How To Recover Unsaved Word Documents? [Hacks & Mods]

Have you ever accidentally closed a word document without saving it? Yes, we have all been through those typical OMG situations.

However did you know that there is a way to recover unsaved word documents, or create a provision to automatically documents?

Also Read: Microsoft Word Alternatives | Microsoft Office Alternatives

Microsoft Word 2007 and above has an option to setup auto recovery of documents.

Go to the Word option (Microsoft Word 2007) from the word menu and navigate to Advanced tab, you will find various unchecked boxes, now check Always create backup copy then Allow background saves that will help you to recover files automatically in the future. The backup of word files are saved with .wbk extension.

In addition to that you can also recover documents from temporary file locations, here is where you might want to look at.

  • C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Word
  • C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Temp

Thanks to Rockstar Sid, for this useful tip.

Don’t Forget to Check Out Some Free Alternatives for Microsoft Office And Tips and Tricks for Office

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Keith Dsouza

I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website.I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

  • DTyr

    I also “lost” a word document that I had opened from Gmail and had pressed save. Eureka! – Found it in C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files

  • liviu

    I recently downloaded a Word doc. from my email address. Opened it without saving the document… BUT as I worked on it.. I saved my work regularely Cntr+S nothing easier.
    AS I got ready to send teh file by email I closed the doc. Word did not ask me if I saved it and I did not panick because I knew I Cntr+S it constantly.
    Problem.. I can’t find the doc saved anywhere, Again when I downloaded the file I did not “officially” saved.. just opened the file. THe file is not in the downloads file or anywhere else.

    I work on a Windows 7, office 2010


    • Haggerty

      Sometimes instead of searching for the filename on the computer I will go and click to download the file again to see what folder it will default to when it asks where I want to save.
      If you never saved it to a location but instead opened it and worked on it, it might be in your temporary internet files section

  • Chris

    if you are using windows 7 on vista go to appdata, then click roaming, go to microsoft, then click on word. You are going to see a lot of ASD files that look like a bunch of junk, but open the one that fits with the date that you lost the file with word. You should then have it.

  • Michele

    OMG, OMG, OMG…. you just saved me from nearly jumping out the window!!! I worked on the stupid document all day. I did do save thru the day but in the end, when I closed the document, tiredness took control and I said NO to ‘did I want to save it’. I found it! Thanks so much!!!

  • Professor Wilson E. Herbert

    I set examinations questions title: Veritas University
    Department of Accounting: Second Semester Exam 2010/2011 session

  • Professor Wilson E. Herbert

    Please help me to recover MS Word document titled:

  • Professor Wilson E. Herbert

    Please help me to recover exam document I word-processed on 19th August 2011. What happened was that the MS Word hanged. It did not allow me to save or do any other thing. When I tried to delete some of the open files that were hanging, the system closed the document I was working on without saving it. Kindly help me to retrieve the document.

  • JP

    Lost all of my most recent data from excel. How do I retrieve it? Please Help.

  • Alysha


    Yesterday i typed a word document on my computer and i saved it on my USB. I did not to save it to the computer though. So the next day i was using my USB and it totally got fried!! I can no longer use my USB anymore and i needed a document off of it that i never saved to the computer! how can i get it restored? I have already tried to open and repair it, but it just wont work! Can u help me anyhow please??

    • John Park

      Really very informative post but few day ago my word file damage due to any problem then i am try many manual method but my file can’t be open so i am trying kernel recovery for word document . this tool recover my damage file with in 5 clicks.

  • Helene

    Dear Mr DSouza

    Just wanted to say – thanks a million – after some digging around I recovered a file I had been working on for hours, and somehow the pc wouldn’t let me access it and disappeared’ it went from the list of recent docs and I was in despair….you are a star! Much gratitude coming your way! Have a great day and thanks again, H

    PS(are you Goan??? – only asking as that’s where I am typing from :) )

  • faiek

    i opened hidden folder and still nothing

  • sabrina

    I cant find what i wrote on microsoft word, my laptop (windows 2007) always temporarily saves what I write whenever i shut?
    shut the screen but this time, the cord was not plugged in, so to power save, it shut itself off and now when i opened up microsoft word, the previous work (or whatever) window did not pop up….is there any way I can get my research paper back?? PLEASE HELP!!!

    • Hi Sabrina, whenever there is unscheduled shut down happens then MS word has option to recover your files in case it got failure due to any reason still you can recover your data from corrupted Word file through Stellar Phoenix Word Recovery Software. You can google this software. Thanks!

  • sravanthi

    hi! can you give me solution that how to get back an unsaved data in microsoft2007 about 8hrs ago

  • prasanna

    hai can you give me the solution that how to retrive the unsaved data in microsoft 2003 and 2007

  • I am about to go insane! Please help me. I wrote this paper on Wordpad. My computer shut off, & I didn’t save it, how can I get it back?

  • Wrote a essay in word document,..wanted to save it, word delete it and then save it,..can I retrieve it,..thank you.

  • I can not thank you enough for this. I had to access it by locating and enabling hidden files, and then accessing the temporary files. THANK YOU!



  • Paul

    Thanks for all who posted.

    My problem was with word 2003 on XP.

    Fault appeared and word had to shut down I had to press OK on several pop-up windows saying fault, the last one saying “Word could not save for auto recover” (something like that). That’s when I lost hope as I had not saved my work for 24 hours (silly me).

    Anyhow, in three steps I recovered my FULL word document even though I never saved my progress for 24hours.

    (1) I went to C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\Microsoft\Word
    I found a number of files like this ~WRA1693 (word backup file)

    (2) double clicked on them,however Word tried to open but Word program was now getting corruption errors.

    (3) so I put the ~WRA1693 on a USB stick and managed to open the file on my laptop computer by just double clicking on the file. no special program needed.

    Thanks and hope this helps someone out.

  • XD

  • marie

    My daughter saved docs ONLY on her flashdrive but lost it. She did not save the docs. Anyway to retrieve? I have looked under temp files but it shows gibbrish. HELP

  • Torreza

    many thanks!

  • Wesley

    I love this page!! It helped me recover an 8 page paper that I had to present in front of 4 hundred people like 2 hrs before. Thanks so much!!!

  • marlene

    THANK YOU! Just recovered over 5 hours of work! Was in Temp Files. You are the king! Marlene