How to Restore Word Document That Was Not Saved

Does this sound like something you've been through? You were working on a Word file when the computer suddenly shut down. It might have gone down because of a technical problem or because the electricity went out. Or, you accidentally closed the document and didn't know how or if it's possible to get it back. Lucky for us, it can be done! Find out how to save a Word document that you haven't saved yet.

There are two kinds of documents that haven't been saved:

The initial version of a document was preserved, but subsequent updates were not.

You worked on a Word document and saved one version of it. After some time, you added more information to the same document, but something went wrong, and the most recent version of your work didn't get saved.

A document that never got saved. You were making changes to a document, but you never saved it. This is a more complicated case.

So let's begin with the first case!

There is a way to get back a document you didn't save, no matter what version of MS Word you use. This guide shows you how to get back a Word document that wasn't saved in versions 2010, 2013, and 2016. The process is similar for all three versions of Word. Later in the text, we'll discuss how to recover an unsaved Word document in older versions like Word 2007, 2003, and 2002.

How to retrieve a Word document that has not been saved after a restart or shutdown?

Even though it sounds impossible, MS Office made it easy to get back a Word document that wasn't saved before the computer shut down or restarted. If you click on the File menu, you'll see a list of your most recently used documents as well as some other options for documents, like Save as, Export, Print, etc. Click the Recent button if you don't see that list.

You'll find the option to Recover Unsaved Documents at the bottom of the document. If you click on it, you'll see a list of recent documents that haven't been saved yet. All you have to do is click on the document you need.

How can I restore an unsaved document in Word 2007?

Word 2007 and other older versions don't have this option to recover documents that weren't saved. Compared to newer versions, the steps are a bit hard to follow.

First, click the Office button, then click the Word options button.

Find the Save button in the Navigation Pane and click it.

Check out the file's path in the AutoRecover file location box.

Now, shut down everything and go to that place to look for the missing file. Because it is an auto-recovery file, the file will end with.asd. Open and save the file as soon as you find it.

How to retrieve a Word document that has not been saved in Word 2002/2003?

  • The way to use these older versions of Word is very different from how to use newer versions.
  • Click on "Tools" and then "Options" to start.
  • Click on Auto-recover files in the File locations tab.
  • The steps below are the same as for Word 2007. Close everything after you've looked at the file path, and then follow that path to find the file. Again, the file you are looking for will have an extension of.asd, which is used for files that are automatically saved.
  • Remember that you can click the arrow at the bottom of the folder name in the Modify location dialog if you can't see the whole file path.
  • Where do Word's AutoRecover files get saved?

  • For Word 2010, 2013, and 2016, AutoRecover files are saved in the Recent Files box.
  • In Word 2010, the Autorecover file location box is where you can find auto-recover files. You can find these files in Word 2002 and 2003 on the File Locations tab, under "Autorecover Files."
  • As for where these files are stored, you can choose where they go or change where they are stored by default.
  • Click on File > Options in Word 2010, 2013, or 2016.
  • The Save menu is on the left side of the window that appears.
  • In the Save section, you'll see an option to set the location, as shown in the image below.
  • Click the Browse button to change where auto recover files will be saved, and click OK to confirm the changes.
  • What else may be modified?

  • The default setting is that files are automatically saved every 10 minutes. You can change the time frame to save your files every 5 minutes. These settings are in the same window above the location of the auto-recovery file, as shown in the picture above.
  • You can see that Word automatically saves documents when they are closed without being saved. As long as this box is checked, you can be sure that you can recover documents that weren't saved.
  • But what if you were working on a document for the first time and it had never been saved before?
  • The same rules apply here if the above option is checked: Save Autorecover information every... minute.
  • Follow any of the steps above to find the auto-recovered files.
  • Word Backup and Temporary Documents

  • But that's not all. Did you know that Word has temporary and backup files in addition to auto-recovery files?
  • Word only saves backup files if the option Always creates backup copy is checked or if it is checked by default.
  • You can find this option in Word 2010, 2013, and 2016 in the same window we discussed. To open that window, click File and Save. Then click the option that says "Advanced" and check the box that says "Always make a backup copy."
  • You'll find the same options when you click the Office button in Word 2007.
  • Did you know? The file type for backups is.wbk.
  • There are several ways to find backup files. You can either utilize the search box in Windows or go straight to Word to search.
  • If you want to look for something on your computer, type the file's extension into the search box, and all files that fit that description will appear.
  • You can also open Word and look for all files that way. Look for files that end in.wbk in the list of files.
  • The step to open any file in Word is pretty much the same or only slightly different between versions. You need to click Open and then Files of type> all files.
  • What's the deal with temporary files?

    Temporary files end in.tmp, which is how you can tell them apart from other files. Word decides when these kinds of files will be made. The name says it all: these files are only on your computer for a short time.

    What's good is that if the document you were working on and then closed without saving was automatically saved as a temporary file, you can find it and save it as a regular file.

    You can type this extension's name into the search box again. You should be able to find the file you need among the list of temporary files.

    Recover Word files without AutoRecover

    Auto recover is already set up in the most recent version of Microsoft Word, so you don't have to worry. There is a very small chance of losing all of your data. You can only lose the changes you've made since the last auto recover. So, if you lose power at home or your computer turns off, you should set up auto recover very often, like every 5 minutes.

    There are many alternatives to Word. Before working in one of them, go to settings and ensure the auto recover options are turned on. Even though Microsoft Word has an auto-recover feature, that doesn't mean that other programs do the same thing.


    Even if you work carefully in Word and ensure your document is saved before you close it, there are some things you can't stop. Your computer could stop working if the power goes out or if there are some technical problems. If this happens, the document you were working on at the time could lose important information. Microsoft Word has ways to fix these problems, so they don't lead to anything bad. I hope how to recover a Word document that wasn't saved gave you enough information to understand the problem and how to fix it.