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ThmbIf you live in a country where power outages are common then pay heed. Then again, if the power utility company doesn’t get you, a buggy OS  just might. Even if you manage to evade all disasters how often can you escape Murphy’s Law? Doesn’t it say – If anything can go wrong it will.

With the case of MS Word documents, usually it’s right before we press the save button. Bang! All that unsaved hard work goes down as lost bytes. But for a failsafe device built into MS Word.

AutoRecover is the supposedly goof-proof mechanism that can get back our documents after an accidental closure. By default, MS Word 2007 makes an automatic file save every 10 minutes. I am an average Joe, but there are times when I can get a lot done in 10 minutes. Sometimes, I am an average dunce too because I forget to continuously save the work. That’s why the need to pay closer attention to the AutoRecover setting makes for good foresightedness.

AutoRecover is not a productivity substitute for the normal save operation. Saving our files consistently and continuously is a best practice.

AutoRecover to the rescue

    1. Following a crash or an abnormal close of a document, the Document Recovery Task Pane appears with a prompt when Word is restarted.

autorecover word

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    1. The pane on the left hand side lists the files (usually three of the most recent) that Word managed to recover.

autorecover word

    1. The file name is qualified by a status indicator which gives an idea of the stage of recovery. Original indicates that the file is the same as was during the last manual save. Autosaved indicates that the file has managed to recover data between the last manual save and up to the last AutoRecover process.
    2. With the Document Recovery Task Pane, you can open and check the files for lost content. Save the most recent version (or all of them) and delete the rest.

autorecover word

Where are the auto-recovered backups stored?

    1. By default the files are placed as temporary files here (Windows XP) – C:\Documents and Settings\[User]\Application Data\Microsoft\Word. The files have the extension ASD (Word Automatic Backup).
    2. The AutoRecover location can be modified by providing an alternate folder location. Click on the Office button – Word Options – Advanced ““ Scroll down to the General section on the right hand pane – Click on File LocationsModify the location for AutoRecover under File Types by assigning a different folder.

how to recover word document from autosave

Insure your documents by changing the AutoRecover interval

As mentioned before, MS Word normally auto-saves a document every 10 minutes. Is it too much for you or is it too less? A few steps into Word’s settings and you can change the interval to your liking. If you are the forgetful sort, a more frequent auto-save could be the pill.

    1. Start with the Office button.
    2. Click on Word Options. Go to Save found on the left hand column. For the section Save Documents, come to the entry – Save AutoRecover information every X minutes.

how to recover word document from autosave

  1. Change the time interval to your liking. Every 5 minutes should be just fine.

AutoRecover consumes resources, so too frequent an interval could hit performance.

Microsoft Office Suite has the AutoRecover option enabled for Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Visio and Word. In OneNote, a five second auto-save is the default (That’s why it does not have a Save button.)

In a perfect world the practice of save early and save would be followed to the letter. Unfortunately, our world isn’t one. That’s why the AutoRecover option does its best to safeguard our hard work.

Is your auto-recovery set to the default? How often has it brought you back from the brink?

  1. annalee851014
    November 3, 2015 at 3:26 am

    If you cannot find any of your Word, Excel, PPT or other Office files on your Mac, you might have met file loss situation. But don't lose your hope, if your action is fast, uFlysoft Mac Data Recovery Tool can help you to recover the lost files on your Mac no matter what reasons make the files loss problem happen.

    • Saikat Basu
      November 3, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Thanks for the recommendation. Will look into it.

  2. Kelly Irwin
    September 11, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    I recently made the colossal mistake of installing Windows 10.
    I had NO problems with the auto save function in Windows 2007 before this.
    The day before yesterday, my computer did a re-boot. 'no problem', I thought. 'I'll just click on the auto saved files when I log back in'. NOT!!!!

    The (laughingly) new and improved version of Windows has, somehow, disabled that function. Even though in my sittings I can browse the folders where the auto saved documents 'should' be, it is EMPTY!!

    I've lost a lot of valuable writing and I have no way of retrieving it.

    Needless to say.. Microsoft Windows 10, NOT impressed!!!!

  3. ry :]
    September 28, 2009 at 3:07 am

    i love how online office suites usually autosave work about every 2 minutes, depending on if you type much.
    google autosaves most things, like emails draft in gmail, and also when writing in docs.
    the integration makes it very handy too :]

  4. Tim aka UpDownMostly
    September 23, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Good article, still getting used to 2007 features and where to locate settings.

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