Can't Use AutoRecover with a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 30, 2019)

Rusty has a file saved on the local hard drive and has Word set up to save AutoRecover files periodically. He can open the document and modify it, but when the time comes for Word to automatically save an AutoRecover file, the program displays an error message stating the file couldn't be saved because it is in use by another user or process. Rusty has killed all the processes he can, there is no network connection, there are no other users, and nothing is running on the computer except Word.

There are a few things you can check out, which means it is time to do some trial-and-error testing. First, you may want to go grab a utility that can tell you what process or program has your document locked. This is one (Process Explorer) recommended by our readers:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/process-explorer

Chances are good, of course, that you'll only discover what you already know—Word has the file locked. If that is the case, then Word is obviously confused. It could be that there is something "funky" with the internal format of the Word document, meaning that it is on the edge of full-blown corruption. Try saving the document under a different name and then using the newly saved document for future editing.

If the problem persists, it may be that the file path used by AutoRecover has become corrupted in some way. Run your Windows diagnostics, outside of Word, to check the hard drive for any errors. Then, within Word, change the file location settings so that AutoRecover uses a different path in which to store its files.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6687) 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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