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How to Recover Deleted Word Documents for Free?

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    Summary: Did you accidentally delete your Word document? How to recover an unsaved word file? No matter how you lost your File, this guide will help you recover deleted Word documents.

    Everyone from college-goer to content writers to business executives knows the panic of their Word document disappearing when it’s just seconds away from being completed.

    Fortunately, there are various ways to recover Word documents lost due to accidental deletion, system crashes, or malware attacks. Here’s the simple DIY guide which explains how to recover permanently deleted Word documents in Windows 10/11.

    Is it Possible to Recover Deleted Word Files?

    Losing saved or unsaved Word documents can be terrible when you rely on MS Word for personal or professional tasks. But the recovery of deleted Word files is possible, and that too, for free.

    Moreover, following extra precautions may ensure safe and efficient recovery of Word files. First, initiate the recovery process right away when you lose a file by first checking the Recycle Bin.

    However, if you use the Shift + Delete key to remove the data, you have to switch to professional data recovery software for retrieving deleted Word files.

    How to recover permanently deleted word documents?

    Let’s dive into a few effective DIY methods to recover deleted Word document files in Windows 10/11.

    1. Search for Auto Recover Files

    Use the AutoRecover feature of Microsoft Word to recover word documents lost due to system crashes or human error. When AutoRecover is enabled, Word keeps saving your files at regular intervals while you’re working on it. This feature eliminates the need to save the document physically, and a temporary folder is created to recover the word document during any data loss situation.

    Now follow these steps to search for auto-recovered files:

    • Type .asd in the Windows search bar.
    type .asd in Windows Search
    • Select the desired file based on the ‘Date-modified’ and open the file in MS Word.
    open .asd file using MS Word
    • Then save the file at your desired location by clicking on the Save button.
    Note:  Enable ‘Autorecover’ feature in word document:  Click on File > Options > Save. Then select the minutes for the ‘Save Autocorrect information’ option and click OK to save the changes.

    2. Restart Microsoft Word

    While working on Word, if your system witnesses an unexpected crash, but the Autorecover feature is turned on, you can easily recover deleted Word documents. Follow these quick steps:

    • Try opening Word Document once your system restarts.
    • The Document Recovery panel will be visible on the left side.
    document recovery panel
    • Here you will see the Autosaved versions of your File with the timestamp.
    • Open the version you want to recover and Save it.
    document recovery pop
    • Then a pop-up will appear; choose the correct option depending upon your requirement.

    3. Search and Restore the Word Auto-Backup File

    The ‘Backup copy’ feature in Microsoft Word creates the backup copy of your File. It can recover permanently deleted Word documents during unexpected system errors, if enabled. Now, follow these steps to search for the auto backup file that has .wbk extensions:

    • Type .wbk in the Windows Search bar at the bottom of your Windows.
    open .wbk files
    • Choose the auto-backup file from the scanned list.
    • Assign a name to the file and choose the desired location for saving this file.
    • Click Save to save the file.

    4. Recover from Temporary Files

    The feature of creating temporary files while your system is in running condition works best in Windows for recovery purpose. For example, if you are opening a Word document, Windows creates a hidden temporary file at the location like – “%systemdrive%\Windows\Temp,” “%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp.” Then, recover deleted Word Documents from these temporary file locations.

    • Click on the Search icon and select Document.
    search .tmp files
    • Type .tmp in the search field and click Open.
    search result for temp files
    • Scroll through the scanned result and check for the files that match your requirement.

    5. Restore Deleted Word Documents from OneDrive

    If you have the OneDrive or Microsoft 365 subscription, enable the sync-up feature to save your files in the OneDrive account instead of saving them locally on your PC. Moreover, OneDrive has its own Recycle Bin to recover the permanently deleted Word Documents.

    • Go to OneDrive and sign in to your account.
    • Navigate to Recycle Bin and open it.
    • Select the Word documents you wish to recover and click Restore.

    5. Recover Word Documents from Recycle Bin

    Recycle Bin temporarily stores your deleted or lost files so that you can restore them easily within 30 days. Because after 30 days, these files are permanently removed from the system.

    • Open the Recycle Bin folder.
    open recycle bin
    • Browse through the files to check for the files you need.
    • Select the desired Word file and right-click on it to choose the ‘Restore’ option.
    restore deleted files from Recycle Bin
    • The recovered Word file is saved at its original location.

    7. Use Data Recovery Software for Windows

    Use Stellar Data Recovery for Windows to recover deleted, shift-deleted, corrupted Word Documents, photos, and videos from all types of internal and external storage drives. It ensures 100% data retrieval in all data loss scenarios like corruption, accidental deletion, and virus attack.

    image 12

    Follow these steps to recover permanently deleted Word documents using this efficient data recovery software:

    • Launch the Stellar Data Recovery for Windows after installing it.
    • In ‘Select What to Recover’ screen, select Office Documents and click Next.
    select Office document in What to Recover screen
    • Now select the location from where you want to recover and click Scan.
    select location in WDR standard
    • Preview the recovered files from the scanned list and click Recover.
    preview the recovered files and then save it
    • Now, browse the location where you want to save the recovered files.

    How to Prevent Your Word Files from Being Lost or Deleted?

    Losing the Word file in which you’ve spent so much time working can be annoying. Although there are various ways to recover deleted Word documents in Windows 10/11, taking precautions to prevent data loss scenarios will save your time and effort.

