How To Recover Unsaved Word Documents in 2024

Created by On December 1, 2023 |  Last Updated On February 13, 2024

The unexpected loss of an unsaved or deleted Word document can be a source of frustration and anxiety. Whether due to a sudden power outage, an accidental click of the wrong button, or simply forgetting to save your work, losing valuable content can be disheartening.

How to Recover a Word Document

Microsoft Word has excellent features to help you recover unsaved files and restore your critical documents.

We will outline four main methods for how to recover unsaved documents in Word: AutoRecover, tapping into Document Recovery, and exploring Temporary Files.

Regular backups can also help prevent these situations; check out this guide on How to Backup OneDrive Effortlessly for additional peace of mind.

Can I Retrieve a Word Document That Wasn't Saved?

Yes, you can retrieve an unsaved Word document using the AutoRecover feature. If your work is unsaved and you shut down too quickly, or the system crashes, Microsoft Word will save a copy of whatever was on your screen when it senses disaster. Microsoft Word has the auto-recovery feature enabled by default.

Does Microsoft Word Keep Backup Files?

Microsoft Word keeps backup files in two ways: AutoSave and temporary files. AutoSave periodically copies your file in the background when you’re running it. It’s useful when you are editing. Especially if it is a large document and you are working on it over an extended period.

In addition to AutoSave, Word also creates temporary files. These are different from AutoSave files and are typically used to store information while working on a document. Your computer’s temp folder typically stores temporary files.

How To Recover A Deleted Word Document

It’s common for deleted files to end up in the Recycle Bin. You might find it here if you’re looking to recover Word docs that you mistakenly deleted. To verify:

Recycle Bin - Windows 10
  • Open the Recycle bin on your desktop or search for it.
  • Look for the Word document. When you find it, right-click and click ‘Restore’

If you are unable to how to recover lost word document through the recycle bin, after the following other methods.

How To Recover a Word Document After a Crash?

Another option is Document Recovery, which comes into play if Word crashes or you experience a power outage. This is especially relevant if you’re wondering how to recover Word document Windows 11 after a system crash. Here, you can see the list of open documents before the problem occurred.

Document Recovery Microsoft Word Application
  • Reopen Word after it has crashed or after restoring the power.
  • A Document Recovery pane will show up on the left. It lists the documents open at the time of the issue.
  • Pick the document you want to retrieve and select one of the options: Open, Save As, or Delete.


Above is the best on how to restore word document after a crash of the Word application.

How to Recover Unsaved Word Documents

AutoRecover in Word automatically creates backup copies of your document as you draft it. This is known as unsaved Word file recovery. Should you misplace your file, you can typically retrieve a saved version using AutoRecover with the steps below:

How to recover unsaved documents in Microsoft Words
  1. Open Word Document and click on File
  2. Click on Info,
  3. Then click on Manage Document.
  4. Choose Recover Unsaved Documents.

A list of AutoRecover files will pop up.
Select the relevant one and click Open.

Ensure you save the recovered document under a new file name.

How To Retrieve Unsaved Word Documents from Temporary Files

Word’s AutoRecover function is also how to recover unsaved Word document Windows 11 effectively. It’s a safety net, saving files periodically to prevent unforeseen losses. To utilise it:

How do I get Microsoft Word to save AutoRecover versions every minute

1. Open Word Application and navigate to File

2. Click on Options 

How To Retrieve Unsaved Word Documents from Temporary Files

3. Click on Save.

4. Ensure the Save AutoRecover option is active

5. Click the Browse button next to the AutoRecover file location.

Auto Recovery File location- Microsoft Word Application

Look for .asd files – Word’s AutoRecover creations. Relocate and rename these files to .doc or .docx. 

Now, you can safely open the document without losing your data. Above are the best steps to recovering unsaved word documents

Check this article to learn how to backup Office/Microsoft 365 data and its importance.

How Do I Get Microsoft Word to Save AutoRecover Versions Every Minute?

