6 Methods to Restore Previous Versions of Word Documents

Restoring a previous version of a Word document can be a lifesaver when an unexpected change or error occurs, causing valuable content to vanish or become corrupted. As frustrating as it might be, you’re not alone in facing this dilemma. This article explores the intricate methods to regain lost content and provides insights into the causes behind such document mishaps.

Methods to Restore Previous Versions of Word Documents

Method 1: Utilize Windows File History

One efficient way to restore previous versions of Word documents is by leveraging Windows File History. This feature creates regular backups of files in the Documents, Pictures, and Desktop folders. To access it, navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Backup > More options. Click “Restore files from a current backup” to find and select the Word document you wish to recover. Then, choose “Restore” to bring back the previous version.

Method 2: Explore AutoRecover in Word

Microsoft Word’s AutoRecover feature automatically saves document versions at specified intervals. To utilize this, open Word and navigate to File > Options > Save. Ensure the “Save AutoRecover information” option is checked and set your preferred time interval for autosaving. If a crash or unexpected closure occurs, Word will recover the last saved version upon reopening.

Method 3: Check OneDrive or SharePoint Version History

If you’ve been using OneDrive or SharePoint to store your Word documents, these platforms often maintain version histories. Access OneDrive or SharePoint online, locate your document, right-click, and select “Version history.” From there, you can view and restore previous versions within the available history.

Method 4: Retrieve from Backup Copies

If you have manually created backups or use backup software, search for the Word document within your backup storage. Restore the earlier version of the document from the backup location to recover the lost content.

Method 5: Employ System Restore (Windows)

System Restore in Windows allows you to revert your computer’s state to a previous point in time. To utilize this method, type “System Restore” in the Windows search bar, open the tool, and follow the prompts to choose a restore point before the document was altered or lost.

Method 6: Seek Professional Recovery Services

In more complex scenarios where standard methods fail, professional data recovery services can be beneficial. These services specialize in recovering lost or corrupted files from various devices and storage mediums. Consult reputable data recovery professionals for expert assistance in retrieving your Word document’s previous versions.

Software Recommendations for Document Recovery:

1. WinfrGUI:

When it comes to reliable and efficient document recovery, WinfrGUI emerges as a top-notch solution. This free software is tailored for restoring previous versions of Word documents seamlessly.

  • Download and Install WinfrGUI:
    Begin by downloading and installing WinfrGUI on your system.
  • Launch and Choose the Drive:
    Open the application and select the drive where your Word document was saved.
  • Utilize Advanced Search Functions:
    Navigate through WinfrGUI’s user-friendly interface and employ its advanced search functions to pinpoint the desired previous version.
  • Initiate Recovery Process:
    With the previous version identified, initiate the recovery process within WinfrGUI.

This user-friendly tool emphasizes simplicity without compromising on effectiveness, making it an excellent choice for users looking to restore previous version of Word document and other useful functions like recover previous version of excel file.

2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard:

Another powerful contender in the realm of document recovery is the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. This versatile software goes beyond standard recovery by providing a comprehensive solution for retrieving lost or deleted Word documents.

  • Install and Open EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard:
    Begin by installing the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and launching the program.
  • Select Drive or Location:
    Choose the specific drive or location where your document was originally stored.
  • Employ Deep Scan Feature:
    Utilize the deep scan feature to conduct a thorough search for your Word documents.
  • Preview and Choose Documents for Recovery:
    After the scan is complete, preview and select the desired Word documents for recovery.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is an excellent option for those seeking a holistic approach to restore previous version of Word document.

3. Recuva:

For a user-friendly yet powerful document recovery tool, look no further than Recuva. This software excels in simplicity without compromising on effectiveness.

  • Download and Install Recuva:
    Start by downloading and installing Recuva on your system.
  • Launch and Select Drive or Location:
    Open the program and choose the drive or location where your Word document was initially stored.
  • Initiate Quick or Deep Scan:
    Click on the “Scan” button to initiate a quick scan for recently deleted files. For a more in-depth search, opt for the deep scan option.
  • Preview and Select Documents for Recovery:
    Once the scan is complete, preview and select the desired Word documents for recovery.

Recuva offers a straightforward and efficient solution for users aiming to restore previous version of Word document.

Understanding the Problem: Why Do Word Documents Lose Previous Versions?

Document Corruption and Version Mishaps

Word documents losing previous versions can be a perplexing issue, often arising from a mix of document corruption and versioning mishaps. Understanding the root causes behind this problem is crucial to implementing effective solutions. Here, we delve into the reasons why Word documents may lose their previous versions and explore the common culprits behind version mishaps.

Causes Behind Lost Versions:

Software Glitches:
In the digital realm, software glitches are a common nemesis. Word documents may lose previous versions when the application encounters unexpected errors or undergoes a sudden crash. These glitches disrupt the normal functioning of the software, leading to potential data loss, including the previous versions of your crucial documents.

File Corruption:
Another major contributor to the loss of previous document versions is file corruption. Various factors, such as malware attacks, sudden power outages, or improper saving processes, can compromise the integrity of the document file. When corruption occurs, it can render previous versions inaccessible, posing a significant challenge for users who rely on version history for document recovery.

Disabled Version History:
Sometimes, the loss of previous versions stems from a more straightforward issue – the failure to enable or set up the version history feature in Word. This critical feature, when left disabled, prevents the automatic saving and tracking of document changes over time. Users may overlook this setting, leading to a lack of version history and the inability to recover past iterations.

Understanding these causes sheds light on the intricacies of version loss in Word documents. Whether it’s a glitch in the software, file corruption, or a simple oversight in enabling version history, each factor plays a role in the larger problem of losing access to previous document versions. In the following sections, we will explore proactive measures and solutions to mitigate these issues, ensuring a more robust approach to managing Word document versions.

