How to Recover a Microsoft Word Document

While Microsoft Word lacks a real-time save or sync feature, it does have some handy safeguards built in to make data recovery easier.

Users can lose their Microsoft Word files for a number of reasons; an unexpected error causing the program to crash, a file corruption, accidental formatting or deleting of the file, and an unexpected system shutdown to name a few. The latest versions of Microsoft Word – from 2010 onwards - have an inbuilt data recovery feature. Click ‘File’, then ‘Manage Documents’. Then, from the drop-down list, click ‘Recover Unsaved Documents’. You’ll then be presented with a dialogue box displaying a list of all Word documents that are recoverable. To recover a document, you just need to click it. You can change the frequency at which Word automatically saves your files, with the default being every 10 minutes. Click ‘File’, then ‘Options’. Under Options, navigate to the ‘Save’ section, and here you can change how often you want Word to auto save your documents. When you are working on a Word document, a temporary file is created. If your machine suddenly shuts down before you’ve saved your document, it may be possible to locate it in your machine’s temporary files. Temporary files are located in C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Application Data\Microsoft\Word.

Sometimes a Word file can become damaged, preventing it from being opened normally. It might not let you open the file at all, or the text might appear as a series of random symbols. Word has an Open and Repair feature that should be your first port of call. Click ‘File’ and then ‘Open’. Find your file, and click the small arrow next to the Open button that will drop down a list of ways to open your file – click ‘Open and Repair’. If this fails, you can try using data recovery software to repair your file. We’ve found Kernel for Word to be the best piece of software – it’s only $49 and the evaluation version allows you to test it before you commit, to see if your file can be repaired.

Data Recovery