If you often write, edit, or handle Word documents, you probably have first-hand experience with how painful and easy it can be to lose one. Say, if you’ve been organizing your working folder and accidentally deleted a newer version of an important file instead of the older one. Or if your computer crashed while you were working on an important document.
In such cases, there’s an array of data recovery methods to choose from and restore your Word files.
Is it Possible to Recover Deleted Word Files?
Yes, your Word files can be recovered easily if you choose the tool that best fits your requirements. There are also specific steps and precautions that you must follow to ensure safe, efficient file recovery.
However, if you realize you’ve lost your file and need to get it back, start the data recovery process immediately. Here, the sooner, the better. In such cases, you can often find your files in the Recycle Bin or employ simple, DIY methods to retrieve them.
However, if they don’t work or you’ve used Shift + Delete to remove the file, you can shift to professional data recovery software.
Method #1: Searching for AutoRecover Files
If you lose your files due to human error or system crashes, Microsoft Word has a beneficial feature called AutoRecover that can help you restore your documents. If you’ve enabled AutoRecovery, Word will keep saving your file at regular intervals of time while you’re working on it. This eliminates the need to save the document manually and even creates a temporary folder to recover the file if a data-loss situation arises.
You can turn on AutoRecover by following these steps:
Go to File < Options < Save < Save AutoRecover information every _ minutes.
There’s another way for you to find your lost files using AutoRecover. If you also have the Always Create Backup Copy selected, Word automatically creates backup copies of your files.
These files are saved with the .wbk extension, and you can find them by going to this field:
Go to File < Options < Save < AutoRecover File Location
Now, head to the mentioned AutoRecover location and open the .wbk backup files just like you would regular Word documents.
Bonus: Recover from Temporary Files
There’s another way to find previous versions of your Word documents using the AutoRecover feature. If Word does not show your file even after AutoRecover has been turned on, you can look for them manually. These files use the .asd extension. You can recover these .asd files by following these steps:
- Open the File tab in MS Word.
- Go to Manage Document and select Recover Unsaved Documents.
- If you’ve lost your file recently, it should appear in the dialogue box.
- Now, open your recovered Word document and click the Save As button.
Method #2: Restarting Word to open AutoRecover Files
If you’ve turned on AutoRecover and you experience an unexpected computer crash, you don’t need to worry. There is a simple, straightforward method that will help recover your file. Word automatically restores the document you had been working on. You just need to follow these instructions:
- Once you restart your device and Word comes back online, you will find the Document Recovery panel on the left.
- Under this panel, you will find Autosaved versions of your file along with a timestamp.
- Open the version you want to recover, and you’re done.
Method #3: Restore Deleted Word Documents From OneDrive
For some time now, Word can save documents to the cloud, allowing you to access your files from anywhere and easily collaborate with others. To take advantage of this feature, you need to be a user of OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s file hosting service and synchronization service.
You will then get the option to save files to your OneDrive account instead of saving them locally on your computer. When a file is stored on OneDrive, you can enable the AutoSave feature by clicking on a button located in the top-left corner of the main Word window to save your documents automatically, every few seconds, as you work.
Steps to Restore Deleted Word Documents in OneDrive
- Visit OneDrive and sign in.
- Select Recycle bin in the navigation panel.
- Select the Word document you want to recover and click the Restore button.
Method #4: Checking the Recycle Bin
Let’s look at the Word file recovery process from the Recycle Bin:
- Click on the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop.
- Once you’ve opened the folder, find the file you want to recover. If you can’t find it by name, search for DOC, DOCX, and DOT extensions files.
- Now, select your file and right-click on it. Use the Restore option to send the file back to its original location.
Method #5: Data recovery software for Windows
Disk Drill is a data recovery tool that delivers professional results even though it was developed with the average user in mind.
Thanks to Disk Drill, you can avoid spending hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars on professional data recovery services while achieving the same results—just from the comfort of your own home and possibly even for free because Disk Drill lets you recover up to 500 MB of data without paying, which is more than enough for hundreds of Word documents.
Steps to Recover Deleted Word Documents on Windows
- Download Disk Drill from its official website. Data recovery for free
Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
- Open Disk Drill.
- Click the Search for lost data button next to your storage device.
