How to Retrieve an Unsaved Word Document

By Anni Martin

If you use a computer long enough, you will experience data loss. Sometimes, a computer crashes because someone tripped over the power cord, or lightning strikes and takes the power down. Microsoft Word 2007 tries to save data in a crash by placing it in an AutoRecover location which is the first place to look if the file does not appear when you restart the computer. If you deleted the AutoRecover location, Word tries to save the file to a temporary file. The AutoRecover (ASD) files are saved every few minutes, which can be modified.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word 2007

AutoSave and Recovery

Step 1

Restart the computer and Word after the crash. When Word opens, it looks for ASD files and displays them in the Document Recovery Task Pane. To the right of the file name is a status indicator, such as "Original," indicating the file is the original based on the last save or "Recovered" meaning the file is what was saved in the AutoSave or Recovery process.

Step 2

Open the file by clicking its file name in the Document Recovery Task Pane. You can see what was saved. If the version is not what you hoped for, click on another file in the task pane. AutoRecovery is not perfect and you might not get back all the text you typed.

Step 3

Opening several files in the Document Recovery Task Pane to find the file nearest to your last data entry. Save the file by clicking "Microsoft Office," then clicking "Save." Give the file a name and click "Save" again in the dialog box.

AutoRecover File Location and Modification

Step 1

Start Word, then click "Microsoft Office." Click "Word Options" in the right corner of the menu.

Step 2

Click "Save" in the Word Options task panel. In the right task panel, under "Save Documents," look at where Word saves AutoRecovery documents by viewing the "AutoRecover File Location" field. If the "Save AutoRecover Information Every (X) Minutes" is not checked, your files are being saved to a temporary directory.

Step 3

Change how often files are saved by clicking the up and down arrows in the "Minutes" field. Click "OK."

Tips & Warnings

  • If your file did not automatically open and you do not see the file in the AutoRecovery location, all is not lost, according to Reed College. Look for the file in your temporary directory by opening Word and clicking "Microsoft Office," then clicking "Open." On some computers this may be as simple as C:\temp, but may also be under C:\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Temp. Navigate to the relevant Temp subdirectory and look for files with a file extension of .asd or .tmp (temporary files). Try to match date and times you worked on the file and open the file. If it is the correct file, save it.
  • AutoRecovery is available in Word 2002 and 2003, although the directions are slightly different.