    • Enable the Autorecover feature in Word to help you recover documents lost due to user errors or system crashes.
    • Keep multiple backups of your Word documents across different devices.
    • Never store your Word documents on the same drive as your operating system, as system failure and malware attacks affect this drive and can lead to data loss. Instead, save your word files on a separate drive.
    • Use advanced options like versioning and tracked changes in MS Word to avoid user errors. These features allow you to record the changes and return to any particular version without losing data.


    Whether your Microsoft Word document was deleted or corrupted, it can be recovered regardless of how they were lost. These data loss scenarios are unpredictable and can happen to anyone anytime. Therefore, enabling the Autorecover option in Word is recommended, and even taking backup of your files regularly is recommended. Because when your system is armed with regular backups, Word file recovery is easily possible. Moreover, you can always use Stellar Data Recovery for Windows software for flawless recovery of Word files, videos, PDFs, music, and other data.

    FAQ About Deleted or Unsaved Word Document Recovery

    1. How to change the frequency with which Microsoft Word autosaves your documents?

    Go to File > Options > Save and then change the number of minutes after which your Windows will directly autosave your documents.

    2. How do I recover deleted Word files on Windows 11?

    You can use various methods to recover deleted Word documents in Windows 11.
    – Use AutoRecover Feature.
    – Recover from Windows Recycle Bin.
    – Recover Word documents using OneDrive.
    – Use Stellar Data Recovery Software for Word document recovery.

    3. Where can I find the unsaved Word document?

    You can often find the unsaved Word documents in the Temp folder stored in C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Word.

    4. Does Microsoft Word backup your Word files?

    MS Word does not automatically save the backup copies of your documents unless and until you have enabled the AutoRecover feature.

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    About The Author

    Jyoti Prakash linkdin

    Problem solver and Data recovery specialist. Usually share informative articles on data recovery, database corruption and ways to recover lost data.


    1. I deleted few words doucment by mistake but your software helps me to recover the lost files. Thanks a lot.

    2. Hi, I deleted my word documents by mistake, and unfortunately, I didn’t do any backup. I tried all the methods you mentioned in the blog, but nothing happened. Will Stellar Data recovery help me to get my all-word document back? Please help me

    3. I just did a whole essay in a word doc but in the end, I pressed in the save box “No” in a hurry. please help me

        1. I write 4,000 words for a final essay. I saved it on my desktop and then accidentally saved over it with an older version from my usb. Can your program help? Thank you.

        2. Hi Jennifer,
          You can try the manual method to recover your file. To do so, go to the folder where your file is located > right-click anywhere inside the folder > Go to Properties > Select Previous Version Tab > and look for earlier version of documents using File History Features.
          If it works then good otherwise Overwritten data can never be recovered, but if you deleted your file before over it with an older version, then you can recover it with the help of “Stellar Data Recovery”.

    4. So I deleted a word file saved only on a shared network. I’ve tried every method Microsoft gives: temporary files, backup files, ~ files, etc. I can’t find it. I’ve even tried it with stellar’s recovery method. Help me please!

      1. Hello Philippe,
        We would recommend to install the Software on the main system or sever from where the file is lost. If the file shows up after the scanning then recovery is possible else not. Thanks

    5. Hi,
      Why for a single word file searching, that too only from desktop is taking more than 1 hour?

      1. Hello Bhaski,
        We would like to inform you that the scanning time depends on a lot of factors like capacity of the drive, severity of corruption, type of files in the drive etc. Therefore we can’t give you an estimate of the scanning time.
        As long as the software is not getting stuck during scan, we suggest you to kindly continue with the scan and let us know the outcome. However, the client can do a selective recovery.
        You can select only document type instead of selecting everything while selecting the data to recover. You can disable the preview of the files as well to enhance the performance.

    6. Couple of weeks back I accidentally deleted almost 10 of mine very important MS office word documents, unfortunately with no backups taken Stellar Data Recovery fully helps in recovering all those deleted files.

      1. We feel glad that Stellar Windows Data Recovery software proves beneficial to you and solves the purpose.

        1. I accidentally draged a 10 GB folder to recycle bin and suddenly cancelled the process now I can not find the data in recycle bin and now the folder size is 2.5 GB . All files were word help

        2. Connect an external USB drive to your PC and install Stellar Data Recovery software. While installing the software, browse and choose external drive volume as the install location. After the installation, run the software, select the data and then drive or folder location from where you deleted your Word documents. Click ‘Scan’. After the scan, choose the word files and save them on the external drive volume.

    7. When I open word documents after recovering them there’s nothing there symbols and prompts for file conversion. Is there a way to fix this? The file name and size are correct.

      1. Dear Adam,

        We would recommend you to use our file repair software i.e. Stellar Repair for Word in order to repair corrupted Word files.

        Please install the software from the below link.

        Download Link

        As our software works on the principle of “what you see is what you can repair”. Hence if you are satisfied with preview results then can purchase the full version of the software.

    8. hey
      I just saved my final work to be presented today on my pendrive and got it deleted some few minutes ago.
      please help me.

      1. Hello Osei,

        Please download a free demo version of Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Windows and try to see the deleted files/work on the preview section of the interface after scanning the pendrive. To save the desired documents you need to register the official license key.

      1. Hello,

        If you have corrupted word files, please check the below solution.

        We believe you might need a word repair application as per your issue. We have Stellar Repair for Word software which repairs corrupted MS Office Word files. You may try the demo version from the below link on Windows system:

        Download Link

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