ECMP 355

Lost important unsaved changes in Word

I was working on one of my major assignments for another ECS class. It was a Microsoft Word document, I had made quite a few changes in it, and most importantly those changes were seen and approved by the instructor. The Word document was already opened when I connected to ECMP355 class through zoom on Thursday night. I had some issue with my camera that night, it was not working. Katia said that don’t worry about it, it’s ok for tonight if I couldn’t fix it. I thought a restart of the computer may help to fix the problem. So, I restarted it without closing any of my opened applications (I did not pay attention what was opened because I was in a rush to catch the class at 7:00 PM and not to miss anything.) In rush, I accidentally skipped through the “Save your changes” dialog and closed Word without saving the document!

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I realized the loss as soon as the computer turned back on. I connected with ECMP class but my mind had been diverted. I checked my assignment in the Word document with a hope that I might have saved my last changes. But unfortunately, I had lost all major changes that I made after discussion with my instructor. I was so upset that I could not focus well what was being discussed in the class. As soon as the class finished, I started to look online if there was a way to retrieve unsaved changes in the Word document. There were many articles and methods online, some of them did not work for me but then finally I was able to retrieve my data by gaining some knowledge from online resources and mixing it with my own troubleshooting techniques.

A big relief and excitement! Thank God, I will not have to redo it. Soon after that, I decided to share my experience with ECMP community as this week there was a free post choice. Many of us use Word document as a student and might also use it as a teacher in future for lesson planning. My post should be helpful to some of those who may encounter such a situation at any stage of learning or teaching.

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The very first article that I read on How to Recover an Unsaved Word Document” was on recovering an unsaved Word document using Microsoft Word 2010, Word 2013, and Word 2016. Since I was using Word 2016, I thought it would be beneficial for me. In an opened Word document, I followed the procedure as follows:

File Tab > Info > Manage Document > Recover Unsaved Documents

After clicking on the above-mentioned tabs/buttons, An ‘Open dialog box’ opens displaying a list of your unsaved recoverable Word documents. Select the Word document you wish to recover and click the Open button.

But, my document was not in the list. And to my understanding, the reason was that I have saved my document already and what I was looking for were the changes that I didn’t save before closing Word. This article gave me some information on ‘Change the save AutoRecover information time’ but it was not clear enough on how to retrieve unsaved changes. But through this, I found the path/location where auto recover files are saved on my computer.

I checked the directory but there was no auto-recover file.

Then I looked for information on “Closing an existing Word document without saving it” and found this article “Recover Lost Changes To A Word Document”. It tells different things to try to retrieve the changes as, unfortunately, there is no one solution to this problem. And these troubleshooting techniques would only work if we have saved our document at some point (which was the case with me).

  • Restart Word to look for the recovered document – This method did not work for me as I had already started Word a few times during my troubleshooting. “Document discovery” task pane only shows up the first time you launch the Word application and there is no other Word document already opened. (I had a few other Word documents opened at that point.)
  • Search for AutoRecover files – This method did not work for me as there was no auto-recover file in the ‘recent document’ list. (In my Word ‘save’ options, Auto-recover time was set for 10 minutes only and it had been more than two hours since the changes were lost and I had opened my document several times in between.)
  • Search for .asd files – Again no luck with this method as well. The auto-recover file has been deleted from the location where these files used to store.
  • There was only one method left (Search for Word backup files). Before proceeding to the next one, I thought to check ‘recycle‘ bin to see if the deleted auto-recover version of the file is there. I was able to find the file by enabling “view hidden files“, my excitement was just overloaded. The reason I had to enable this option was that Word saves auto-recover files with .asd extension and not with .docx extension. (It means auto-recover files are not Word documents, you have to save it as a Word or .docx file immediately after opening it.)

 I hope, it all makes sense to my readers. Thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “Lost important unsaved changes in Word

  1. Thank your for sharing this! This post is very helpful. Every student has the fear of losing their work. I am glad that you were able to recover your document. I often email myself right after I make any changes. I sometimes use Google Docs for my personal assignments as well. You don’t have to remember to click the “save button” on Google Docs. They will always be there! However, hopefully your internet is working if you do decided to use Google Docs! I hope that more people see this blog post, as it will benefit all of us.


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