How To Recover Unsaved, Temporary, or Overwritten Excel Files in win7, 8 & 10?

Have you pulled an all-nighter on a report and forgot it to save? Shortest horror story ever! 

Don’t worry; Microsoft has got your back. There are few methods constructed to get your file back. They might not always work, but it is better to give it a shot rather than start your report again. Keep on reading to know how to repair excel and recover your lost files: 

Recover an unsaved excel file- 

If you are working on a report, and your MS excel crashed, ran out of power, or your pc changed- you still have a chance to repair excel files. Let’s look into the steps: 

  1. Open a new excel page.
  2. Click on the FILE option, and then click OPEN.
  3. On the top left side of the page, you will see the RECENT option; click on that.
  4. Click on the RECOVER UNSAVED WORKBOOK that is at the bottom of the page.
  5. A dialog box will appear with the list of your unsaved workbooks. Select the one you want to save.
  6. Now you know what to do, save the file (using Save As) with a new name.

Excel store the copy of all the unsaved file at the following location- C: users/[Your system name]/app data/local/Microsoft/office/unsaved Files

Paste the address above in the search bar, and don’t forget to write your system name in the address (You can also go to this address manually). When you click on any unsaved file from the folder, it will prompt you to save it. Save it in your preferred format at a new location with a new file name. THAT’S IT! 

NOTE– this process works because excel has inbuilt functionalities called AutoSave and AutoRecover. You need to enable these functionalities, in case it’s not. To know how to allow AutoSave to and AutoRecover, click on

Recover overwritten excel file within excel

While you can blame the system for the above problem but overwriting is entirely on you! Overwriting is the case where you save the next file with the same name as the previous one and end up replacing it. Follow the following steps to revert to the previous version of a file –

  1. Click on the “file” tab.
  2. Click on “info” and then click on “manage workbook.” Here you can find all the previous versions of the file.
  3. Choose the file version that you want to restore.
  4. Save the file with a new name at your preferred location.

Right after you select and open a previous version file, excel will prompt you to “Restore” it. Click on “Restore” and save the file with a new name. (Even for this process to work, you need to have AutoSave and AutoRecover enabled. Usually, it is enabled by default, but if it is not, follow the link provided above). 

Recover excel via temporary file-

Even after you encounter sudden interventions, you can repair excel via temp files. Where are these temp files located? The location differs depending on your windows-

· For Windows 10: C:\Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

· For Windows 7/8: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

Since it is a little complicated to open temp files directly, follow the following steps to recover your temp file by changing extension –

  1. Go to the temporary file location and copy your required file.
  2. Select your preferred location and paste the file.
  3. On the top ribbon, click on the “view” tab. Then tick the box of “filename extension.”
  4. Right-click on the excel temp file to change the file extension to xls or xlsx.
  5. Now you can access that temp file as a real workbook and save it with a different name.
Heron Nelson

Heron is a business blogger with a focus on personal finance and wealth management. With over 7 years of experience writing about financial topics, Heron has established herself as a trusted voice in the personal finance space. She has a deep understanding of financial concepts and strategies, and is able to explain them in a relatable and actionable way for her readers.