Recover what you lost

Did you forget to save that Word document before you closed it? Did you accidentally delete that important photo?

Here’s how you can get out of that jam.

Ack! I forgot to save my Word document.

It’s happened to almost all of us. It’s certainly happened to me. We’re in the middle of something, we close Word, and it asks us politely if we want to save our work. And… we accidentally hit “don’t Save instead of “Save.”

There’s still a chance you can recover that document:

  • Open Word again
  • Click on File | Open | Recover Unsaved Documents (that’s way at the bottom)

You’ll get to a window with your unsaved Word documents from the last few days. (Not from forever.)

  • Double-click on your document to open it
  • At the top of the document you should see a message: This is a recovered file that is temporarily stored on your computer.
  • Click on File | Save as and navigate to the location where you want to save your file.
  • Name your file if necessary
  • Click Save

Sometimes your document won’t open. You can try to repair it. Instead of double-clicking and failing to open:

  • Click on your document
  • Use the dropdown arrow to select Open and Repair
  • If that works, continue as above to save your file

If you think this could ever happen to you, you’re going to want to make sure that AutoRecover is turned on in Word.

Do this now, before something bad happens!

  • Open any Word document, or even a blank one
  • Click on File | Options | Save
  • In the Save Documents section, place a check in Save AutoRecover information …  and choose the time between saves. (Usually 10 minutes.)
  • Place a check in Keep the last AutoRecovered version if I close without saving
  • Click on OK

This will help you if your have a power outage or disruption to the computer where it loses power or reboots while you’re in the middle of Word.

When you open Word again, you’ll see a list of documents that can be autorecovered (Sometimes the list is only one item long!)

Click next to a file and use the dropdown arrow to recover it and save it to the desired location.

Whoops! I deleted the photos from my trip/wedding/child’s birthday/whatever.

First, if you deleted these photos from your PC or your Mac, look in the Recycle Bin or Trash. If your photos are there, use Restore on the PC to put them back where they were. On a Mac, drag them out.

If you have a backup of your computer or you’re using Time Machine on your Mac, you can likely recovery your photos from there.

If they’re not there, then take your search to the next level: You need some recovery software.

My go-to program for this is Recuva from Piraform, safe link here.

It will find and allow you to recover all kinds of files, not just photos. It will find them on your PC, your SD cards from your camera, and your mp3 player.

Another useful program is EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free, available for PC, and for Mac. Like Recuva, these programs will recover more than just photos.

To minimize the chances of losing photos from your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or Android device, back them up to the relevant cloud.

Google Photos

Have you ever had to restore a file? Did you find a solution you like? Tell us about it at [email protected]


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

Computer Care Kelowna

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