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Recover a lost, unsaved, or corrupted Word document

This page describes how to recover a lost, unsaved, or corrupted Microsoft Word document on computers running the Windows operating system.

There are several ways to recover a file that has been either damaged or lost, or that you did not save because your computer crashed, for example.

Some solutions are presented below.

Option 1: Search for the original document

  1. Select Start, enter the document name and then press Enter.
  2. If the File list contains the document, double-click the document to open it in Word. If the File list doesn't contain the file, go to Option 2-4.

Option 2: Search for Word Backup files

Word backup file names have a ".wbk" extension. If you have the "backup copy" option selected in Word, there might be a backup copy of the file. To find the backup copy of the file, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the folder in which you last saved the missing file.
  2. Search for files that have the .wbk file name extension.
  3. If you find the backup file, right-click the file name, and then select Open.

Option 3: Check the Recycle Bin

Check the Windows Recycle Bin on the desktop to see if it contains your document.

Option 4: Search for AutoRecover unsaved or corrupted files

AutoRecover file names have the .asd extension. By default, Word searches for AutoRecover files every time that it starts, and then it displays any files that are found in the Document Recovery task pane.

Use Word to automatically find the AutoRecover files

  1. Right-click the taskbar, and select Task Manager.
  2. On the Processes tab, select any instance of Winword.exe or Microsoft Word, and then select End Task or End Process. Repeat this step until you have exited all instances of Winword.exe and Word.
  3. Close the Windows Task Manager dialog box, and then start Word. If Word finds any automatically recovered file, the Document Recovery task pane opens on the left side of the screen, and the missing document is listed as "document name (Original)" or as "document name (Recovered)". If this occurs, double-click the file in the Document Recovery pane, select File and then select Save As, and then save the document as a .docx file. To manually change the extension to .docx, right-click the file, and select Rename.

Manually search for AutoRecover files

If the Document Recovery pane does not open, manually search for automatically recovered files. To do this, use the following procedure:

  1. On the File menu, select Open and then Browse. Browse to the folder where you last saved your document, and look for files that end in .asd.
  2. If you do not find an AutoRecover file listed, search your computer profile for .asd files. Go to C:\Users\your username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word and check your if your missing or corrupted file exists among the .asd files that you can see in the folder.
  3. If you have found the automatically restored Word file (.asd), you can open it by right-clicking on the file, selecting Open with, select Word as the app with which you want to open the file. Save the file to the desired location with the "Save as ..." function. Then rename the file name.