How to Recover UNSAVED MS Word Files from AutoRecovery Files (.ASD)

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Recovering unsaved MS Word documents

When MS Word is closed or terminated abruptly or improperly, any unsaved data or documents can be lost. However, MS Word has a built-in autorecovery system can can allow you to retrieve unsaved files. There are certain default MS Word settings that allow MS Word to save a snap shot of the unsaved document and make the snap shots available for recovery purposes.

This article will show you how to check your Auto-recovery settings and has to recover unsaved files when your MS Word chrashed.

NOTE: The procedures and screen shots displayed here are done with MS Word 2010. However, these same steps can work with MS Word 2007 or 2013 with only a slight difference in the interface.

Checking your MS Word Auto-Recovery Settings

Please check your default Auto-recovery settings in your MS Word to see if indeed it is doing some auto-recovery for your unsaved documents. It will be a worst nightmare to just believe that MS Word is doing its thing but when MS Word crashes, no recovery files are available for you.

  1. Open your MS Word program.
  2. Click on the File menu, then click Options.
    MS Word options
  3. A dialog box called Word Options will now show up. On the left panel, click on Save.
  4. In the Save options, under the Save documents group, please check if the "Save Auto-Recover information every xxx minutes" is checked. If not, please click to check it. This will force MS Word to save auto-recovery information of your opened files.
  5. Also check the sub-option that says "Keep the last autosaved version if I closed without saving". It should look like this:
    Word save Options
  6. Click OK to close the Word Options window.

When the Auto-Recovery options above are in place, when MS Word crashes, you have few recovery options.

MS Word Recovery Options for Unsaved Documents

Default Recovery: Document Recovery Panel

When MS Word crashed, your unsaved documents are nto totally lost if you turned on the auto-recovery options described above. The next time you open MS Word after a crash, you shall get a "Document Recovery" panel at the left side of your MS Word window.

The document recovery prompt

The easiest way to recovery the file in this case is to open the reported file, then SAVE AS the document overwriting the old version so that what you will get is the latest version will all the recent changes saved.

Recover from .ASD Files

If you unintentionally closed and bypassed the Document Recovery prompt when you opened MS Word after a crash, it is not the end of the world. The unsaved files may not be showing up again every time you open MS Word since you closed the Document Recovery panel, but the actual recoverable files are still there.

  1. Open MS Word
  2. The Document Recovery panel will no longer be displayed. Click on the File menu, then click on Recent.
  3. It shall show you all the recently opened documents. Locate the command at the bottom that says "Recover Unsaved Documents"
    Recover Unsaved Document
  4. Then you shall get a dialog box showing all unsaved documents in .ASD file format. The typical location of ASD files is:
    C:\Users\your-user-name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles
    

    The ASD files location

  5. Click to open the ASD file and then save it immediately.

PROBLEM: I have copied  the ASD files somewhere and now I cannot open them with MS Word. Now what???

SOLUTION: If by any chance you have copied the ASD files somewhere and you are no longer able to allow MS Word to open when for recovery purposes, you need to visit your UnsavedFiles folder and then drop a copy of your ASD files there. The typical path is:

C:\Users\your-user-name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

where your-user-name is your Windows account name or your login name.

Once you pasted a copy of the ASD files in the correct path, try to follow the steps above and you shall then be able to view the contents of the ASD files for recovery.