Can't Get Rid of Unwanted Recovery File

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 30, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Kim recounts an experience where Word 2003 saved a file automatically during a time when the workstation shut down abnormally. Ever since that time Word has repeatedly requested some attention to permanently recover the file. The user took no action to recover the file and, instead, physically deleted it. As a result Word, on every second occasion, requests some action with the 'auto recovered' (now deleted) file. This file recovery request has now infiltrated its way other users on the LAN. Now everyone enjoys the annoyance of every second opening of Word being greeted with the auto recovery pane seeking some user action for the same file. Kim is wondering how to best handle this situation.

There are a couple of things that can be tried. First, start by doing some diagnostics on the drive in question. Run the built-in Windows programs that check the disk and file structure for any errors, and correct any that show up.

Second, look in Word for the location where it is storing AutoRecover files. (You can see this on the File Locations tab of the Options dialog box.) Write down the path for the folder, then close Word and use Windows to delete everything in the folder.

You will also want to make sure that once you delete the files that nothing else is getting put in that folder. If you have another program that is using the same folder for storing information, it is possible that Word is incorrectly assuming that those files are, somehow, files that need to be recovered. (If you are unsure whether any other programs are using the folder, then simply change the location of the AutoRecover folder, in Word, to some new folder you create.)

If that doesn't work, you should consider giving Word the file it is looking for. Make note of the desired file name the next time the error message comes up. Look in the person's Recycle Bin and, if the file is still there, restore it. If it is not there, then copy a Word document to the AutoRecover folder and then rename it to the filename that Word is looking for. Then restart Word and allow it to do whatever it wants to do with the file.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6395) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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