How to Recover Printed Files

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Individuals who print content on a regular basis may find that they have accidentally misplaced a recently printed document and no longer have the file they need to recreate it. Situations like this sound very much like a nightmare, but they definitely don't have to be. Fortunately, a number of printer hardware and software programs being developed today provide users with tools to archive their printed documents, ensuring that a copy is only a click away in times of need. With that in mind, the odds of you being able to recover unsaved printed documents, although perhaps not entirely in your favor, are certainly better than they have been at any point in the past.


Whether or not you will be able to recover printed files depends largely on the software and hardware you are using, and the configurable settings within your computer. As a first step, you should enabled print logging in your operating system. On a Windows computer, this can be accomplished by opening the "Event Viewer," which is accessible through the "Run" window by typing "eventvwr.msc" immediately following the "Open" command.

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Once the Event Viewer has been opened, you will need to access the "PrintService" folder. This particular folder contains all relevant operational controls for users who are seeking to tweak the detailed workings of their printer. Within this menu, you can right-click the "Operational" tab and select "Enable Log" in order to active print logging.


Accessing Your Printer Log

From this point forward, the file name of any document which you send to your printer will be archived. You can print out a complete listing of your printer log by first opening the "Devices and Printers" menu within the "Settings" menu and then selecting the "See What's Printing" option made available by right-clicking your designated printer icon.

Reprint a Document From Printer Memory

When it comes time to print your document, you will likely have the option within your printer menu to save the document in question as a PDF. This could prove particularly useful if you are printing a large number of documents on a daily basis and are concerned that you may inadvertently forget to save some of the content in question.


Files you choose to save as a PDF during the print process will typically be saved in a single location, making retrieval of these documents a relatively straightforward process. Combined with the logging opportunities mentioned previously, you should be able to move forward with a thorough record of your printed documents and backup PDF copies available on your computer's hard drive and printer cache. Without resorting to purchasing third-party printing software, the steps outlined here represent the most effective options for successfully creating a digital record of all documents you have printed in recent history.