- Select Word documents for recovery.
- Begin the recovery process by clicking the Recover button one last time.
The second you launch Disk Drill, you notice that it certainly doesn’t look like your average data recovery tool. For starters, Disk Drill has a beautiful user interface that makes it effortless even for complete novices to figure out how to recover deleted Word documents with it.
✔️ All major storage devices are supported, so it doesn’t mean if you’re reading this article because you want to learn how to retrieve deleted Word documents from a traditional hard drive or a portable USB flash drive—Disk Drill works equally well with all kinds of storage devices.
How to Prevent Your Word Files from Being Lost or Deleted?
It can be pretty frustrating to lose your Word file when you’ve spent so much time working on it. While there are several available methods to help recover your lost or deleted files, it might be a good idea to follow a few practices that can help prevent data loss. Let’s go through some of these tips and tricks:
- ↪️ Enable AutoRecover – The AutoRecover feature on Word is very useful to assist you in recovering your files that are lost due to system crashes, user error, program issues, etc. Ensure that you’ve turned on this feature to protect your files in these situations.
- 💾 Keep diversified backups – It is essential to keep multiple backups for your Word files to prevent complete data loss. We recommend that you keep saving your document at regular intervals and make backups across different devices. To avoid significant data loss, you can save your files on external drives, cloud storage solutions, etc.
- 💻 Don’t overload your drive – Ensure that you don’t store your files on the same drive as your software/operating system. System failures or malware affect this drive first, and in such a scenario, all your data can be lost. Make sure your word files are saved onto a separate drive to avoid this.
- ❌ Be cautious of user errors – You can use advanced options like versioning features and tracked changes to protect your files and avoid user errors. You can often lose data while editing or deleting certain parts of the documents. These features can help record your changes and allow you to return to a particular version if needed without losing data.
It’s possible to lose your Word documents for a variety of reasons. While you must take steps to safeguard your files, data loss can often be unforeseen and unpredictable. In such situations where you end up losing your files, you can choose from the many available data recovery methods.
The solutions mentioned in this article are quite reliable, safe, and user-friendly. You just need to follow a few simple steps to recover your lost or deleted word file for free.
Follow these steps to recover an a deleted Word document that you didn’t save:
- Open Word and click the File Tab in the upper left.
- Click Manage Document and select Recover Unsaved Documents.
- In the dialogue box, look for your missing file.
- Open the recovered Word document and click the Save As button.
If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, check the following paths for AutoRecover files:
Note: In these paths, replace <UserName> with your username.
If this doesn’t work, follow these steps:
- Open Word
- Select File, go to Info and click Manage Document.
- Now, select Recover Unsaved Documents.
- Open the recovered Word document and click Save As.
Many people report file loss after upgrading to the latest version of Windows 10 because they’re signed in using a temporary account. To verify if that’s really the case, you can open Settings, click on Accounts, choose Sync your settings, and look for a message that says: You are logged on with a temporary profile. Roaming options are currently unavailable. All you need to do to get your files back is sign in with your regular account.
Yes, it is possible to recover deleted Word documents on Mac. Here’s how:
- Open Word.
- From the menu, click Preferences.
- Ensure that Confirm file format conversion at Open is selected, and close the dialogue box.
- Click File and go to Open.
- On the Open menu select Recover Text and open the document.
Here’s how you can filter results in Disk Drill to show only Word documents:
- Download and Install Disk Drill.
- Select the hard drive and click Search for Lost Data.
- To filter results after the scan is complete, type .docx in the search bar and Disk Drill will only show word documents.
- Click Recover to restore your file and choose a recovery location.
If you want to recover the deleted files to a specific folder, don’t forget to specify it before you click the Recovery button. To do that, locate the “Recover to” field, click on it, and select the desired recovery directory.
If your Word file gets deleted, the first step should be to check the Recycle bin. Here’s how you can recover deleted Word files via the Recycle bin on Windows 11:
- Double-click the Recycle Bin on the Desktop.
- Search through the list of documents to check if the deleted Word document is still there. If you don’t know the file name, filter the files with the .doc, .docx, and .dot extensions.
- If you find the desired Word file, right-click the file name, and then select Restore to send the file back to its original location.