How to Recover Unsaved Files in Microsoft Word

Updated March 23, 2017

Nobody wants to have to start over from scratch after spending a long time working on a Microsoft Word file. This can happen when an unexpected program error or power outage causes Microsoft Word 2010 to shut down abruptly, or if you absentmindedly forgot to save your document when you exited. Word has built in safeguards to protect against both of these scenarios. By default, Word saves a backup of your current document every 10 minutes, which allows you to automatically recover from program errors. When you opt not to save a document, this backup is temporarily marked as "unsaved" and available for recovery.

Right-click an empty area of the Windows Taskbar and select "Start Task Manager."

Click "Winword.exe" or "Microsoft Word" on the "Processes" tab and click "End Process." Repeat this for every instance of Word you find to ensure that Word is fully shut down.

Open Microsoft Word 2010. Any autorecovery files will automatically display in the left-hand "Document Recovery" pane.

Double-click the Document Recovery entry to recover your document.

Hold the "Ctrl" key and press "S" to save your document.

Open Microsoft Word 2010.

Click the "File" tab, point to "Recent" and click "Recover Unsaved Documents" at the bottom of the window.

Double-click the unsaved file from the right-hand list to open it.

Hold the "Ctrl" key and press "S" to save the document.

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