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Fri 8 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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Lost and found

We show you eight simple ways to track a lost or deleted Microsoft Word document.

We show you eight simple ways to track a lost or deleted Microsoft Word document.

Use your system's search function

In Windows XP navigate to Start/Search/For files or folders. In the ‘What do you want to search for?' section, click on ‘All files and folders' and type '*.doc' (without the quotes) in the search field.

In the ‘Look in' section select 'My Computer'. Next, hit the Search button and Windows will begin searching your entire PC for all Word documents. In Windows Vista, click on the Start button and type in .doc or .docx (if it's a Word 2007 file) in the Start Search box.

Next, hit Enter and if the File List contains your lost document double-click on it and begin editing.
Rummage through your Recycle Bin

If your file doesn't appear in your search query results, your next stop should be the Recycle Bin. Once you've opened this, type the first letter of the name of the file in order to quickly locate it.

If you find it, right-click the file and hit the Restore option and begin using your documents as normal. If you cannot figure out what location Windows has restored the file to, try our first tip again (left), but this time search for the exact file name.

An alternativel approach is to simply drag and drop the file required from the recycle bin onto your desktop.
Open up Microsoft Word

If your computer crashed while you were editing your document, simply open Microsoft Word and keep your fingers crossed for the Document Recovery (DR) pane to appear.

This feature is designed to create an emergency backup of your document if your PC crashes or an unexpected error occurs.

If this task pane comes up, double-click your document to open it, immediately click 'Save As' and save the file as a .doc or .docx, as normal.
Hunt out AutoRecover files

If step 3 didn't work, in Word navigate to Tools/Options. Under 'File Locations', double-click 'AutoRecover files' and make a note of that location path.

(In our case, this was C:Documents and Settingscleona.gApplication DataMicrosoftWord.) Next, exit Word, navigate to the link, and look for any .asd files. (In Word 2007 click on the Microsoft button/Word Options.)

In the Navigation Pane, click Save and scan the AutoRecover box for the location path.
Use the Google Desktop app

Aside from indexing all the files on your PC, Google Desktop (GD) also creates cached copies of files such as Outlook e-mails and Word documents. Therefore, if you're having trouble finding your file, type its name into this app and hit the ‘Search' button.

If you find a cache link under your file's search result, click on it and you will find your entire text, unformatted.

Copy and paste this into Word, reformat it and you're good to go! Karen D'sa, a Windows reader based in Oman, recently e-mailed us saying, "I've found 90% of my lost files thanks to Google Desktop." So it does work.
Search for temporary files

Your next option is to look for temporary files. Repeat tip one but this time search for '*.tmp' files instead. Once you've hit the Search button you will be presented with a massive list of temporary files.

In the View menu, click Details, point to Arrange Icons, and click by Date. Next, scroll down searching for files that match the last few dates and times that you edited the document. If using Windows Vista, type *.tmp into Start Search and hit Enter.

On the ‘Show Only' toolbar, click ‘Other' and then search through the list.
Look for back up files

If you've set Microsoft Word 2003 or 2007 to regularly backup documents then you might be in luck.

To find a backed up copy of your missing file, open the folder where you last saved it and search for files with the .wbk extension. If you locate a .wbk version of your missing file, open up Word and click Ctrl + O. The Open dialogue box will now appear.

In the 'Files of type' field select 'All files (*.*)', select the file and then click Open.
Leave it to the experts

If none of the tips here do the trick then you need to go the recovery software route. We recommend using either Recuva (available from Recuva.com) or Restoration, available from Snapfiles.com/get/restoration.

If you opt for Recuva, choose a drive to scan, wait while the app locates recoverable files (i.e. files that haven't been overwritten) and review the results. Select the check box next to the files you want to restore and hit 'Recover'.

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