Easy Steps to Recover Unsaved Excel Files on Windows

Losing an unsaved Excel file can be a daunting experience, especially if you’ve something important in it. Such instances usually occur due to accidental deletion, software crashes, malware, system errors, or sudden power failures. Luckily, Excel and Windows OS provide several features and methods to recover unsaved files. In this guide, we will explore various methods, including free data recovery software and manual recovery workarounds, to help you out. Just go with the below-mentioned easy steps to recover unsaved Excel files on Windows.

Common Reasons for Deletion of Unsaved Excel Files

Before diving into recovery methods to restore unsaved Excel files on Windows, it’s important to understand the exact reason for such data loss. Here are some common causes for the same:

  • Accidental Closure: You may have accidentally closed Excel without saving your work, which can cause sudden loss of any unsaved data, including Excel files.
  • Application Crashes: Excel or the entire system may crash unexpectedly because of software bugs, incompatibility issues, or insufficient resources, leading to the loss of unsaved files.
  • Power Failures: Sometimes, sudden power outages can cause an interruption in the saving process, resulting in data loss if the Excel file was not saved before the outage.
  • System Updates: Automatic or manual system updates that require a reboot can close open applications, including Excel, potentially causing unsaved data to be lost.
  • Virus or Malware Attacks: Malicious software can corrupt or delete files, including unsaved Excel files, leading to potential data loss.

How do I Restore Unsaved Excel Files on Windows?

Irrespective of the causes of the deletion of unsaved Excel files on a Windows PC, you can try the free data recovery methods mentioned in this part of the blog for easy and quick recovery.

Method 01: Recover Unsaved Excel File from Temp Folder

Microsoft Office provides a hidden Temp folder which automatically saves all your work, rather than you having to save the file yourself. Before you proceed with any other method to recover unsaved Excel files on Windows, it is good to check the Temp folder. For this:

  • Firstly, go to the following path C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles to find the location of Excel temporary files.

  • Now, open the folder that contains the temp file you need to restore.
  • Click on the File option from the top-right corner and select Save As. Mention the location where you need to save the file.
  • Finally, go to the selected location to find and access your saved Excel workbook.

Method 02: Use the ‘Recover Unsaved Workbooks’ Option

Excel has a built-in AutoRecover feature which allows you to save your work automatically at regular intervals. This option can also restore your files if Excel crashes or closes unexpectedly. Here are the easy steps to recover unsaved Excel files on Windows using the AutoRecover option:

  • Open an Excel workbook, go to File > Open > Recover Unsaved Workbooks.

  • Now, from the Document Recovery pane that contains a list of unsaved files, locate and double-click on the file that you need to open.
  • Finally, right-click on the version of the file you need to restore and select the Save As
  • Add an appropriate name for your file and save it to the desired location.

Method 03: Recover Unsaved Excel File Using Previous Version

If you are good enough to create a backup of your Excel files, then you can use these backups to restore files when data loss occurs. Windows built-in “Previous Versions” feature allows you to restore older versions of files and folders. Follow the below steps to recover your unsaved Excel file on Windows using the Previous Versions utility:

  • Firstly, open the Excel file and go to File > Info > Manage Versions.
  • Now, from the list of previously saved versions, choose the one you want to restore and click the “Save/Save As” option to save the file with a different name.

Method 04: Use Data Recovery Software

Last but not least, you can use a free data recovery software to restore your unsaved Excel files without any cost. Tools like Stellar Data Recovery Free allow you to recover your lost files of any type, including photos, videos, documents, and any other file type in a few simple clicks. The software supports recovery of files deleted due to any reason, including accidental deletion, formatting, sudden power outages, and many more.

Follow the below-given easy steps to recover unsaved Excel files on Windows using the Stellar Data Recovery Free tool:

Step 1: After installing the Stellar Data Recovery Free tool on your Windows device, launch it and select the type of data you need to recover. Click the Next button to continue.

Step 2: Now, choose the folder located where your deleted Excel file was saved before deletion and click Scan to initiate the scanning process.

Step 3: Once the scan is completed, preview the recovered files and click the Recover button to save them at the desired location.

That’s it! After completing the above-mentioned steps, make sure that you can access those Excel files from the location where you’ve saved them.

Wrapping Up

Losing an unsaved Excel file can be stressful, but with the right Windows data recovery software and manual methods, you can often recover your work. By utilizing Excel’s built-in features like AutoRecover, checking the temporary files, using Windows’ Previous Versions, and leveraging third-party free data recovery software like Stellar Data Recovery Free, you can easily restore your lost data. Additionally, maintaining regular backups is a proactive way to ensure that you can quickly recover your files in the event of data loss. With these easy steps, you can minimize the impact of unsaved file incidents and continue your work with minimal disruption.


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