How to Recover Lost/Deleted Word Document?

Imagine working on an important report for a whole week, only to lose the word file right before an important meeting. To recover lost/deleted word document can be a daunting task, especially if you have not faced the situation in the past. If you have been suffering from the same and the file is nowhere to be found on the system, we will cover numerous ways in which you can recover lost/deleted word documents.

Situations in Which Word Files Can be Lost

There are a lot of factors that can lead to word files being lost.

  • Accidental deletion of files.
  • Viruses and malware that corrupt word files.
  • Damage to a section of the hard drive.
  • Bad sectors in the hard drive.
  • Sudden power surges or failure.

Solutions to Recover Lost Word Documents

Here are some methods which help you to recover lost/deleted word documents. Follow them in the order that they are mentioned. This will cover every possible angle and ensure maximum chances of recovery.

Solution 1. Check your Recycle Bin

This goes without saying and In case you have accidentally deleted the word file, it is only valid to rule this out. You can simply restore the file if it is found there. If not, move to the next step.

Solution 2. Search for the Word Backup File

There are high chances that Word has created a backup file of the document. This happens when ‘Always create a backup copy’ option is selected. Follow these steps according to the software version you are using.

Always create a backup copy

Figure: illustrates Always create a backup copy

Follow these steps to find the backup file:

  • Go to the folder where the missing file was saved.
  • Search for files that have the extension .wbk

These files will also have the term ‘Backup of’ followed by the name of the missing file. In case you see such a file, move on to the next section.

2.a For Word 2010 Users

  • Start Word.
  • Go to File. Click on Open.
  • Select ‘All Files’ in the Type of Files dropdown list.
  • Select the backup file.
  • Click on Open.

2.b For Word 2007 Users

  • Start Word.
  • Click on Microsoft Office Button.
  • Click on Open.
  • Select ‘All Files’ in the Type of Files dropdown list.
  • Select the backup file and click on Open.

2.c For Word 2003 & 2002 Users

  • Start Word.
  • Go to the ‘File’ menu. Click on Open.
  • Select on the arrow in the Type of Files dropdown list.
  • Select the file and click on Open.

Once you see the file is open, save it immediately to recover lost/deleted word document.

Solution 3. Word’s Auto Recovery Feature

The Auto recover feature of Word automatically searches for files that can be recovered everytime it starts. The found results are then displayed in the auto recovery task pane.

To find Autorecover files with Word, follow these steps:

  • Open Task Manager.
  • Go to the Processes tab.
  • Select all active Word instances of Word and click on ‘End Process’.
  • Exit the Task Manager. Start Word.

Auto Recovery

Figure: illustrates Auto Recovery

Word will automatically find Autorecover files. They should be visible on the left side of the screen. Locate your missing file and double-click on it. Save the file to completely recover it.

In case the recovery pane does not open, you can also make Word manually search for the file. Follow these steps:

3.a For Word 2013 Users

  • Open Word.
  • Go to the File Menu. Click on Open.
  • Click on Recent Documents.
  • Scroll to the end. Click on ‘Recover Unsaved Documents’.
  • Select the missing document and click on Open.

3.b For Word 2010 Users

  • Go to the File menu. Click on Recent.
  • Click on ‘Recover Unsaved Documents’.

3.c For Word 2007 Users

  • Go to the Microsoft Office Button.
  • Click on ‘Word Options’.
  • Click on ‘Save’ in the navigation pane.
  • You will be able to see the path of the file in the Autorecover file location box. Note it.
  • Click on Cancel and Exit Word.
  • Go to the location mentioned in the path noted above.
  • Look for files with .asd extension.

3.d For Word 2003 & 2002 Users

  • Go to the Tools menu. Click on Options.
  • Double-click on ‘Autorecover Files’ in the File Location tab.
  • Note the path. Click on Cancel and close Word.
  • Go to the location mentioned in the path noted above.
  • Look for files with .asd extension.

You can also use the Search option of the Operation System to search for all .asd files.

Solution 4. Search for Temporary Files

If the above method does not work for you, you can even search Temporary Files to recover lost word documents. These are the files whose names end in the .tmp extension. Here is how you can find these files:

  • Click on Start. Go to the Search box.
  • Type .tmp and press Enter.
  • In the toolbar that pops up, click on ‘Other’.
  • Scroll the list of documents to find your file.
  • If you can locate the file, try opening it with Word.

Solution 5 – It does not matter which version of word processor you are using. Recovering word file is not easy, but with the help of Stellar windows data recovery software, you can recover deleted files quickly. The software can recover deleted, corrupted, damaged word files and other files format.

Solution 6 – Recover Word Files with Professional Data Recovery Services

Furthermore, If none of the above-mentioned methods works for you, you need professional data recovery services. With decades of experience, Stellar can be that perfect data recovery service provider for you. Whether you want to recover lost word documents after a crash or have simply lost the files, we come to your rescue round the clock with a team of experts that are well-versed in every intricacy of storage devices.

Here is how we recover your files:

  • Our experts pick up the drive with the missing file from your doorstep.
  • The drive is analyzed for errors or condition that led to the word file loss. You are notified about the same.
  • The word files (or any other required files) are successfully recovered and verified with you.

Stellar can handle all data recovery requirements including lost, formatted, and damaged files from any storage device.

Stellar Remote Recovery Services

Stellar is committed to data recovery needs across the country during the COVID-19 crisis. In continuation of our commitment to data care services and to ensure data loss does not hamper businesses or individuals, Stellar will be operating online and provide remote data recovery services.

We are available on Chat, Phone and Email.


These methods give you the maximum chance of recovering your lost word files. If you don’t have the time to execute every step or if none of the initial ones is working for you, the fastest and easiest way is to opt for a professional data recovery service. In case you are searching for one, get in touch with Stellar today at 1800-102-3232 to kickstart your data recovery process right away!

  1. Amit December 6, 2018
  2. Niranjan Gupta December 6, 2018

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