Top 5 Ways to Recover Unsaved Word Documents

Losing hours of work due to an unexpected error in Microsoft Word can leave you frustrated. Due to a sudden power cut, app crash, or low battery, Microsoft Word might close out of nowhere. Thankfully, Microsoft Word has come a long way. You still have a chance to recover your lost document. Here are the ways to recover unsaved Word documents on Windows 11.

Do note that the process isn’t guaranteed. You can go through multiple methods and try recovering unsaved Word documents before giving up.

1. Recover Unsaved Word Document

Before moving to any advanced trick, you should first check the default Microsoft Word method to recover the unsaved document. Here’s how.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word on your desktop.

Step 2: Select File in the top left corner.

Step 3: Open the Info menu and select Manage Document.

Step 4: Select Recover Unsaved Document.

Step 5: The option will open the Word folder in File Explorer with the AutoRecovery file.

Step 6: Click the file and open it.

2. Search for Word Document in Windows Search

This trick worked wonders for us when Microsoft Word gave up on our desktop. We simply hit the Windows button and searched for a Word document. The default Windows search found the autosaved document.

3. Search for Word Backup Files

If you have enabled the auto-backup option in Word, you shall find the backup file with the .wbk extension in the File Explorer menu.  

Step 1: Open the File Explorer menu by pressing Ctrl + E keys.

Step 2: Open the following two folder locations.

  • C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word
  • C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

In the location path, you must replace <username> with your local Windows username. You can also search for the same files by typing .wbk in the search bar.

If you haven’t enabled the auto-backup option in Microsoft Word, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Microsoft Word and select File in the top left corner (refer to the steps above).

Step 2: Open Options.

Step 3: Select Advanced from the left sidebar.

Step 4: Scroll to the Save menu.

Step 5: Enable checkbox beside Always create backup copy and click Ok.

4. Use Recycle Bin

Did you accidentally delete a Word file from your computer? Windows 11’s built-in Recycle Bin can come in handy to recover the deleted file.

Step 1: Double-click on Recycle Bin folder on the desktop.

Step 2: Find your Word file from the list and right-click on it.

Step 3: Select Restore from the context menu.

Find the Word file from the File Explorer menu.

5. Recover Word Documents After a Crash

Using the AutoRecover option in Microsoft Word, you can find and get back unsaved Word documents.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word and select File in the top left corner.

Step 2: Select Options from the left sidebar.

Step 3: Open the Save menu.

Step 4: Find AutoRecovery file location.

Step 5: Select and copy the path or click the Browse button.

Step 6: Open File Explorer and copy the path in the address bar.

Step 7: Find and recover Word documents.

Enable AutoSave for Microsoft Word Files

If you are using Microsoft Word on Windows, you have probably subscribed to one of the Microsoft 365 plans. All Microsoft 365 plans come with 1TB OneDrive storage. Just like how Google Docs has an integration with Google Drive, Microsoft Word syncs perfectly with the OneDrive cloud service.

When composing a new Word file, follow the steps below and save the file on OneDrive to enable AutoSave.

Step 1: Once you start a Word file, press Ctrl + S keys to save the document.

Step 2: Select OneDrive from the left menu and find the relevant folder to save the file.

Step 3: Give the Word file a name and hit the Save button.

Step 4: Microsoft Word will enable the AutoSave toggle in the top left corner.

When you edit the Word file, the software will sync all the changes to the OneDrive. Even if you hit the close button or Word crashes unexpectedly, you can open the app and recover the document without losing any data.

Recover Important Word Documents

Microsoft Word crashing right in the middle of work can leave you with bad taste. We recommend enabling the AutoSave option for all your Word documents. If you forgot to use AutoSave, use the tricks above and recover unsaved Word files without breaking a sweat.  

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