Expand the Load/Save section, select General and set the Save AutoRecovery Information Every value.

Browse AutoRecovery Data

Check the AutoRecovery backups.

When OpenOffice doesn't start recovery automatically or recovery fails, check the backup directory for any usable files. Press Windows-R to open the Run dialog, enter %appdata%\OpenOffice\4\user\backup and click OK. Open any files you find in this folder to see if they contain your lost work.


If this directory doesn't exist, check the location for backups in the Paths section of the OpenOffice Options window and use that location instead.

Load Backup Saves

Load a backup file.

In addition to saving AutoRecovery data, OpenOffice has an option to save a backup every time you save a file. OpenOffice keeps the latest backup in the same directory as AutoRecovery files, but gives it the extension BAK. To open a BAK file, first open the OpenOffice program you were using, and then drag the BAK file onto OpenOffice's title bar.


OpenOffice does not save these backups by default. Check Always Create Backup Copy directly above the AutoRecovery interval setting in the options to enable their creation.