May 25, 2023

Easy Steps to Recover Unsaved Excel Files on Windows

You must use Microsoft Excel on your Windows devices to save important records. But ever wondered what if your unsaved Excel file gets deleted? If you ever encounter issues like the automatic deletion of Excel files on your device, don’t worry. Try to apply proper methods and tools to get deleted/unsaved Excel files back.

Microsoft Office has an inbuilt utility to recover your working Excel document automatically. Along with this utility feature, several other free data recovery methods and tools can help you restore your unsaved or deleted files. The following methods will help you out. Just go through the below-mentioned easy-to-follow DIY data recovery methods to recover unsaved Excel files on windows quickly.

What Causes Deletion of Unsaved Excel Files?

Before applying l methods to recover unsaved Excel files, knowing the exact cause of such issues is important. There are several reasons why unsaved Excel files get deleted on your Windows devices without any warning. Some of these are:

  • Sudden power failure: If there is a power outage or a sudden system shutdown of your device, any unsaved files may get automatically deleted or lost.
  • Accidental deletion: You may have accidentally deleted the Excel files on your computer. To avoid such issues, double-check to ensure you are deleting any important files.
  • Software or Hardware issues: Any issue with the software or hardware of your system can also cause the deletion of unsaved Excel files. The software installed in your device may sometimes hang and make it necessary to perform force quit, resulting in the deletion of unsaved Excel files.
  • Virus or Malware: There may be some virus or malware infection on your device, which can affect your device’s software programs and delete unsaved Excel files.

How do I Recover Unsaved Excel Files?

Whatever is the cause for the deletion of Excel files on your device, now it’s time to apply proper data recovery methods to recover them. Just go through the following methods one by one to recover your unsaved Excel spreadsheets on Windows devices:

Method 01: Recover Unsaved Excel Files Using the AutoRecover Feature

As mentioned above, MS Excel provides a built-in AutoRecover feature that you can use to recover files that are closed accidentally or automatically. This feature saves copies of all open Excel files after some fixed interval. You can even use the AutoRecover feature to recover files deleted due to an unexpected system breakdown or power failure. All you have to do is:

  • First, launch the Excel software and go to File > Options.
  • Navigate to Save and then click Save Workbooks.
  • Check if the box next to the ‘Save AutoRecover information X every’ and ‘Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving’ is selected. Also, add the time interval in place of X (in minutes), after which you must save Excel files automatically.


  • Now, copy the file path in the box next to the AutoRecover file location.
  • After that, launch the File Explorer window, paste the Menu Bar file path in the File Name box, and press Enter key.
  • Double-click on the file with the .xlb extension and select Excel from the apps to open it.


Once you are done with the above steps, save your recovered files to the desired location.

Method 02: Use Recover Unsaved Workbooks to Restore Unsaved Excel Files

One more amazing feature in Excel allows you to recover unsaved Excel spreadsheets in a few simple clicks. Many users find Excel’s Recover Unsaved Workbooks an effective way to restore unsaved Excel files. You can go through the following steps to recover your files using this option:

  • Launch Excel and click on the File tab located in the top-left corner. Then, select Open and click on Recent.
  • Scroll down and click the “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” option. This will display the list of all your unsaved Excel files in the Document Recovery pane.


  • Now, double-click on the file that you need to restore. Once the file gets opened in Excel, use the Save As option to save it to your desired location.


Method 03: Recover Unsaved Excel Files Using Previous Version 

Excel also provides an in-built Previous Version feature that you can use to go back to the previous version of your files. If you find anything missing from the current version of the Excel file, you can easily restore it using the previous or any other working version. However, it is important to note that the Previous Version option will allow you to recover files only up to the version saved earlier.

Go through the following easy steps to recover unsaved Excel files on Windows using the Previous versions feature:

  • Launch Microsoft Excel, click on File and then click Info.
  • You will get the recent autosave/auto recovery files next to the Manage Workbook option. Select the one that you need to recover.


  • Click Save/Save As to store the file and rename it appropriately.


Method 04: Use Data Recovery Software to Recover Unsaved Excel Files

If the above methods fail to recover your unsaved Excel files, you can use data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery Free to regain your lost data. This is the ultimate tool to recover lost data with 100% safety and security. Along with the Excel files, this free data recovery software supports the recovery of several other files, including photos, videos, documents, etc.

Check out some features of Stellar Data Recovery Free tool that make it best for your unsaved Excel data recovery:

  • This software can recover Excel files or their temp files that were corrupted, deleted, or lost from your device for any reason.
  • Supports recovery of files stored on internal and external drives, including computer drives, SD cards, flash drives, etc.
  • This data recovery tool is compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7.

Step-by-Step Instruction to Recover Unsaved Excel Files on Windows Using Stellar Data Recovery Tool:

  • Download and install the Stellar Data Recovery Free software on your Windows device.
  • Launch the tool and from the main screen that appears, select the type of file you need to recover, and then click the Next button.


  • Now, select the folder that you need to scan or from where you need to recover your files and click Scan.


  • Once the scanning process is completed, preview the recoverable items and click the Recover button to save recovered data.


Tips to Prevent Deletion of Unsaved Excel Files

Here are some tips that you can apply to avoid the deletion of unsaved Excel files on your Windows devices:

  • Save frequently: It is the easiest way to prevent unsaved Excel files from deletion. You just have to save your work regularly while working on Excel spreadsheets. Make a habit of saving your files after every few minutes or whenever you edit them.
  • Use AutoSave: You can also use the Microsoft AutoSave feature to save your changes at regular intervals. The detailed steps to enable this option in your Excel file are described in method 01 (mentioned above).
  • Use cloud storage: Creating backups of your important Excel files allows you to restore them if any deletion occurs. Services like OneDrive or Google Drive help you to save your files automatically as you work on them.
  • Install antivirus program: To prevent the deletion of unsaved Excel files by viruses or malware in your device, you need to install anti-virus software. Also, keep your device’s OS and software updated to avoid bugs.

Wrapping Up

If you accidentally lose important Excel files on your device, whether unsaved or saved, try to recover them using the aforementioned methods. If the steps above to recover unsaved Excel files don’t work, you can try the Stellar Data Recovery Free tool. This tool is one of the best options to restore lost or permanently deleted Excel files.

About the author 

Elle Gellrich

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