Recovering Changes From Microsoft Word
Published: October 6, 2010
Q. Microsoft Word sometimes crashes and I lose changes I just made to my file. What can I do?

A. To help prevent crashes, start by making sure you have installed all the available updates of Windows and Word on your computer.

Manually saving the file (the popular Control-S shortcut on Windows, or Command-S on the Mac version) is one way to retain more of your work. Although it does not replace manually saving the file at frequent intervals, recent versions of Microsoft Word include an AutoRecover function that can sometimes salvage a more recent version of a file after a crash.

To use the AutoRecover in Word 2010, go to the File menu and choose Options. On the left toolbar, click on Save. Make sure the checkbox is turned on next to “Save AutoRecover info every:” and then type the number of minutes between automatic saves of the file. The default is usually 10 minutes, but you can choose more frequent autosaves.

In Word 2007, you can get to the equivalent Save settings by clicking the Office Menu button, clicking on Word Options and clicking on Save in the left toolbar. In Word 2003, go to the Tools menu and choose Options. On most Mac OS X versions of Word, go to the Word menu, choose Preferences and click on the Save icon. The Word Options/Settings box also lets you turn on a checkbox to save a backup copy of your file on the computer; it’s in the Advanced options in Windows or the Save settings on a Mac.

After a system crash, Word’s AutoRecover function should kick in and show you the version of the file it saved on its own, which is hopefully newer than the last version you manually saved. Microsoft has more information on the AutoRecover function and where the files are kept on your computer at