FAQs of Restore Previous Version of Word Document

Q1: How can I restore a previous version of a Word document using built-in features?

A: Restoring a previous version of a Word document using built-in features is a straightforward process. First, open the Word document you want to recover. Navigate to the “File” menu and select “Info.” Look for the “Manage Document” option, and click on “Version History.” Here, you’ll find a list of previous versions. Choose the desired version, and click “Restore.” Word will prompt you to save the current version, ensuring that your document is reverted to the selected past iteration. This method leverages Word’s native versioning capabilities to retrieve earlier versions effortlessly.

Q2: What should I do if the built-in version history doesn’t have the desired past version?

A: If the built-in version history in Word doesn’t have the version you’re looking for, consider exploring external options. Utilizing third-party tools like WinfrGUI can provide an additional layer of recovery. Download and install WinfrGUI, a free and powerful tool. Launch the program and select the drive containing your Word document. Use WinfrGUI’s advanced search functions to locate and recover the desired previous version. This external solution can be particularly useful when the native version history falls short, offering a more comprehensive approach to document version recovery.

Q3: Can I recover a previous version of a Word document after a system crash?

A: Yes, you can recover a previous version of a Word document after a system crash. When your system restarts after a crash, open Word and look for the recovered files. Word often auto-saves documents during unexpected closures. If your desired version is not found, refer to the “File” menu, select “Info,” and check the “Manage Document” option. Navigate to “Version History” to retrieve a past version. In case the built-in recovery options prove insufficient, consider using backup solutions or specialized recovery tools to retrieve the document after a system crash.

Q4: Is there a way to set up automatic backups for Word documents to prevent version loss?

A: Yes, you can set up automatic backups to prevent version loss in Word documents. One effective method is utilizing the AutoSave feature in Word. Open your document, click on the “File” menu, select “Options,” and go to the “Save” tab. Enable the “AutoSave OneDrive and SharePoint Online files by default” option. This ensures that changes are automatically saved and backed up to the cloud. Additionally, consider leveraging cloud storage services like OneDrive or Google Drive, which offer seamless synchronization and versioning features, providing an extra layer of protection against version loss.

Q5: What steps can I take if my Word document shows errors and prevents me from accessing previous versions?

A: If your Word document displays errors and hinders access to previous versions, start by checking the document’s integrity. Use the “Open and Repair” feature in Word by opening the application, selecting “File,” choosing “Open,” and clicking on the document. Instead of directly opening it, select “Open and Repair” from the dropdown menu. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, consider using the native version history recovery options discussed earlier. For more advanced solutions, employing third-party tools like WinfrGUI can be beneficial. Download and install WinfrGUI, select the document’s drive, and use its functions to recover past versions, especially when errors impede the native recovery process.

Technical Terms of Restore Previous Version of Word Document

Version History: Version history refers to the chronological records of changes made to a document over time. This feature allows users to access and revert to previous iterations of the document. In applications like Microsoft Word, version history is invaluable for tracking edits, collaborating with others, and recovering information from earlier stages of document development.

AutoRecover: AutoRecover is a vital feature embedded in Microsoft Word. This functionality automatically saves documents at regular intervals, providing a safety net against unexpected interruptions like system crashes or application failures. By enabling AutoRecover, users ensure that their work is consistently saved, minimizing the risk of data loss and offering peace of mind during the document creation process.

File Corruption: File corruption occurs when a document sustains damage or errors that impede its proper access and utilization. This technical term denotes instances where a file becomes compromised, rendering it unreadable or unusable. Understanding file corruption is essential for implementing preventive measures and exploring recovery options to maintain the integrity of digital documents.

Tips for Word Document Recovery

Accidents happen, but losing valuable Word documents doesn’t have to be a catastrophe. With these strategic tips, you can fortify your document recovery arsenal and ensure that your crucial files are safeguarded against unexpected mishaps.

Enable AutoSave and AutoRecover in Word for Automatic Backups:

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to guard against document loss is by harnessing the power of AutoSave and AutoRecover in Microsoft Word. By enabling these features, your document is automatically saved at regular intervals, acting as a safety net in case of unexpected disruptions. To activate this functionality, navigate to the “File” menu, select “Options,” and then “Save.” Ensure that both AutoSave and AutoRecover are turned on. This way, you can recover your work even if the unforeseen occurs, providing a continuous safety blanket for your document edits.

Regularly Back Up Important Documents Using External Drives or Cloud Services:

Creating regular backups is a proactive strategy that can save you from considerable headaches down the road. External drives and cloud services offer a reliable means of securing your documents. Invest time in setting up automatic backups to external drives or leverage cloud platforms like Google Drive or OneDrive for seamless synchronization. This habit not only protects against data loss but also ensures accessibility from various devices, providing an added layer of convenience.

Invest in Reliable Antivirus Software to Prevent File Corruption:

File corruption can be a silent nemesis, quietly wreaking havoc on your documents. Investing in robust antivirus software is a preemptive strike against potential corruption. Viruses and malware are notorious for compromising file integrity. A dependable antivirus program acts as a shield, detecting and neutralizing threats before they can damage your precious documents. Regularly update your antivirus software to stay ahead of evolving threats, creating a formidable barrier between your files and potential corruption.

By incorporating these tips into your document management routine, you not only enhance your ability to recover files but also establish a resilient defense against the unforeseen challenges that can jeopardize your important Word documents. Remember, prevention is the first line of defense, and these proactive measures can be the key to a stress-free document recovery experience.


With the right methods and software, restore previous version of word document becomes feasible. Understanding the causes and employing suitable recovery techniques or software can significantly mitigate the impact of such incidents. Always prioritize creating backups and utilizing the available tools to safeguard your valuable content.