In this article, I will discuss how to recover an unsaved Excel file after a crash. A crash can happen for several reasons. For example, your PC can crash or a sudden failure of the Excel application. Sometimes, you may forget to save the Excel file before closing your PC too. All these situations are painful. But don’t worry, there are ways to recover Excel files. Let’s learn about those solutions.
1. Recovering Unsaved Excel File after Crash or Restart
Let’s consider you have opened a new Excel workbook (Book1) from your PC or updated a pre-existing workbook. However, you forget to save the file before shutting down your PC, or the Excel application crashes for some reason. Now, how can you recover the unsaved workbook? Follow the below steps to recover the unsaved Excel file.
- First, open Microsoft Excel and go to Open > Recent.
- Next, click on Recover Unsaved Workbooks under the Workbooks section.
- As a result, Excel will show the list of the unsaved files (overwritten and never saved).
- Now double-click on the file you want to recover.
- Consequently, here we see the recovered Excel workbook (Book1).
- Then save the file by clicking on the Save icon in Excel.
- After that, go to Save As > Browse.
- Finally, choose the file location, give a file name, and click on Save.
- You will get the unsaved Excel files in the below location too. In this location, unsaved files are saved as temporary files.
- In the case of never-saved Excel workbooks, when you go to Open > Recent > Recover Unsaved Workbooks, the below dialog will show up. So, you can open the unsaved file from this dialog too.
- By default, unsaved Excel files are backed up in .xlsb format. You can choose the file format while restoring the file.
Read More: How to Recover Corrupted Excel File
2. Restoring Overwritten Excel Files After Crash
Suppose you have updated a previously created Excel file and saved the changes. Or, after overwriting the Excel file, you face a PC crash. However, now you need the older version of the file. What will you do? Let’s have a look at the below steps to recover the older version of the Excel file we have discussed.
- In the beginning, open the Excel file that was overwritten and go to the File tab from Ribbon.
- Next, go to Info > Manage Workbook to see the list of the versions of the file.
- Now choose the version you want to open and click on it.
- As a consequence, the previous version of the Excel file will be visible. But remember, this recovered file is read-only. Make sure you have restored the file and saved it as a separate file.
You can see the version history of an overwritten Excel file by following the below steps.
- Open the specific Excel file, and go to the File tab.
- Then go to Info > Version History.
- As a result, you will get the history of the different versions of a particular Excel file.
- Afterward, you can open any version by double-clicking on it.
- Later you can restore the version too.
3. Recovering Overwritten Excel File Saved on OneDrive
In this method, I will discuss how you can recover overwritten Excel files located in OneDrive. The advantage of OneDrive is that even if you face a PC crash, your file is still saved to the OneDrive. Follow the below steps to restore Excel files from OneDrive.
- Firstly go to onedrive.live.com.
- Now, go to My Files > Documents.
- Next, you will see the uploaded Excel files in the OneDrive. Right-click on a specific Excel file and press Version History.
- As a result, the Excel file will open in a different tab with version histories (Current and Older). Choose the version you require and restore it.
4. Restoring Previous Version of Excel File with File History
You can recover overwritten Excel files if File History is enabled in Windows. If you experience a crash, the Excel file is backed up to File History. The steps to find the Excel files in the File History location are:
- Click on the Start menu first, and search for ‘Restore File’.
- Then click on ‘Restore your files with File History.
- As a result, the File History window will appear. Locate the backed-up Excel file and using the arrow keys see which versions are available for it.
- After that, restore the Excel file separately if you need it.
- On my PC, File History is not enabled, so here we can see no Excel file.
How to Activate AutoSave and AutoRecovery Options in Excel
Make sure you have activated AutoSave and AutoRecovery options in Excel. To configure these settings follow the below steps.
- Open the Excel application, and click on Options.
- After that, the Excel Options dialog box will show up. Select the Save option.
- Now, from the Save Workbooks section, put a checkmark on ‘Autosave files stored in the cloud by default in Excel’.
- Then tick the ‘AutoRecover information every’ option and set the time. By default, excel sets this time as 10 minutes. However, you can change the time. For instance, I have set the time as 1 minute.
- Next, put a checkmark on ‘Keep the AutoRecovered version if I close without saving’. If you want you can change the location from here.
Read More: How to Find Backup Files in Excel
How Does AutoSave Work in Excel 365
Excel 365 has the advantage of saving the excel files in OneDrive. This is very helpful as you can recover files from OneDrive after a crash happens. While working, if you want to save Excel files to OneDrive follow the below steps.
- Go to the upper left corner of the Excel window, and move the AutoSave from Off to On.
- Then, give a name to your file and press OK.
- Now the Excel file is linked to OneDrive.
Download Practice Workbook
You can download the practice workbook that we have used to prepare this article.
In the above article, I have tried to discuss several methods to recover an Excel file after a crash elaborately. Hopefully, these methods and explanations will be enough to solve your problems. Please let me know if you have any queries.