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How to recover unsaved Word document on Windows 10

Apps on Windows 10, no matter how stable they are, can still crash. The crash may be a result of an unexpected request sent to the app, by the app, or by the system. A crash may also be a result of the app not having enough system resources to perform a function. It might also be forced to shut down if Windows 10 decides to install updates.

An app crash results in data loss but some apps like Microsoft Word have a built-in feature for recovering lost data. Here’s how you can recover an unsaved Word document on Windows 10.

Recover unsaved Word document

There are two ways to recover an unsaved Word document; auto-recovery, and manual recovery. Neither is hard but auto-recovery works at the description of Microsoft Word.

1. Auto-recover Word document

The built-in auto-recover feature on Word works by saving a version of the document at regular intervals. It basically saves when you forget to. To recover an unsaved Word document after a crash, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Start menu or the apps’ list and find the Microsoft Word tile.
  2. Right-click it and from the context menu select the document you were working on.
  3. If you never saved the document i.e. never gave it a name, simply open Microsoft Word.
  4. The Document Recovery panel will open on the left.
  5. Select a version of the document to recover and then save it with the Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut.

2. Manually recover unsaved Word document

If the Document Recovery panel doesn’t open, there is still a chance that you can manually recover a file.

  1. On your desktop, open Microsoft Word.
  2. Go to File>Options.
  3. Select the ‘Save’ tab.
  4. Under the ‘Save Documents’ section, look for the Autorecover file location.
  5. Copy the location to the clipboard.
  6. Open File Explorer.
  7. Paste the location into the location bar, and tap Enter.
  8. You will see a file with the ASD file extension. This is the auto-save. Double-click to open it.
  9. When prompted, select Word as the app to open the file with.


By default, Microsoft Word saves documents every ten minutes however, users can change this interval to be as low as 1 minute. Go to File>Options>Save and change the auto-save interval for all files. It may slow your system down just a tiny bit but it will allow you to recover more recent changes after Microsoft Word or Windows 10 crash. You can also change where the auto-recovery files are saved and set it to a cloud location allowing you to recover a file from a remote system.

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