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Heres How to Find a Lost Word Document

Computers: They occasionally crash (it’s upsetting, we know). But before you start from scratch on that 30-page office manifesto memo you’ve been drafting for eight hours, follow these three steps.

1. Check the trash or your recycle bin. If you see a folder called “Recovered Files,” check to see if there are any “Word Work” files inside. Sure, they look like a bunch of coding, but if you drag them out and drop them on the Microsoft Word program on your desktop, they’ll magically open up (choose to view them as Text Only). You may not recover the entire doc, but you’ll get remnants back, which is better than nothing at all.

2. Do a total system search. The good old “Find” feature works well in a pinch. Just be sure to add the words “AutoRecovery save of” to the name of your doc when you search for it. If Word saved a backup, this is one of the best ways to find it.

3. No luck? Take preventative measures for next time. When you create a new document, save it at the start, but always check to be sure that AutoRecover is turned on. (On a Mac, go to Save, then click Options. Select Save AutoRecover Info Every 10 Minutes, then specify the time interval that makes you feel the most comfortable--anywhere from every 5 to 120 minutes). We repeat: For this to work, you still have to save the document at the start. But after that, your work should be safe--whether there’s a power outage or a system crash.

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