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    Recover unsaved Word documents, 6 solutions

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    Pau Monfort
    @paumonfort

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    Are you looking for a way to recover unsaved or lost Word documents? Here are six things you can try to recover your documents. When Word accidentally quits or the program crashes, the unsaved Word document may disappear. If this happens, you should start working on the document from scratch again. What a bad thing.


    However, before starting a new document, you can try to recover deleted Word documents. Here is how you can recover those unsaved Word documents from your computer.



    Search for the original document in the Start menu

    This is the first action you should take when you lose a Word document. The steps are very simple:

    1. In the Windows search bar, type the name of the document and press Enter.
    2. If the results show the file in the document list, double-click it and it will open in Word.

    Look for the .WBK OR .ASD extension

    A file with the .WBK extension is a Word backup, while an .ASD extension represents an autosaved file. You can see if your Word file is backed up or autosaved by using the steps below:


    1. In the Windows search bar, type. wbk or .asd and tap the Enter key.
    2. Check the search results to see if there are any files represented like this:
    • Backup copy: Backup of + Missing file name.
    • Autosaved file: .asd extension.

    3. Double-click the file name to open it.


    It is important to note that for a Word file to have a .wbk extension, the backup copy feature must be enabled in Word. Here's how to check if the feature is enabled:


    1. Start Word.
    2. Click File.
    3. Select Options.
    4. Click on Advanced.
    5. Scroll down to the menu titled Save and make sure you check the box with the instruction Always create a backup.
    6. Select OK to save the changes.

    Recover unsaved Word documents using the Task Manager

    You can use the Task Manager on Windows to recover unsaved Word documents. However, this requires ending any Word-related process and restarting Word. Here's how it works:


    1. Start the Task Manager
    2. Click the Processes tab.
    3. In the apps section, check out Microsoft Word. If the app appears, right-click and select End Task.
    4. In the Background Processes section, check for Word related processes. If a process appears, right-click and select End Task.
    5. Close the Task Manager.
    6. Start Word again to see if the missing file appears in the Document Recovery pane. This pane is located to the left of the Word window.
    7. If there are files in the recovery pane, double-click them to open them.

    Search for temporary files

    Another way to recover an unsaved or lost document or file is to search temporary files. Such files have the extension .tmp. Here's how to find temporary files on our desktop:


    1. In the Windows search bar, type .tmp or ~ then tap the Enter button.
    2. Click the Documents tab.
    3. Scroll through the list of search results. Do this to find the file names that correspond to the recent dates and times you worked on the document.
    4. If you identify the file, start Word and click the File tab.
    5. Click Open and select the Folders tab.
    6. Go to the location of the .tmp file you found earlier and select it to open the file.

    Use the Manage Documents function in Microsoft Word

    Word has a feature called Manage Document which can be used to recover unsaved files. Here's how it works:


    1. Start Word
    2. Select the File tab on the ribbon.
    3. Select Information.
    4. Select Manage Documents.
    5. Select Recover unsaved documents.

    How to recover Word documents not saved in the recycle bin

    If a file has been accidentally deleted, it can be recovered if the Recycle Bin has not been emptied. Here's how to do it:



    1. Launch the Recycle Bin.
    2. Look for the file name in the document list.
    3. If you locate the file, right-click and select Restore.

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    Using the Microsoft Windows Repair Tool

    If you forgot to save the Word document, you should be able to locate the unsaved Word document using one of the methods described above. However, if you accidentally delete a file and it's not in the Recycle Bin, you can use Microsoft Windows Recovery Tool to restore it.

    Further Reading:

    • How to use Microsoft Word Online
    • How to convert a Word document to a JPG OR GIF image
    • Open Word Document Without Word, 9 Methods
    • How to recover deleted SMS from Android
    • 4 ways to convert PDF to Word
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