Recover Lost Changes To A Word Document

You know the story. You are editing a Microsoft Word document, and have made a raft of changes. Another task demands your attention and you need to close Word to attend to it. You close Word, but in your haste you find that you have accidentally skipped through the “Save your changes” dialog and have closed Word without saving the document!

Of course, Microsoft Word documents can be lost in other situations. For example, the document can be lost if an error occurs that forces Word to exit unexpectedly, or if you experience a power cut while you are editing.

Unfortunately, there is not one solution to your problem, and you may need to try different things to retrieve your changes. We will assume that the document exists on your computer, i.e. you have saved it at some point.

Restart Word to look for the recovered document

  1. End all Word related processes.
  2. Restart Word and then see if the missing file is displayed in the Document Recovery task pane. By default, Word searches for AutoRecover files each time it starts.
  3. Double click the AutoRecover files one by one. If you find your lost Word file, save it immediately.

Search for AutoRecover files

If the above method does not locate your unsaved changes, you will have to manually search for AutoRecover files (.asd files).

  1. Click File > Open > Recent
  2. Scroll to the end of all recent documents, and then click Recover Unsaved Documents.
  3. If you see the Word document that you are looking for, double click it to open it.
  4. Save it immediately.

Search for .asd files

AutoRecover files have the .asd extension, and if you get to this point with no joy, you will have to search manually for .asd files. You are going to have to search your whole drive for any .asd files.

  1. Open Windows Explorer by pressing the Windows logo key+E
  2. In the Search This PC box, type .asd and then press Enter.
  3. Scroll through the files to see the one that you are looking for.
  4. Double click it to open it and save it immediately. When the Save As window opens, the original name of the document should default in, so find the location on your hard drive you want to save it, and click Save. Choose to Replace existing file, if prompted.

Search for Word backup files

  1. Click File > Open > Browse
  2. Find the folder in which you last saved the missing file.
  3. In the Files types list (currently set to All Word documents), select All Files. The backup file will usually have the name “Backup of” followed by the name of the missing file.
  4. Click the backup file, and then click Open.
  5. Save it immediately.