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Four ways to rescue an unsaved or deleted Word document

Fortunately, there are reliable methods out there to quickly and reliably recover the Word documents. Whether your work was accidentally deleted, lost in a Microsoft Word crash, or just disappeared, here is a simple guide on how to recover unsaved Word documents.

In case you are in a hurry

If you are reading this information desperately looking for lost Word documents, please click on the links provided. They help with the most likely causes of the loss. Follow the simple step-by-step instructions provided there to find and restore MS Word documents. Then you can be back to work in no time. If you are not entirely sure, try them all in order:

And remember, if all else fails, installing a data recovery program like Acronis Revive or using a recent file or system backup can help get your documents back (at least in a working, current state).

Recover Unsaved Word Documents

We usually rely on automatic storage. Any major piece of work on the document or all changes since the last save can be lost. It is important to always save the work manually. The good news is that very often, someone will lose extensive edits. That's why Microsoft made it easy for us to recover unsecured Word documents:

1. In MS Word, click on "File" at the top left.

2. Click on “Manage Document” and then on “Recover Unsaved Documents” from the selection list.

3. Find the lost file in the dialog box. If the problem happened recently, the file should be listed here.

4. Open the restored Word document and select "Save As" in the ribbon menu. So save a new version of the file in the desired destination folder.

Did you know?

You can update the frequency with which Microsoft Word automatically saves your documents. Click File> Options> Save. Change the number of minutes so that a recoverable version is created as often as possible. This setting applies to all documents that you edit in the future. The recovery file will help you in the future.

Recover deleted Word documents

Anyone who knows how to recover deleted Word documents is likely to be a wizard for those colleagues who do not know. It's not complicated at all. Regardless of whether the MS Word documents to be restored have been accidentally deleted or have been compromised by malware, a few simple steps could help you to restore them.

1. Click the trash can on the desktop.

2. Find your file by filename, document type, or deleted date. When you've found your file, make a note of its original location. If you recover deleted documents, they will be automatically recovered there.

3. Restore the deleted document and search for the file in its original location or click on “Quick Access” and find the file there in the list of “Recent Files”.

Did you know, ...?

When you delete a file, you basically only delete the reference to the entry of a file in the data hierarchy of the storage system. The data itself actually continues to exist on the hard disk until its storage space is overwritten with new information. It doesn't always happen immediately. You therefore have the option of restoring Word documents until the actual data has been overwritten.

Recovering Word Documents After a Crash

Recovering Word documents that have not been saved is not always due to user error. However, whether your computer crashed unexpectedly or Microsoft Word crashed, documents can be recovered from Word. To do this, however, you should search for the lost files as soon as possible before other files overwrite their storage space.

1. When your computer is back online, start Word again. In most cases, the files that were open when the crash occurred will be automatically restored (in the state of the last automatic save, which is why it is important to set the automatic save interval to be short).

2. If your document does not appear in the automatically restored files, click on "File -> Options -> Save".

3. Copy the file path to the location for automatic recovery and paste this link into Windows Explorer.

4. Open the file name and copy (with a right mouse click and "Copy") the .asd file with the most recent modification date.

5. Switch back to MS Word, click on "File -> Open", scroll to the bottom of the "Recently used documents" and click on "Recover Unsaved Documents".

6. Paste the copied .asd file into the folder that has just opened and open this file. This will restore it.

Did you know, ...?

Common reasons for Microsoft Word to crash are corrupt add-ons or templates. If your program keeps crashing, try running Word without any of these features to see if it improves its reliability.

Recover Word documents through data recovery programs

If none of the above methods lead to successful recovery of unsecured Word documents, your best choice is either backup software or data recovery software.

As is so often the case, the safest and most reliable way to restore data is to regularly create a hard disk image with a backup solution. Whether you're using a Windows PC, Mac, or mobile device, up-to-date backups ensure that you don't lose your files - no matter what.

However, if you weren't running a backup program when you lost your Word document, you won't have a backup dataset to restore the file from.

In this case, only data recovery programs (also known as undelete tools) such as Acronis Revive are a solution. You can also use it to find, recover and restore Word documents. Acronis Revive is a practical, easy-to-use program that lets you search through all of the contents of your system to find lost files. With just a few clicks, the tool can also find MS Word documents, assess the chance of recovery and restore the files.

Acronis Revive automatically searches internal drives, external drives and memory cards for the file names found and lost files. If the file is found, its potential for successful recovery is assessed. When the tool determines that it can successfully restore unsaved Word documents, it creates an exact image of the file. Access to this file is then possible again within a few minutes.


With Acronis Revive, users have a tool they can use to restore files in a few simple steps. The software tool works regardless of whether the Word document has been deleted, encrypted by malware or otherwise damaged. Damage also occurs when a document is saved on a faulty hard drive partition. Some rescue steps are integrated into the operating system, other methods require a bit more knowledge of the operating system. However, if you have a recovery tool and regular backups, your documents can be recovered quickly and easily.