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How to Recover a Microsoft Word File

The chances are you use Microsoft Word for your word processing. It’s really the best tool for it, especially when it comes as part of the Microsoft Office package. However, nothing can be more frustrating than losing your work on a document – either halfway through it or after the fact. We’re going to show you how to recover a Microsoft Word file.

First of all, the latest versions of Microsoft Word have integrations with cloud services. Microsoft push OneDrive because that’s their own service, but you could also integrate with others like Dropbox. However, Word is primarily an offline tool for most people.

Word has a handy auto save feature that can save you t the front line. Click File, go to Options > Save, then tick the ‘Save AutoRecover information every X minutes’. You can input a number into the box to adjust the figure. Also, tick ‘Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving’. Beneath this you’ll see the folder location of where the AutoRecover files are stored, which you can change by clicking ‘Browse’.

Feel free to choose a small interval of time if your system is prone to failure. Every 5 minutes or so is probably a safe bet, whereas you might find every 1 minute is putting unnecessary strain if your system is already old or struggling.

Another feature you can use in Word is to create a backup copy of your files. For this, go to Options > Tools, go to the Save header, then tick ‘Always create backup copy’. While you’re here, also tick ‘Allow background saves’. Saving documents can take a bit of time as they grow in size or if saving to a slow storage device, so enabling this option allows Word to save in the background as you continue to work on the document.

However, although it’s useful that Word provides these features, you should not use them as a substitute for backing up your data. You should employ a stable backup plan that covers all your data, incrementally backing it up as it changes. You should backup on multiple formats, on devices which are stored at different physical locations.

But what happens if all of this fails? And you lose your Word document for good? It might not be the end. You can use third-party data recovery tools to try and get your data back. An example of one tool is R-Studio, which will scan your drive and try to recover any files that you may have previously assumed are missing or lost.

If you’re just looking for a Word document, you can use R-Studio to filter only files with specific extensions and through a set time period, which will help you find the document you need quicker. It might be that the document doesn’t have its original file name, which is just due to how data deletion works, but it won’t mean that you can’t necessarily recover the whole document.

At the end of the day, don’t rely on recovery to get your files back. It’s a solution, and one that often works, but save yourself the trouble and employ a backup plan to protect yourself.


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