How Word creates and recovers the AutoRecover files


This article describes how Microsoft Word creates and recovers AutoRecover (.asd) files (AutoSave in Word 7.x) when you select the "Save AutoRecover Info every <n> Minutes" check box. (To locate this option, click Options on the Tools menu and then click the Save tab.)

More Information

Note AutoRecover or AutoSave does not replace the Save command. You should use the Save command to save your document at regular intervals and when you finish working on it.

AutoRecover is only effective for unplanned disruptions, such as a power outage or a crash. AutoRecover files are not designed to be saved when a logoff is scheduled or an orderly shutdown occurs.

Setting the location for .asd files

If you do not set a location for AutoRecover files, Word places them in the temporary directory.

To set the .asd location, follow these steps:
  1. On the Tools menu, click
    Options, and then click the File Locationstab.

    Note In Word 2007, follow these steps to open the File Locations dialog box:
    1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Word Options.
    2. In the left pane, click
    3. In the right pane, click File Locations under General section.
  2. In the File Types box, click
    AutoRecover Files

    Note In Word 7.x, click AutoSave.
  3. Click Modify.
  4. Enter the name of the folder in which you want Word to store recovered documents.
  5. If a new folder location is needed, click Create New Folder, type the new folder name, click OK, and click OK to exit.

Naming conventions

Word 97 and later versions of Word: The naming convention for Word AutoRecover files is "AutoRecovery save of <document name>.asd," where <document name> is the file name of the document.

Word 7.x: The naming convention for Word AutoSave files is ~Wra####.asd, where #### is a number generated randomly by Windows.

Opening saved files

When you start Word, it searches for any .asd files. If Word finds any, it does the following:
  1. Renames each .asd file to <document name>.wbk. In Word 7.0 SR-2 or later, the extension is .wbk.

    NOTE: The #### numbers may not be the same as the .asd filename because Word avoids any naming conflicts with existing .bak files.
  2. Opens all AutoRecover files.
  3. Deletes the AutoRecover file (the "AutoRecovery save of <document name>.wbk" or the ~Wra####.bak file) when you do either of the following:

    Save the recovered file.
    Close the recovered file without saving it.

When files are renamed

Word renames the AutoRecover files in the case that the program hangs (stops responding) when the AutoRecover file is opened. The next time Word is started you see the following symptoms.

Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Office Word 2003, and Microsoft Word 2002

Word will start with the Document Recovery Task Pane listing the available files that Word recovered. Following the name of the file will be a status indicator that shows what was performed to the file during recovery. The status of Original indicates the Original file based on last manual save. The status of Recovered is the file recovered during recovery process or file saved during a AutoRecover save process. The Document Recovery task pane lets you open the files, view what repairs were made, and compare the recovered versions. You can then save the version you want to use and delete the other versions, or save all the open files to review later.

Word 2000

Word will start. If Word was able to detect a recovered file, Word will start with the document open. In the title bar, the document is listed as <original filename> (Recovered). You then have the option to save the file back to the original name or to save as a different name.

Word 97

Word encountered file corruption while opening <filename>. Part of this document may be recoverable. Attempt recovery now?
If you click Yes, Word attempts to recover all or part of the file. If you click No, the .wbk file remains in the AutoRecovery directory.

Word 7.x

Word renames the AutoSave files in the case that program hangs (stops responding) when you open the AutoSave file. If a problem occurs that damages the AutoSave file, you can still recover your work using the ~Wra####.bak file, located in the AutoSave directory.

After Word renames your .asd files, it does not automatically open the .bak files, so you must open them manually by clicking Open on the File menu. To list all the .bak files, type ~wra*.bak in the File Name box.

Article ID: 107686 - Last Review: Sep 18, 2011 - Revision: 1