How To Retrieve Deleted Word Document

Have you ever accidentally deleted a crucial Word document and felt a sinking feeling in your stomach? The panic is real, but fear not – this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of how to retrieve a deleted Word document. From understanding the problem to exploring effective solutions and recommended software, we’ve got you covered.

Unraveling the Problem

The Lost Document Dilemma: A Common Conundrum

Accidentally deleting a Word document can be a heart-wrenching experience, especially if it contains vital information or hours of hard work. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this problem and identify the potential causes.

Understanding the Causes of Document Deletion:

  1. Human Error: The most common culprit is human error. Accidental deletion occurs when users mistakenly hit the delete button or use keyboard shortcuts without intending to.
  2. Unsaved Changes: If you closed a Word document without saving changes, you might assume it’s lost. However, Word often creates temporary backup copies that can be recovered.
  3. AutoRecover Failures: AutoRecover is a helpful feature, but if it fails to save changes due to program crashes or other issues, your document may seem lost.

10 Solutions to Recover Your Document

Now that we’ve identified the problem, let’s explore ten effective solutions to retrieve your deleted Word document without getting lost in complex technical details.

1. Check the Recycle Bin (Yes, Again)

Believe it or not, the Recycle Bin might be holding the key to recovering your lost Word document. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Open the Recycle Bin on your desktop.
  • Search for your deleted Word document.
  • Right-click on the document and select ‘Restore.’

2. Search for AutoRecover Files

Word often creates AutoRecover files that serve as backup copies. Follow these steps to retrieve them:

  • Open Word and click on ‘File.’
  • Select ‘Info’ and click on ‘Manage Document.’
  • Choose ‘Recover Unsaved Documents,’ and look for your document in the list.

3. Utilize File History (Windows Backup)

Windows File History is a built-in feature that can help recover previous versions of your Word document:

  • Navigate to the folder containing your Word document.
  • Right-click on the folder and select ‘Restore previous versions.’
  • Choose the version you want and click ‘Restore.’

4. Use Previous Versions Feature

Windows Previous Versions feature allows you to revert to an earlier version of your document:

  • Right-click on the folder containing your Word document.
  • Select ‘Restore previous versions.’
  • Choose the version you want and click ‘Restore.’

5. Microsoft Word’s Document Recovery

If Word crashed or closed unexpectedly, it may have AutoRecovery copies. Here’s how to check:

  • Open Word and look for the ‘Document Recovery’ pane on the left.
  • Select your document and click ‘Open.’

6. Check OneDrive’s Version History

If your document is stored on OneDrive, you can leverage Version History to recover previous versions:

  • Open OneDrive in a web browser.
  • Right-click on the document and select ‘Version history.’
  • Choose the version you want and click ‘Restore.’

7. Recover from Temporary Files

Temporary files are created by Word as you work. You might find your lost document here:

  • Press ‘Windows key + R’ to open the Run dialog.
  • Enter ‘%temp%’ and hit Enter.
  • Look for files starting with ‘WRL’ or ‘WRD’ and check if your document is among them.

8. Use Data Recovery Software: Disk Drill

Disk Drill is a reliable data recovery tool that supports document recovery. Here’s why it’s a solid choice:


  • User-friendly interface.
  • Quick and deep scan options.
  • Preview feature for recovered files.


  • Some advanced features are only available in the paid version.
  • Scanning may take longer for larger storage devices.

9. Recuva: Your Document Recovery Companion

Recuva is a popular choice for file recovery, offering simplicity and effectiveness:


  • User-friendly interface.
  • Quick and deep scan options.
  • Ability to recover files from various storage devices.


  • Limited advanced features compared to premium alternatives.
  • May not support all file types effectively.

10. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard: Comprehensive Recovery Tool

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a versatile tool that covers various recovery needs:


  • Simple and intuitive interface.
  • Quick and deep scan options.
  • Preview feature for recovered files.


  • Some advanced features are only available in the paid version.
  • Scanning may take longer for larger storage devices.

FAQ: Answering Your Burning Questions

Q: Can I recover a Word document after emptying the Recycle Bin?
A: Yes, using data recovery software like Disk Drill or Recuva can often retrieve documents even after the Recycle Bin is emptied.

Q: How long do AutoRecover files stay available?
A: AutoRecover files are temporary and may be available for four days by default. You should attempt recovery as soon as possible.

Q: Are data recovery tools safe to use?
A: Generally, yes. However, always download from reputable sources to minimize risks. Avoid saving recovered files on the same drive.

Q: Can I recover an unsaved Word document?
A: Yes, you can attempt to recover unsaved documents through Word’s ‘Manage Document’ feature or by checking AutoRecover files.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of versions I can recover using Version History on OneDrive?
A: OneDrive retains multiple versions of your document, but there may be practical storage limitations. Check and manage your Version History.

Q: Can I recover a Word document if Microsoft Word crashed?
A: Yes, Microsoft Word often creates AutoRecovery copies after a crash. Check the ‘Document Recovery’ pane when you reopen Word.

Exploring Technical Terms

1. AutoRecovery: A feature in Microsoft Word that automatically saves temporary backup copies of documents at specified intervals.

2. Version History: A record of changes made to a document over time, allowing users to revert to previous versions.

3. Temporary Files: Files created by software during operation to store temporary data. In the case of Word, these files might contain unsaved changes.

Tips for Successful Document Retrieval

  1. Act Promptly: Time is of the essence. Attempt recovery as soon as possible to increase the chances of success.
  2. Explore Built-in Features: Utilize Windows features like Recycle Bin, File History, and Previous Versions before resorting to third-party tools.
  3. Backup Regularly: Establish a backup routine to prevent significant data loss in case of accidental deletions.


In the realm of document retrieval, knowledge is your greatest asset. Understanding the causes of deletion and employing the right strategies and tools can turn a seemingly dire situation into a successful recovery mission. Whether you explore built-in Windows features or leverage reliable recovery software, the key is to act swiftly and with precision. Your deleted Word document might be just a few steps away from being safely restored.