To set Microsoft Word to save AutoRecover versions every minute, follow these steps:

How do I get Microsoft Word to save AutoRecover versions every minute

1. Click on the ‘File’ tab in the upper left corner of the Word window.

2. Select ‘Options’ from the drop-down menu.

How do I get Microsoft Word to save AutoRecover versions every minute

3. In the Word Options dialog box that appears, click on the ‘Save’ tab.

4. Find the ‘Save AutoRecover information every’ option and Set the minutes from ‘10’ to ‘1’ or As per your needs.

5. Click ‘OK’ to save your changes.

Now, Word will automatically save a recovery version of your document every minute.

How To Recover a Permanently Deleted Word Documents Without Backup?

You can recover deleted Word documents using third-party recovery software. Here’s one of the most effective data recovery software called Disk WinFrGUI software that you can use to recover your lost data.

WinFrGUI is a free alternative to Windows File Recovery (Microsoft’s command-line file recovery application). It provides a graphical interface and step-by-step guide to recover deleted files on Windows 10/11 with just a few simple clicks.

For detailed instructions, please follow this article: Recover Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 10/11.

How To Enable Backup Option for Word Files?

Word backup file names have a “.wbk” extension. If you have the “backup copy” option marked in Word, there might be a backup copy of the file.

How do I get Microsoft Word to save AutoRecover versions every minute

1. To check whether this option is on, select `File

2. Click on Options

How To Enable Backup Option for Word Files

3. Click on `Advanced`

4. Scroll down to the `Save` section,

5. Select `Always create a backup copy`

Later, you can find the backup copy of the file, select `Start`, enter `.wbk` in the `Search` box, and then press `Enter`.

How to Manually Search for Windows Temporary Files

In certain situations, locating a backup file through conventional methods can be challenging, especially if you can’t locate the AutoSave folder. However, you can manually search for temporary files by focusing on their file extensions. Typically, autosaved Word files have either the .asd or .wbk file extension.

Here’s how to perform this search:

How to Manually Search for Windows Temporary Files
  • Press Windows Key + E on the keyboard.
  • After opening Explorer, click on the Search field in the upper right-hand corner and type “.asd” or “.wbk‘ (leave the quotations out) in your search box.
  • Next, press Enter to initiate the search process.
  • Windows will now search for all files with .asd and .wbk on your system.
  • Upon completing the search, examine the results to locate the one you need.
  • But once you get the file, right-click on it and then choose “Open File Location” you can read all of AutoSave’s backup folders.

But if your search for .asd file and .wbk file extensions doesn’t get you what you want, an alternative would be to look through the files with a.tmp extension next Monday when they pop up every month on my computer desktop. 

Because .tmp files aren’t necessarily Word documents, you may have to sort or search to find the proper file.

Why Should You Save Files on OneDrive?

  • Cloud Storage: OneDrive is a cloud-based data storage service. The cloud means that files you save to OneDrive are accessible from any device with an internet connection.
  • AutoSave and Version History: OneDrive allows features such as AutoSave and doesn’t use History when saving a file. AutoSave saves your changes as you go, while Version History lets you benefit from previous document versions.
  • Data Ownership: Who will own the data? What is uploading your data to OneDrive cloud storage? You still do.
  • Data Protection: OneDrive’s procedures and systems can minimise the risk of data leaks. For instance, OneDrive’s zero-standing access policy does not provide engineers with standing access; they can only get in when asked to attend a specific incident.
  • Recovery from Device Issues: Whether your device is lost, stolen or damaged, OneDrive has you covered.
  • Strong Security Measures: With OneDrive, you can create a strong password. On your home screen page, add security info to your Microsoft account; use two-factor verification and enable encryption on mobile devices.

Remember that OneDrive is only one protective layer; having several copies of important files will never hurt. OneDrive is not a backup solution but another place to store your data.


Losing a Word document can be frustrating, but different recovery methods are available if you’re wondering how to recover files from Word in Windows 11. This includes looking in the Recycle Bin and temporary folder. Making regular backups and using autosave can also help prevent future loss. 

If you’ve tried all these methods for Word recovery files and still can’t find your document, consider getting professional help or using special recovery software like WinfrGUI Recovery Software.

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