Word Document Recover

Microsoft Word documents can be lost in certain situations. For example, the document may be lost if an error occurs that forces Word to quit, if you experience a power interruption while editing, or if you close the document without saving changes. There are more than one way to recover a lost Word document depending on the version of Microsoft Word you are using. This article explains steps that you can use to try to recover the lost document.

How To Recover a Word Document

Microsoft Office has extensive AutoSave and Auto Recovery options that allow you to rescue your work in the event that it is lost due to a power failure, system crash or plain human error. However many people don’t know how to use these features or that they even exist.

Even if you don’t have these features enabled, you can sometimes recover data from the various temporary files that are created by Office while you are working on the document. Microsoft have changed the way AutoSave and Auto Recover works in different versions of Office. Therefore you may want to experiment before you rely on this information.

Recover Documents in Word 2010 and Above

With Word 2010, Microsoft introduced a draft feature in which Word creates a temporary draft of all the documents created in it. The draft is available for up to 4 days, after that, it will be deleted. So if you are using Word 2010 or above and the lost document is still under the 4 days period, follow the following instructions to recover the lost document:

  1. Open Microsoft Word, and click on “File” option.
  2. Here, navigate to “info” and then, click on “Manage Versions”.
  3. You will see a dropdown menu here, click on it and select “Recover Unsaved Documents”.

Microsoft Word will provide all recent drafts from which you can select the lost document to open and save it. If this method doesn’t work for any reason, you can also try the methods below.

Recover Documents in Word 2007 and Below

Word 2007 and below don’t come with any reliable document recovery system by default. So we will have to depend on unreliable sources and hope that you find your lost document in one of the areas.

Recover Unsaved Word Document from Autosave

By default, Word auto-saves a document every 10 minutes (this can be decreased or increased, see below) that it will automatically recover if the document closed due to a malfunction. Word will not auto-save a file that has been closed willingly using the Word close button. So this method works best when you have lost the document in an accident.

To change auto-save time, click on the word menu on the top left side, and select “Word Options” from it. Now navigate to the “Save” tab and enter the time after which Word should save a document in the empty field next to the option “Save AutoRecovery information every”.

The process is simple, if your system breaks down just restart it and launch Microsoft Word. While opening, Word will search if it has any autosave file. If it found any, you will see them on the left side of the blank document. Just click to open in Word and save using the standard save method.

The autosave feature will not always be able to recover the file, so keep that in mind and don’t depend on it. Furthermore, by default, the document will autosave after every 10 minutes, so there is a chance you may lose work done in the last 10 minutes (unless you changed the time).

Recover Unsaved Word Document from Temporary Files

When you are working on a document, a temporary file is also created that contains the same data. There is a chance that when your system failed, that temporary file didn’t get deleted and you can recover data from it.

Temporary files have “.TMP” extension with them and you may have to open them with Notepad if Word doesn’t work. They may contain lots of other codes along with your document content, so you need to copy only the required data. You can access temporary files in the following directory:


You can also search in the Windows Start menu search bar for “.TMP” to find all files with “.TMP” extensions.