How to Recover Lost Word Documents Easily

We’ve all been in that frustrating situation where we forget to save our Word document before closing it or experience unexpected system errors or crashes. Luckily, Microsoft Word provides a helpful feature that allows you to recover unsaved documents effortlessly. In this article, we will guide you through the process of recovering your lost Word documents.

Using Word’s Recover Unsaved Documents Tool

Microsoft Word offers a specific tool called “Recover Unsaved Documents” that enables you to recover unsaved files. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word and select the File tab. If necessary, click on the Info tab.

Step 2: Choose the “Manage document” button.

Selecting the Recover Unsaved Documents option on the Info tab of Microsoft Word.

Step 3: From the menu that appears, select the “Recover unsaved documents” option.

Step 4: Word will display an Open window containing your unsaved document. Locate your document and click the Open button.

The Open window that contains unsaved Word documents.

Step 5: After opening the recovered document, Word will show a message at the top stating that you’re accessing a recovered file. Click the “Save as” button and proceed to save your document as usual.

Selecting the Save as button within the Recovered Unsaved File message banner.

Using Document Recovery

If Word crashes while you have an unsaved document open, you can recover it by restarting Microsoft Word. If the recovery is successful, a Document Recovery section will appear on the left side, showing the timestamp of the recovery. Click the drop-down menu next to the file’s name and select the “Save As” option to store it safely on your PC.

Please note that if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, restarting Word will usually open any recovered files and display a message with a Save button. In cases involving multiple recovered files, Word will open the most recently edited recovered file and place the others in the Document Recovery section.

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Manually Searching for AutoRecover Files

If the above methods don’t work, you can also recover unsaved Word documents using Microsoft’s AutoRecover feature.

Step 1: Press the Windows Start button and search for .asd. Take note of the location of these files.

Alternatively, in Word, go to File > More > Options. In the sidebar, select the Save tab. Copy and paste the AutoRecover file location field into a File Explorer window.

The AutoRecover File Location field on Microsoft Word.

Step 2: If your system finds any Word documents with the .asd extension, open Word, select File, and then choose Open and Browse tabs.

Step 3: As .asd is not a common file type, you’ll need to select the All files drop-down list and choose All files to make it visible.

The All Files drop-down menu in Windows 10 via Microsoft Word.

Step 4: Select the .asd file and click Open.

Search Your Temporary Files

If you can’t find any results for the .asd extension, you can try searching for the .tmp extension, which represents temporary files.

Step 1: In File Explorer, search for .tmp.

Alternatively, most .tmp files are located within your Documents folder. Navigate to: C:UsersenteryourusernamehereDocuments and search for .tmp within this location.

A .tmp Microsoft Word file located within Documents in Windows 10.

Step 2: In Microsoft Word, select File, then Open, and choose Folders. Go to the folder where you found the .tmp files. Be sure to select the types of files list and choose All files, or you won’t be able to view files with the .tmp extension. Finally, select the file and click Open.

Enable the Backup Copy Option and Search Your Backup Files

Microsoft Word also stores documents as backup files with the .wbk extension.

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Step 1: To enable the Backup Copy option, go to File > More > Options > Advanced. In the Save section, tick the checkbox next to “Always create backup copy.” Then click OK.

The Always Create Backup Copy button in Microsoft Word.

Step 2: In File Explorer, search for .wbk. If your system has any .wbk files, they will be named “Backup of” followed by the name you assigned to the missing file. Double-click the file to open it in Word.

Microsoft 365 subscribers may need to use a different method to locate their backup files. Copy and paste the following locations into File Explorer: C:Users[yourusernamehere]AppDataRoamingMicrosoftWord or C:Users[yourusernamehere]AppDataLocalMicrosoftOfficeUnsavedFiles. Replace “[yourusernamehere]” with your actual username.

Take Preventative Measures

While relying on the methods mentioned above to recover unsaved Word documents is effective, it’s always a good idea to take preventative measures. By customizing Word’s AutoSave tool, you can avoid potential mishaps in the future.

Step 1: In Microsoft Word, select File, then choose More > Options, and click the Save tab.

Here, you can modify the frequency of automatic saving. Adjust the options according to your preferences and click OK at the bottom.

The Save settings window in Microsoft Word.

Step 2: Enable the Backup Copy option as mentioned earlier. Go to File > More > Options > Advanced, navigate to the Save section, and tick the checkbox next to “Always create backup copy.” Then click OK.


Losing a Word document can be a frustrating experience, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can easily recover your unsaved files. Remember to follow the steps provided in this article, and consider implementing preventative measures to avoid future data loss.

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