How to Recover Unsaved Word Documents if a Computer Turns Off

Written by kathryn hatashita-lee
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How to Recover Unsaved Word Documents if a Computer Turns Off
You can activate Word's "AutoRecover" option to recover unsaved files. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Microsoft Word can automatically save a file version at timed intervals. Even if the computer turns off unexpectedly, the unsaved file will still display data up to the last timed save. Enabling the AutoRecover option lets you choose how often the file saves, such as every 10 minutes. For example, if you worked on a document for 22 minutes before the computer shut down, the program will have saved two versions and lost approximately two minutes of data entry.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Turn on the AutoSave Option

  1. 1

    Open the Word file.

  2. 2

    Click the "File" tab on the command Ribbon. A list of basic commands opens.

  3. 3

    Click the "Options" button. A dialogue window opens.

  4. 4

    Click "Save." This link appears in the left pane. A dialogue window opens.

  5. 5

    Click to select the check box for "Save AutoRecover information every "X" minutes." This option appears in the "Save documents" section.

  6. 6

    Type the number of minutes, such as 10, to specify the timed intervals.

  7. 7

    Click to select the check box for "Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving."

  8. 8

    Click "OK."

    Access the Document Recovery Pane

  1. 1

    Open the Word program. The unsaved Word file may open with the Document Recovery task pane to the left. One to three versions of the file may display in the "Available Files" text box.

  2. 2

    Click a file version from the "Available files" list. The drop-down displays three commands: open, save as and delete.

  3. 3

    Click the preferred command for the version you chose. Click "Open" to review and continue working on the file. Click "Save As" to create a file name. Click "Delete" to remove the file.

  4. 4

    Save your changes.

Tips and warnings

  • Save your file frequently. Press "Ctrl"+"S" to save the file.
  • The "AutoRecover" option must be activated first to enable the "autosave" feature.

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