How To Recover An Unsaved MS Word 2010 Document In Seconds

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recover word documentThe general consensus is that most mishaps on our working with computers occur because of carelessness and an itchy trigger happy finger. It’s a bitter lesson that’s taught to us while working on documents like MS Word, MS Excel, or any other like MS PowerPoint. The lesson says – save and save early.

Even with the right MS Office etiquette in place, documents disappear from the screen before you can save them. The notorious Windows system crash or your house power on the blink could cause you to lose your work before you can click on save. Lot of times we also tend to close an unsaved document after taking a printout. So, how can you recover that unsaved MS Office document and restore your work (and also save yourself from a hair-tearing apoplectic attack)?

We turn to a little Microsoft Office 2010 feature that lets us recover document drafts in a second.

Bringing Back The Draft

Here’s my open MS Word document that will be taken through some deliberate steps to demonstrate the ‘life-saving’ feature that’s present in MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint (MS Office 2010 only).

recover word document

After closing the Word file unwittingly, open up a new MS Word document again. Go to File – Info – Manage Versions. Click on the little dropdown and select Recover Unsaved Documents. In Excel 2010 click on Recover Unsaved Workbooks or Recover Unsaved Presentations if you are in PowerPoint 2010.

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recover word 2010

MS Word opens the location where a copy of the draft resides.

recover word 2010

Now, it’s just a matter of selecting the draft, opening it up as a fresh MS Word document and saving it properly using the Save As button on the business bar at the top of the document; something which we ‘forgot ‘to do the last time around. Copies of unsaved documents are kept for four days and then they are automatically deleted.

recover word 2010

While opening the unsaved document, you can also make use of the Open& Repair feature for troubleshooting documents that might have got corrupted or damaged.

recover word 2010 document

You can browse to the following file locations to open the file manually, depending on your operating system:

Windows 7/Windows Vista: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\<Application_Name>

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<username> \Application Data\Microsoft\<App Name>

Saving of drafts takes place automatically in all applications within MS Office. The Auto Recover option kicks in if the document has been open for some period of time. You can easily change the Auto recover interval by going to File – Options – Save. The default is 10 minutes as indicated under – Save AutoRecover Information. I prefer setting it to a more frequent 3 – 5 minutes. Remember that AutoRecover may be a lifesaver, but it is not a substitute for the good habit of regularly saving your file while you are working on it.

recover word document

AutoRecover is a feature to rely on and more often than not it will help save you from all that can go wrong while working on a long document. Microsoft Office 2010 makes it slightly easier to get back an unsaved document than the earlier versions of Office. If you are still on MS Office 2007, check out how you can use AutoRecover to come to your rescue. We have a substantial lineup of other MS Word tips for you. Were you aware of this one?

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55 Comments - Write a Comment

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Socrtwo

Wow, nice work.  Didn’t know about recovering unsaved documents is now a feature in MS Office and it’s my business to know about data recovery from MS Office.

Saikat Basu

Well, it was possible in 2007 too but in a more roundabout way. 2010 has made the process a lot easier. Both depend on the Auto Recover function.

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Priyanka Bhowmick

nice but I can’t see the ‘File’ option in Word. 

Roozbeh

On Word 2007 you can click on the MS Office logo on top right position of the screen instead of File tab on MS 2010. 

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Socrtwo

It’s only Word 2010 not Word 2007 or 2003.

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Pedro Parkero

“Manage versions”? You mean Word 2010 can track changes in the document and save the in different autorecover files? That’s cool if ever I mistakenly overwrite a file…

Saikat Basu

True. You can manage different versions of the document and also get to
compare different auto saved versions. You can review different
versions, delete or recover previous auto saved versions. You can literally use it to track all the changes made to the document while editing.

ryan

I checked recover unsaved files, thrash bin and i havent had any luck

ryan

i need help i havent had any luck on anything including recover unsafed files and trash bin

Saikat

Maybe, Word couldn’t autosave the document before the program closed. The default is 10 minutes and it just seems a bit too long to me. Personally, taking my typing speed into consideration, I set it at 5 min.

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Ankur

thats a useful share 

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Txchief

anything like this in Mac 2011 version

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Erin Thornton

so anyone know what to do if you are writing on a website such as faceebook and accidently closed it?

Tina

Erin,

I’m afraid if your browser is not set to automatically temp-save these entries for you, then you can not do anything once the text is gone.

This would be a question for MakeUseOf Answers and I think you did submit it and I couldn’t publish it.

If you would like to know how to set up your browser so that this won’t ever happen to you (again), feel free to post a new question and do include which operating system and browser, including which versions, you are using.

JFisher

Never start a long post in any browser based editor… always type the desired post in something as simple as Notepad…when finished, copy paste.

JFisher

I have tried and tested this 8 ways from Sunday… and still have yet to find a recovered document or any previous versions of the document I started with. Using Word 2010 .

I set auto save timer to 1 min, began typing, minimized for several minutes, typed a few more lines, repeat for a good 15 minutes. Close doc, answer no to saving. Open Word, no trace of the draft I started with.

Is there some other mystical procedure required to trigger the autosave feature? What am I missing here?

