Imagine writing a Word document and suddenly the application closes or the computer crashes before saving the document. It is not so difficult to find and live in everyday life. However, it can be easy to recover an unsaved Word file, using the options integrated into Microsoft word processing software and Windows file recovery solutions. This computer guide explains how to do it, in all cases.
Recover an unsaved document with Word
By default, Word uses the option to automatically save documents every ten minutes. Unsaved documents are stored by the application in a hidden folder called “UnsavedFiles”. Obviously the automatic saving time can be lowered, to minimize any data loss problems. You can retrieve unsaved documents directly from Word, by following this procedure:
- Open Word; Click on the “File” menu;
- Click on “Manage Document” in the central part;
- Select “Recover Unsaved Documents”;
- Choose the document to open it.
With this procedure, Word will take us directly to the hidden folder in which documents saved by the user are stored. Inside the folder, unsaved documents are stored with the extension “.ASD”. If file recovery is successful, you have completed the restore operation.
Search for the document in hidden folders
If it was not possible to recover a Word file not saved with the previous operation, we do not give up because this could be in some other “secret” Windows folder.
Here is a list of system folders that may contain the unsaved document …
- % Temp%
- % Appdata% \ Microsoft \ Word
- Localappdata%% \ Temp
To open these folders, simply press the key combination WIN + R and type in the path shown above, one folder at a time.
Within these folders, pay attention to the presence of files or directories that may contain the unsaved file, usually with the extension .ASD, .TMP, .DOC or .DOCX. If the document found does not have a Word extension, to open it, select the “Open with …” option and choose Word from the list of installed programs.
Use Shadow Copy and previous versions of files
If none of the Word file recovery attempts listed above worked, we just have to rely on Windows Shadow Copy to restore a previous version of the file.
First let’s try to recover the unsaved copy of the file which, perhaps accidentally was deleted …
- Press the key combination WIN + R;
- Type the path “% LOCALAPPDATA% Microsoft Office” and press ENTER;
- Right-click on the “UnsavedFiles” folder;
- Select “Restore previous versions”;
- Choose the most recent recovery date, if available.
If the Windows system configuration options are active, we should be able to recover the document, otherwise we recommend activating this Windows feature. The same procedure could also be used in other folders, in which we believe we have stored a copy of the document in the past.
How to enable Windows 10 recovery point creation …
- Press the key combination WIN + S to display the Windows 10 search box;
- Type “Create restore point” and click on the proposed item;
- Select the disk on which to disable the system protection and click on the “Configure” button;
- Select “Activate system protection”.
To recover the Shadow Copy of the files not displayed in the Windows contextual menu (solution proposed above), it will be possible to use ShadowExplorer, a program for fundamental IT technicians. It is a software that allows you to browse shadow copies of Windows and recover files or folders easily.