Do you need the recovery procedure for VSD files, i.e., files generated by Microsoft Visio? You’re far from the only one! Many users employ this software for flowcharts and diagramming in their projects. Unfortunately, disaster can strike by coincidence, human error, or hardware and software failure. In all cases, the result would be data loss and a lot of work to get back to that point. Luckily, developers have created a failsafe feature that memorizes your progress and lets you continue after the application reopens. Additionally, you can find save files hidden in the storage or employ outside help. With all that said, let’s show you how to recover VSD files.
Common causes of VSD file loss
First, we need to clarify that .vsd and .vsdm are both file extensions used for project files by the Microsoft Vision software. Since the aforementioned application exist for over 3 decades, since 1992, it went through several extensions. The addition of “m” usually signifies the project was created in newer versions. After all, VSDM was introduced with the release of Microsoft Vision 2013, and is widely utilized in Microsoft 365, and other recent versions. Now, before we dive into recovery, some users may be unaware of how their files were gone. Therefore, we’ll list frequent reasons VSD files were lost or deleted:
- Closing Microsoft Visio accidentally or the software becoming nonresponsive
- Disasters such as operating system crash, sudden power surge and system shut down, or uninstallation of software
- Virus, malware, or ransomware attack that corrupted or erased VSD files
- Hardware storage failure that made data inaccessible or invisible
- Accidental formatting of the partition or entire hard drive
1. Recover VSD files using the Microsoft AutoRecover feature
Now for the feature that makes the restoration work. Microsoft introduced the AutoRecover feature to applications in the Microsoft Office suite of applications years ago. The feature, which may be disabled by default, memorizes your progress periodically for a configured period. Then, if you accidentally close without saving, the application hangs or crashes, power goes off, or your operating system crashes, it will preserve the file until the next time you open the software. Therefore, the recovery of VSD files can be as easy as:
- Close the Visio application if it’s still running in the background or not responding. That will trigger the autosave feature if it’s enabled.
- Open Microsoft Visio and the latest drawing will open with [Recovered] next to its name. For instance, the drawing may be titled Drawing2.vsd [Recovered].
If that doesn’t work, and you’re using a newer version of Visio, you may try to:
- Click the File tab.
- Go to Open and select Browse.
- That will open a pop-up window with the folder where the software saves drawings by default. You may choose a familiar .vsd file name and open it.
The last resort is to try the option that may exist in some Microsoft Office software versions:
- Click the File tab again.
- Head to Info this time.
- Select Manage Versions or Manage Drawings.
- Go to the Restore Unsaved Drawings option.
- Pick the unsaved file and select Save as before selecting a location where to save the VSD or VSDM file.
Enable the autosave feature and manually rescue Microsoft Visio AutoRecover project files
If you haven’t found the files you seek, you have two options we mentioned in the title. The most common one is that the feature wasn’t enabled, at which point you should cut your losses and wise up. However, to ensure that doesn’t happen again, you should turn the Microsoft Visio AutoRecover feature on this way:
- Open Microsoft Visio.
- Go to Tools in the main menu.
- Select Options.
- Go to the Save tab.
- Put the checkmark in the box in front of the Save AutoRecovery every option.
- Enter the number in the “minutes” box, such as “5” if you want the software to save the progress every 5 minutes.
- Click OK to confirm changes.
The second option is that the software simply hasn’t discovered the file, despite it being saved. Luckily, the file path stays the same by default and doesn’t vary based on the software version. Thus, you can find recovered Microsoft Visio VSD and VSDM files in these locations:
- Windows temp folder — Open Windows Explorer and type
- Visio folder —
%userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Visio
Search for “vsd” or ”vsdm” and see if the operating system has indexed them. You can also search for AutoRecover11.ini (Visio 2003, 2007, later version) or AutoRecover.ini (Visio 2002 and older versions), which are text files that contain the data path of the unsaved files.
2. Utilize a data recovery application to rescue VSD files
If you cannot find VSD files in the default locations or from within the software, they may be erased from your storage. Luckily, data remains on the hard drive for a period before it gets overwritten. Thus, if you act quickly and avoid installing new software or transferring data, you can use top Windows data restoration software. We have no ties to any developers and remain unbiased, but we’ll show the process with a popular choice. Here’s how to use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover your VSD files:
- Download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. It lets you restore up to 2 GB of data for free, more than enough for VSD files.
- Install and open the software, then select a drive where the files were, likely C: You can also scan all drives by picking “Can’t find location”.
- Select the Scan option and scanning begins. After a while, the EaseUS software displays all files it found in the chosen location.
- You can now use the “Existing Files,” “Deleted Files,” and “Lost Files” options to browse data. We suggest using the search bar to type “vsdm” and ”vsd”.
- Put checkmarks in front of files you want to restore, then click the Recover button in the bottom right corner.
- Select the location for the restored .vsd and .vsdm files. You can then open them in Microsoft Visio to see the partial or entire drawing.