Recovering a Word Document: I Didn’t Realize It Was Possible

Maybe I’ve been living in the past, but until just a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t realize how easy recovering an unsaved Word document can be. What initially was extreme annoyance and frustration at myself for losing a document became relief and a moment of “Whew!” when I found my Word file, waiting patiently for me, just a few minutes later. Here’s my story.

I had been typing a document using Microsoft Word 2013 while multitasking with other applications. After some time, I decided to close the windows I was no longer using, so I right-clicked the Word icon at the bottom of the screen and chose to “Close window.” I received a message asking if I wanted to save my changes, but as I was in a rush, I selected “Don’t Save.” The application closed just as I realized that I really needed this document but had not saved it anywhere!

I was bummed and annoyed at myself. From what I remembered of old versions of Word, if you forgot to save your file, you were pretty much out of luck. I felt little hope that the file existed anymore, but even so, I decided to search a bit on the Web just in case there would be some remedy for my error.

I don’t remember what my exact search terminology was, and I don’t even remember where I found the exact solution, but here it is. I restarted Word and then selected Open. Then I searched the pathway C:\Users\Jennifer\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles. An .asd file was sitting in the UnsavedFiles folder with a name that matched the first characters of my old document, so I selected it, and the file opened in Word—and it was my much-needed file, as good as it was when I closed it!

Since that incident happened, I noticed something I had never seen before. The message I mentioned above that appears when I am closing the file actually includes a statement that a copy of the file will be temporarily available. I suppose that my early years with Word left me thinking that this was not possible. I don’t know how long this wonderful provision has been around, but thank you, Microsoft! You saved my day.

Message When Closing a Word Document That a Temporary File Will Be Saved
Even if you choose not to save a Word document now, a recent copy is temporarily saved on your computer.

30 comments:

  1. What I am wondering is how long does the word document continue to be recoverable after clicking “don’t save”. I have some documents that I would like to delete permanently.

    1. I did some searching online, and it appears that recovery is possible for four days or until you reopen Word (whichever happens first). Then the unsaved file is automatically deleted.

  2. And if you miss the four day mark, check your recycle/trash bin folder and search by date of when you think the file was deleted. It won’t be a Word file at this point but an ASD file. It might have a title like mine did: “Auto Recovery save of…” Then I right clicked on the file and selected “restore” and followed the file location (mine was stored on my C drive at: “…AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word” though the location will vary depending on your configuration). Then I was able to successfully open the file in MS Word, and SAVE it. lol 😉

    1. Thank you so much. I never thought I WILL BE ABLE TO RETRIEVE IT BUT AFTER READING YOUR TIP I WAS SO RELIEVED. You cant imagine how much of a great help has this been. I had complete;y lost everything, didnt save a little bit and this was my 5 days of work. I was skeptical about your tip thinking it was near impossible but you became my greatest ever savior. thank you so much.

    2. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I accidentally didn’t save meeting minutes and this was the only comment/advice I found that worked. Thank you so much!!!

  3. I cannot begin to thank you enough for this information. You just saved and made my day all at once. Thank you a million times over again!

  4. I think the recycle bin found my document that I am missing but when I am unable to find it after I hit restore. Where did it go?

    1. If you simply deleted a saved document and then recover it via the Recycle Bin, the document reappears in the location where it was prior to deletion. For instance, if you had saved the document initially in My Documents, that’s where you’ll find it upon recovery.

  5. I did not saved my document. i accidently click No for saving. i am using MS word 97-2003. pl help. Its urgent.

  6. I have gone through your process C:\Users\Jennifer\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles
    But i can not find the option of unsaved files.

    1. Vijay, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve lost your file. The version of Word I was using was 2013; I don’t know that older versions, like 97-2003, have the same options.

      Jen

  7. This is just amazing.Just restored unsaved work that I have stayed the whole night doing!..I can’t imagine I would have started again from scratch!

  8. yes just saved mine but its was word mobile on my tablet, i used this format, first open the word mobile , click on browse, click on c:\ then click on users, click on ritech, click on One drive, you will see your documents intact.

  9. This feature of Restoring the unsaved file in Microsoft Word is really outstanding. I was really
    frustrated when I came to know that I have closed the file by pressing ‘”Don’t save” mistakeingly. But I didn’t loose hope and browsed the web little bit to find out whether it is to
    recover the file or not.
    I was really very suprised and also happy when I came to know that window saves the unsaved work in form of .asd file. I just searched for .asd file in my computer and recovered it. !

  10. Thank you. I love you. I found my notes from a 5 hour meeting after accidentally closing a word document and hitting “don’t save”.

  11. Ugh. This does NOT appear to work with Publisher. Every trick I’ve tried seems to work for Word, but not Publisher. Oh well. Good thing this was just a “test” document. Even though I was starting to kind of like my test document. But very good to remember that Publisher does not appear to have the same auto save feature as Word, if you click don’t save. I don’t even remember closing it and clicking “don’t save.” Argh. Annoyed at self.

  12. Thank you SO much – 3 pages finished and due tomorrow…Word crashed…didn’t save. I cried for a bit then came across this article.

    Open Microsoft Word
    File
    Open
    type “asd” in search bar
    you must save this as a new file!

  13. LIFESAVER!! – Jen and Kelsey, thank you so much for your posting!! I tried Jen’s path, but it didn’t work. Then I read Kelsey’s path and it brought up some files, but it didn’t bring up the one I was looking for. However, when I did the search that Kelsey recommended, I was able to see the file path. I was then able to follow the path and finally found my file. I literally stopped breathing for a minute pulling up the file. It worked!!. Here’s the path I took:
    C:\Users\[folder with my name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Powerpoint

  14. I am using Microsoft Word 2010. Word automatically recovered a file that I was working on that I didn’t save. I began working on it. Then I got busy. I went to close the file and accidentally clicked “don’t save”. I tried the above method and there was nothing listed in the unsaved file list. What can I do?

  15. Hi
    Hope you can give me advice
    I was writing in word 2010 document, I did not save name etc back in January 2017. I need to locate this document, I followed your advice but have not been able to locate this word document and the recycle bin has been deleted .

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated

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