How to Recover Lost Microsoft Word Files

We all know the feeling, your computer freezes before you have time to save that important Word file. I know you have been thinking of how to recover lost microsoft word files. It’s a common problem but the good news is, there are many ways to attempt to recover the files that you at first think could be lost. This guide will describe how to recover lost Microsoft Word file for Word 2002, 2007 and 2010 on Windows Vista and Windows 7.

There are three main situations that would cause you to lose a Word document, which will be covered in this guide. These are

  • Something causes Microsoft Word to close unexpectedly
  • You close Word without saving your document.
  • You run out of power on your laptop or the power is interrupted.
  • You have forgotten where you saved the file. (Go straight to step 2)

How to Recover Lost Microsoft Word Files

There are 4  methods shown here that should be attempted in the order presented here:

1. Autorecover

Microsoft Word saves autorecover files periodically and searches for them each time it starts up.

Open the Task Manager by holding down Ctrl, Alt and Delete on the keyboard at the same time. Go to the processes tab and end all processes named Microsoft Word or winword.exe. Close the Task Manager and now open Microsoft Word. If any autorecover files are found they’ll be displayed in the Recovery Manager on the left hand side of the screen. If the file you’re looking for is there double click to open it and then save the document straight away.

2. Search manually for the document.

Click on the Start menu. In the search box type the name of the document, press Enter. A window will display the search results, double click to open the files in Word.

If that doesn’t find your document try using the same process to search for *.docx

3. Search for Backup Files.

If you’ve still not found the file and you have the Always create a backup copy option on in Word then there may have been a backup file created automatically.

First you need to find the folder which you last saved the document in. Once you’ve done this, in the search box in the right hand corner of the explorer window type .wbk . Any backup files will be named “backup of” followed by the name of the original document.

To open a backup file, start word and go to open a document as you would normally. Make sure that in the Files of type drop down menu All Files is selected. Navigate to the folder that the backup file was in and d ouble click on the file to open it.

4. Search for Autorecover Files Manually.

You can search manually for autorecover files. To do this, open Microsoft Word and click on the File tab. Click on Recent and near the bottom of the screen is a button named Recover unsaved documents. Any unsaved files should be displayed in a pop up window.

If the last method didn’t work there’s one last way to find autorecover files. Open the start menu and in the search box type *.asd . A list of any autorecover files should be displayed.

If none of these methods worked then your file could be lost or you could try searching for temporary files (.tmp) or files beginning with ( ~ ).

Author Bio - Hollie Miller provides Microsoft Word Training for Acuity Training . In her spare time she loves to go to the gym and dress making.


  1. If the 3rd trick also doesn’t help then recovery software is the only solution provided the user had saved the file at some point of time while using.
    Joe Hart recently posted… Points to Consider When Getting Dental Implants Done in London My Profile

    • Hey Joe, thanks for your contribution about recovery software. Personally i use recover my files to sort things out if the above methods do not work for me.

      Thanks for the comment, have a great day ahead of you.

  2. nice post… it provides the best way to find the lost ms word files…helpful to non-technical persons..
    Vishal recently posted… Top 5 Ruling Social Networking Sites of 2013 My Profile

  3. Helpful share Hollie. This is good to know because I use Word frequently when writing articles for my clients. Thanks!
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted… 12 Tips for Monetizing Your Social Media Marketing Campaign My Profile

  4. Right. Thanks for the post. I was looking for this type of content, and I’m positively surprised. I look forward to further entries on the subject.
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  5. Wow! this is an awesome article and very helpful too. We mostly use Microsoft word and due to some disturbance we misplace them. This post would be very helpful to recover them. Thanks Oloyede for sharing this post.
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  6. Does your software repair word document in the case of sudden computer reboot? I am really impressed with features of your software which you have mentioned. Previously I have used Remo Repair word to fix my corrupted word document and I recovered my documents back in few minutes.

  7. Kordell Stewart :

    Your software is good to repair corrupted word document but my friend suggested me utility Remo Repair Word that can save repaired file contents to any destination location accessible to the host operating system.

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