Updated: March 06, 2023
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by Samanta Jones
Tech Expert & Writer
498 resolved issues

How does word autorecovery work?

Hello, thank you for using Howly.
What version of Word do you have?

Customer Replay

I think microsoft 365


You want to learn about the process of autorecovery, or do you have some issues that you want to fix?

Customer Replay

i wanted to learn about the process. basically my word crashed and didn't save the latest version. I had to auto recover
how does the mechanics work?

When Word starts, it searches for AutoRecover files. If any recovered files are found, Word opens them by having a Message Bar. Did you get this Message Bar?

Customer Replay

i did
but shouldn't autosave save the file automatically? i lost like 30-45 minutes of work

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By default, AutoRecovery will save your document every 10 minutes; however, you do have the option to change the frequency it saves. For Windows Users: Go to File – Options – Save. Make sure the AutoRecover box is checked to ensure it is turned on for all your documents.

Customer Replay

so is autorecovery different from saving the file?

AutoRecover or AutoSave does not replace the Save command. You should use the Save command to save your document at regular intervals and when you finish working on it.

Customer Replay

so if my computer crashes and i reopen the document, it's possible that the last version actually saved was from 30-45 minutes ago?
i would have to autorecover it to get the latest?

It depends on the intervals that you specified. Have you looked them up in the options?

Customer Replay

what intervals would cause this situation?

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Yes, Autorecover has the latest saved changes in your situation.

Customer Replay

i do not have the "keep last Autorecovered version if I close without saving" checked
what does that mean?

It means that when you open your document after it was closed abruptly, not all the changes may be saved.

Customer Replay

but i would still be able to auto recover? I have the save autorecover information every 5 minutes

Please, tick the option to keep the last Autorecovered version if I close without saving it.

Customer Replay

i will
but in this case
what happens if i have save auto recover every 5 minutes ticked but not keep last autorecovered version if i close without saving

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Then you will be greeted with a message if you want to resume from your AutoRecover file, or from your last manually saved file.
By the way, your AutoRecover files should be stored there: C:UsersuserAppDataRoamingMicrosoftWord

Customer Replay

ok so am i correct in understanding what happened to me? i saved a file 45 minutes ago and continued working. then, my computer crashed and i didn't save it
then i reopened the file and it didn't update to the autorecovered version
that was because the keep last autorecovered version if i close without saving was not ticked

When you reopened the file, did you see the option to open the AutoRecover file?

Customer Replay

so then i had to click the autorecover message box
yeah i clicked manage document > recover unsaved documents

Yes, it would have loaded the latest changes that were saved.

Customer Replay

i see
so basically my issue was i didn't click keep last autorecovered version if i close without saving
if i had that it would be more likely that the file would have saved the latest before it crashed

I think that the issue was that after you opened the file again, you did not choose to open the AutoRecover file.
You loaded the manually saved file instead.

Customer Replay

oh so what difference if i did not tick the box for "keep last autorecovered version if i save without closing"

I believe it means that the AutoRecover version will be loaded by default after you reopen the file.

Customer Replay

as in it would save as the latest auto recover version? or it would still show up as a message box

It should load the latest version without the message box.
Can you, please, access this folder: C:UsersuserAppDataRoamingMicrosoftWord and let me know if you have some files there. Maybe there are your recovery files.

Customer Replay

it's not showing up as a file location
for me

Okay, try this: C:UsersuserAppDataRoamingMicrosoft

Customer Replay

that one didn't work either

C:UsersuserAppDataRoamingMicrosoft but instead of user, try using the name of your local account on your PC.

Customer Replay

hmm that didn't work either but helpful
i was able to recover the file with the autorecover
but i wanted to understand why this happened

Do you mean, why it did not recover it the first time?

Customer Replay


That's because when you saw the pop-up message, you did not choose to recover it from the AutoRecover. Instead it loaded your latest manual save, not the auto-save.

Customer Replay

ok thank you!

Do you have any additional questions I can help you with?

Customer Replay

that's all

Thank you for chatting with us today!
We are available 24/7, you can refer your questions anytime. Have a nice one!

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