How to Recover Printed Files

By Jennifer Guy

Losing a file that you have worked hard on can be extremely frustrating, but if you act fast, you can recover printed files from your computer. Windows creates a temporary file every time you print, which is temporarily stored in the spool directory. Creating the spool file allows you to return to your program faster while the computer converts your work into a printable file in the background. Windows saves most files even if they have been deleted, so you can recover if you accidentally delete one.

Things You'll Need

  • PC
  • Printer

Check your PC's Spool Folder

Step 1

Search for the \"Spool\" folder on your PC by clicking the \"Start\" button. Go to \"Search,\" type in \"Spool\" and click \"Enter\" on you keyboard. You can find the spool folder in the C:\\Windows\\System32 directory on most PCs.

Step 2

Open the \"Printers\" folder and search for the file you printed. The file will have a different extension, such as .tmp or .001.

Step 3

Right-click on the file and choose \"Copy.\" Go to the location you need it stored, right-click and choose \"Paste\" to save it to the correct folder. Rename the file by right-clicking the file and choose \"Rename\" to change the file extension to the original file type, such as .doc.

Step 4

Right-click the file and choose \"Print\" to resend to the printer.

Search for the File

Step 1

Check the Recycle Bin for a file that has been deleted. Go to the Desktop and double-click the \"Recycle Bin.\" Scroll through the files for your deleted file.

Step 2

Do a file search by clicking \"Start\" and then \"Search\" and typing the file name without the extension.

Step 3

Click \"Advanced Search\" if your file is not found in Search. Choose \"Everywhere\" for location, today's date for \"Date\" and check the \"include non-indexed, hidden, and system files\" box. Hit \"Enter\" and look for your file in the results list.