Whether it’s for the first computer class or project documentation, every Windows user has used the MS Word software at least once in their life. Even today, many people rely on MS Word to work on multiple projects. In simple words, MS Word and Word documents are something that’s connected to every Windows user’s life. And we often keep a lot of important data in Word documents. But even these reliable documents can get deleted or corrupted. Moreover, they can get overwritten turning hours of work into thin air. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to recover the Word documents on a Windows PC.
In this article, we will show you how to restore deleted, unsaved, and overwritten Word documents on a Windows PC. Without further ado, let’s delve right in.
Instructions to Recover Unsaved Word Documents on a Windows PC
Did your MS Word crash when you were editing an unsaved document? You probably took a break, only to find that your computer was frozen and needed a force reboot. Whatever the case is, it doesn’t change the fact that you had to close the MS Word without saving your document. In such cases, the AutoRecover feature of MS Word, which is enabled by default, might help you get your data back. In case this feature is not active, you should always enable it. Therefore, before we show you how the AutoRecover feature can help you recover the unsaved Word files, let’s take a look at how to turn it on first.
Turning AutoRecover on in MS Word
Here’s what you need to do to enable AutoRecover in Word:
- Click on the “File” tab and select “Options.”
- Now, click on the “Save” tab.
- Check the boxes for these two options:
- “Save AutoRecover information every X minutes.” Here, replace X with an appropriate value. For example, if you would like the AutoRecover feature to save a copy of the file every 5 minutes, replace the “X” with “5.”
- “Keep the last AutoRecovered version if I close without saving.”
- Click on the “OK” button to save the changes.
Use AutoRecover to Restore the Unsaved Word Documents
As we have mentioned before, AutoRecover is enabled on MS Word by default in most cases. If that’s the case for you, you can easily restore your unsaved Word documents using the AutoRecover feature. Follow these instructions:
- Open MS Word and click on the “File” tab.
- Click on the “Open” tab on the left panel, and then select the “Browse” option on the right panel.
- Next, a list of different files will be opened. Look for the files with the “.asd” extension.
- If you’re unable to find the file you are looking for, navigate to File → Info → Manage Documents (or Manage Versions) → Recover Unsaved Documents.
- Now, check for the unsaved Word document you are looking for in the dialog box. It should appear if you have lost the file recently.
- Once you find the file, click on it. After that, click on the “Save As” button to save the file properly.
There it is; you have recovered the unsaved Word documents on a Windows PC.
Windows PC Guide to Recover Deleted Word Document Files
You have learned to rescue an unsaved Word document using the AutoRecover feature. But what if the Word files are completely wiped out from your device? In this section, we will show you four methods to restore erased documents in Word on a Windows 10/11 PC.
1. Check the Recycle Bin for Word Files
If you lost a file from your Windows device, Recycle Bin should always be the first place to search for it. Every file you delete on a Windows PC usually goes to the Recycle Bin, including the Word files. Unless you have permanently deleted a file from your device by bypassing the Recycle Bin, you should be able to find your deleted file there. If you find the file there, you could easily restore it to its original location. Here’s how you can do it:
- Double-click the “Recycle Bin” icon available on the home screen to open it.
- Once the Recycle Bin window opens, look for the Word documents you want to restore. If you remember the file name—even better. Go to the “Search Box” of the Recycle Bin, type the file name, and hit the “Enter” key. You should be able to find the file if it’s still in the Recycle Bin.
- Right-click on the file you want to retrieve and click on the “Restore” option.
That’s it. The chosen file will be restored to its original data path.
2. Utilize File History Local Backups
You should always back up your computer’s data at regular intervals to keep them safe. On Windows devices, you can use File History, the built-in data backup and restoration feature of Windows OS, to back up important files from your chosen folders. Therefore, if you have set up the File History to back up your Word documents, you can use this feature to restore the deleted Word files. Here’s how you can do it:
- Click on the “Search” icon on the taskbar and type “Control Panel.”
- Once, the Control Panel shows up in the search results, click on it to open it.
- Next, navigate to System and Security → File History.
- Now, click on the “Restore personal files” option on the left panel of the File History window. A new File History window with a list of multiple backed-up files will show up.
- Search for the Word documents you are looking for and select them.
- Finally, click on the green-colored circular “Restore” button at the bottom of the screen to restore files to their original location.
3. Use OneDrive to Recover Word Documents on a Windows PC
OneDrive is Msoft’s cloud storage and backup service that allows users to backup their computer’s data online at regular intervals. It comes pre-installed with every Windows 10/11 device, and it can back up your files automatically as long as you’re online. Thus, if you have synced your Windows device with OneDrive, you can recover the deleted Word documents with ease. Here’s how you can use OneDrive to recover Word documents on a Windows PC:
- Go to OneDrive’s official website and sign in using your Microsoft account credentials.
- Click on the “Recycle Bin” option on the left panel.
- Look for the Word documents you want to restore. Once you find the files you are looking for, select them.
- Click on the “Restore” option. The files you have selected will go back to their original locations on your computer.
4. Restore Word Files via Data Recovery Software
Sometimes, people just don’t make backups for certain kinds of files. It’s quite natural and we understand it. Thus, even if you have no backups for your deleted Word files—please don’t worry. You can still use professional data recovery applications to restore the lost Word documents.
Selecting a Data Recovery Software
There are many data recovery applications available in the market nowadays, and you can choose any, i.e., the choice is yours. However, before you select a data recovery application, you have to keep two important things in mind:
- The data recovery app of your choice must come from a reputable company
- The software must have been tested by both experts and general consumers, and it has a lot of positive reviews
As long as your data restoration software meets these two conditions, you are free to download and use it to retrieve your data. However, if you’re still unable to select a data restoration app, check out our guide to the best data recovery software for Windows machines. It will help you pick one that fits your requirements.
Employing Data Rescue Software to Get Word Documents on a Windows PC Back
Once you download and install a data recovery application of your choice, follow these instructions to restore the deleted Word documents on Windows:
- Launch the data recovery software on your Windows device.
- Next, select the storage device and drive that contained the deleted MS Word files.
- Start the scanning process by clicking on the “Search for lost data” or “Scan” button. Now, the application will scan your hard disk drive for the recoverable files.
- Once the scan is complete, you should see a list of recoverable files that were deleted from your chosen drive. Look for the Word files you want to restore and select them.
- Click on the “Restore” button.
- Pick a location for your selected files and click on the “OK” button. The Word files of your choice will be transferred to your selected location.
Recover Overwritten Word Documents on a Windows PC
Do you want to recover an overwritten Word document on your Windows PC? You can easily do so by going to the “Properties” menu of the folder the file is in. Proceed in this fashion:
- Open the “File Explorer” window and go to the folder where the original file was.
- Now, right-click on the folder and a new prompt with multiple options will show up.
- Click on the “Properties” option.
- Click on the “Previous Versions” tab, and then select the version of the Word file that you want to recover under the “File versions” section.
- Select the “Restore” button and then the “OK” button to save the changes.
With this, you have restored the overwritten Word document.