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Paul D Pruitt

Erin,

Try using Chrome or FireFox and then install Lazarus: http://lazarus.interclue.com/.  You need to keep the installation up to date.

I also know with Chrome if you shut down a tab with text in it you can right click on any remaining tab and choose “Reopen closed tab” and the closed tab, say of Facebook, should reappear with your typed text still there…

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Smiles_across_miles

When i click Recover Unsaved Documents the folder of unsaved files opens ut its empty….my required document is not in there…=(

Saikat Basu

It’s not a hidden file but just try refreshing the folder. You can try searching for the file using Windows Search. Follow the steps mentioned here on this Support article.

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david

thank you so much you are a saviour man i thought i lost all my hours of work

Reply

Shai

Thanks,
Its help me so much

Reply

Iraj Pourali

Excellent ; Many Many Many thanks

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Bella

THANKS!!!!!! You are a life saver

Saikat

It’s nearly four years since I wrote this. Since then, I have got married and have had more experiences! Glad to know it’s still helping out our readers :)

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Bill M

This is such a life- and time-saver! Thanks. The process was soooooooo simple in Word 2010.
Bill

Saikat

Thanks Bill. The little features that help us BIG are the best :)

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Leon

thanks so much. saved my life. accidentally exit word without saving the exam notes i prepared for hours.

Saikat

You are welcome Leon. There are some tips that are must-haves in our emergency toolkit. This is one of them.

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manny

i mistakenly clicked the don’t save bottom on work i have done for hours. it has no file name.
Any help?

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manny

i mistakenly clicked the don’t save bottom on work i have done for hours. it has no file name. I’m using a MAC
Any help?

Saikat

The process is similar. I am unsure about the exact path in a Mac. Maybe, you can ask in our Answers section.

Reply

hc

There’s a place for you in heaven broth.

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Elle

Wow, thank you–you just saved me an hour’s worth of work!

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Jeremy

Thank you so much.

Reply

Shark

THANK YOU SO MUCH I WAS TYPING A PAPER AND ACCIDENTILY PRESSED CTRL INSTEAD OF SHIFT AND THEN PRESSED W AND I WAS LIKE FOCK IM SCREWD

Reply

X

Thank You! It Works!

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funmi

Hhmmm
Glad to see I am not alone.
I almost cried when it happened to me today.
A legal opinion I sent hours editing and writing wasn’t saved cos I thought I had saved it earlier.
I was literally sweating and opening anything that looked similar to it but nope! It was gone.
However thanks to google I got s solution.
So relieved.
But isn’t four days a bit small.
What if you don’t discover it until later?

Saikat

The way to avoid those tears is to just get into a habit of saving those documents! Isn’t it. But then this article wouldn’t have got so many clicks :)

Four days is quite a lot in my opinion. Usually, when we don’t save a document it stays on the top of our minds. Doesn’t it.

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lillian

bless your soul this worked for me! i though i lost everything, highly appreciate it.

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Princess Williams

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!! I CAN KISS YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!

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elizabeth

i kind of love you right now. thanks a billion :-)!

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Melissa

This just saved me from losing a days worth of work. Thank you so much! So much love for you right now

Reply

Primvon

THANKS A TON MY SAVIOR
YOU CAN FREELY USE MY BODY
to be your pillow, cushion or something
THANKS A LOT

Reply

JFisher

I have tried and tested this 8 ways from Sunday… and still have yet to find a recovered document or any previous versions of the document I started with. Using Word 2010 .

I set auto save timer to 1 min, began typing, minimized for several minutes, typed a few more lines, repeat for a good 15 minutes. Close doc, answer no to saving. Open Word, no trace of the draft I started with.

Is there some other mystical procedure required to trigger the autosave feature? What am I missing here?

Saikat

Was the “Keep the last autosaved version” check box selected?

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JFisher

“Was the “Keep the last autosaved version” check box selected?”

Yes

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Pratima

I was sent a word doc by mail. when I opened it I noticed it said read only, but word allowed me to make edits. In the meantime my computer froze and I had to completely power down. Si is there any way for me to recover those edits? I don’t see any files with the recovered unsaved documents button…

Saikat

If you don’t see the files, then unfortunately no. Probably, the auto-save didn’t have time to kick in before the computer shut down.

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jobyk

wow, this was so helpful! Thank u for putting this out there! I couldn’t get the manage version option but I found the file through the user/app data option. You saved me!

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Olaf Burch

Definitely will work to recover an unsaved MS Word 2010 document. But if I face the same problem in higher or below version of MS Word then there will be any recovery option available to sort out this problem. I faced inaccessible Word document problem in Microsoft Word 2003 and follow this http://www.mytechlogy.com/IT-blogs/7045/how-to-open-inaccessible-document-in-microsoft-word-2003 to access my corrupted file. If you know any others please suggest me.

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Marc

My turn! Thanks so much. I was just one page, but now I will remember. And I bookmarked this web page.

Cheers!
M.

Saikat

Thanks Marc. Glad it helped.

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Phil

Saikat, thanks so much. I found my unsaved document finally using C:UsersAppDataRoamingMicrosoft .

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H

OMG this just saved my life!! All my exam notes gone with a click of a button and back within the hour. Phew!!!!!

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Shelley

thank you so much – you saved my sanity today!

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