If Microsoft Word Crashes, Do This Thing to Recover Unsaved Work

450853 If Microsoft Word Crashes, Do This Thing to Recover Unsaved Work

Losing unsaved work in Microsoft Word due to a crash can be incredibly frustrating. As a writer or office worker, you’ve likely experienced the pain of Word unexpectedly shutting down and taking your latest draft or edits down with it.

The good news is that Word has some built-in safeguards to help you recover unsaved documents in case of a crash. And by tweaking a few settings, you can ensure Word will auto-save your work more frequently to prevent data loss.

In this article, we’ll walk through what to do step-by-step when Word crashes to rescue your work. We’ll also show you how to configure Word to auto-recover files more often. Follow these tips and you can minimize the chances of ever losing work again.

Step 1: Reopen Word and Check for AutoRecovered Files

After a crash, the first thing you should do is reopen Word. When launched, Word will automatically display a Document Recovery pane listing any recovered files it could salvage.

Look for your document in the list. Often the most recently edited file will open automatically. If you see your file, save it right away before continuing to work.

If you don’t see your file listed, try closing and reopening Word. On some systems, this triggers the recovery pane to activate.

Step 2: Browse to the AutoRecovery File Location

If Word can’t find your unsaved document, don’t panic yet. You can browse to where Word saves auto-recovered files.

Go to File > Options > Save and make note of the AutoRecover file location. Open this folder in File Explorer.

Look for auto-saved versions of your file. Recovered docs are saved with the file name, date, and time of the auto-save.

Open any files that look relevant. With luck, your latest edits will be there waiting. Don’t forget to save the recovered work!

Step 3: Restore Previous Versions from Backup

Still no luck? Try looking in your Windows backups or cloud storage if you have that set up.

Go to File Explorer and right-click your original document (if saved previously). Select “Restore previous versions” to surface older copies.

With cloud syncing like OneDrive, you may also be able to restore prior iterations of a file through the web interface or recovery tools.

Step 4: Use the Open and Repair Command

If a specific file is causing repeated crashes in Word, the document itself may have become corrupted.

When opening the problematic file, select the dropdown arrow next to the Open button. Choose Open and Repair.

Word will scan the document and try to remove corrupt elements so you can regain access.

Step 5: Activate Safe Mode

Sometimes crashes are due to add-ins rather than file corruption. As a test, use Word’s Safe Mode which launches the app without add-ins or extensions.

Click Start > type “winword /safe” and press Enter to open Word in Safe Mode. Or hold the Ctrl key when opening Word until prompted to activate Safe Mode.

See if the crashing issues continue in this minimalist mode. If the problem goes away, an add-in is likely the culprit.

Configure AutoSave Settings

To reduce future risk, adjust AutoSave settings so Word saves your changes more frequently. Combine this with AutoRecover for maximum protection.

Go to File > Options > Save and check the boxes for:

  • “Save AutoRecover information every X minutes”
  • “Keep the last AutoRecovered file if I close without saving”

Set the auto-save frequency to every 5-10 minutes. Shorter durations have more impact on performance.

Extra Safeguard – Use a Cloud or Local Backup

For an additional layer of safety, make sure your critical Word documents are backed up either to a personal cloud account or external drive.

Cloud services like OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox can automatically sync Word docs and keep historical versions.

Local Windows backups also record point-in-time data snapshots, letting you “go back in time” to restore older copies of files.

Key Takeaways to Recover Files After a Microsoft Word Crash

Here are some key tips to recap on rescuing work in Word after a crash:

  • When reopening Word, look for the Document Recovery pane with unsaved file listings
  • Browse to the AutoRecover file location on your hard drive to find auto-saved versions
  • Try restoring previous versions from backup or using the Open and Repair command
  • Activate Safe Mode to determine if an add-in is causing the crashing behavior
  • Adjust AutoSave and AutoRecover settings for more frequent automatic file saving
  • Use a cloud sync or local backup system to preserve additional copies of important docs

Put these steps into action before continuing work in your document to ensure you don’t lose any recent changes. And optimize Word’s background saving capabilities to minimize work lost in any future unexpected shutdowns.

A bit of planning and proactive troubleshooting can save you from catastrophically losing unsaved work. Now you’re prepared to handle any Word crashes that come your way!

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