Posted on September 8, 2016 · Posted in MS Office

How to Recover an Unsaved Word Document in Office 2010

I don’t often post something about such common user issues, but today I came across an unpleasant situation, when the process winword.exe hung, was aborted and didn’t save changes in the current document. It was necessary to urgently deal with the autosave features  of MS Word 2010 and try to recover the document. I’m adding the results of my investigation to the knowledge base on this website as a guide on the recovery of unsaved document in MS Word 2010.  In other MS Office versions (2007, 2013, 2016) autosave works similarly.

In MS Office 2010, there is the AutoSave feature, which has to regularly save the copies of the edited document. If Word is started after a failure, the system will display the list of documents not saved earlier in the Document Recovery pane. After clicking the document (which has a mark [Autosaved] in its name), you can open the latest automatically created copy.

Document recovery pane in MS Word 2010

If you don’t see this pane, start Word and click Recover Unsaved Documents in File –> Info –> Manage Versions.

word 2010 recover unsaved documents

A dialog box appears containing the directory with the copies of unsaved files from all MS Office applications.

Tip. In Windows XP copies are saved in the directory C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\Unsaved Files

In Windows Vista  / 7 / 8 / 10  -  C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

Where %username% is the name of your account.

asd unsaved word files

As you can see, the files have the extension .asd – these are the Word AutoSave files. If the document is new and hasn’t been previously saved by a user, its name looks like this: Autorecovery save of Document1.asd.

Try to open this kind of a document. If it doesn’t open due to being corrupted, you can try to use the integrated feature of file recovery (Open and Repair). The copies of unsaved documents are stored for 4 days and then deleted. So don’t forget to save the recovered document using File -> Save as.

open and repair asd files

When editing a document, Word regularly (by default, every 10 minutes) saves the current version of a file to its service directory. The AutoSave settings can be found in File –> Options –> Save.

word 2010 autosave settings

The AutoSave directory is specified here.

  1. For XP, it is C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Word
  2. For Windows 7 or higher, it is C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word

These directories are hidden by default.

Tip. To centrally manage the AutoSave Word 2010 settings on user computers in domaun, you can use the feature of registry keys management with Group Policy Preferences.

The AutoSave directory is set in the AUTOSAVE-PATH (REG_EXPAND_SZ) parameter of HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\(Product)\Options\AutoRecoverPath

(Product) has to be substituted with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.

The frequency of file saving is set in wautosaveinterval_112_16 (type REG_DWORD) parameter in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Options\vpref

The possible values of the parameter (in minutes) are 0 to 120.

word 2010 autosave wbk files

This directory contains the autoSave files (*.asd), temporary files (*.tmp), and backup files (*.wbk). The names of the files are not suitable for navigation through different documents. To find a saved version of the document, it’s better to open files based on the date when changes were made to the document for the last time.

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