How to retrieve your lost Word document opened in Windows Live Mail, edited and saved

Yesterday, I opened a Word attachment sent by my colleague and instead of Right Clicking and Save As, I double click on Word file in Windows Live Mail and clicked Open. I knew that this file will be saved to some jibberish temporary folder, so I thought that I can Save As within Word after editing it. Somehow, I guess I only click Save after hours of editing the file and rushed off from my work place. Today, I couldn’t find the file under Recent in my Office 2010! Horrors of horrors! I cannot accept that I have to work on that file for hours again! Then I realised, it’s gotta be saved somewhere out there amongst the thousands of hidden folders. And here are the steps to retrieve your lost file from Microsoft.

You may or may not be able to recover this document since the changes are saved in your Temporary Internet files folder. Note that you can’t just open your Temporary Internet Files folder directly and find it due to the way Windows handles your Temporary Internet files but if it’s still available, here’s how you can get it back:

1) Open another Word document sent to you as an attachment from an email. If you don’t have one, send an email with an attachment to yourself. (While you should be able to open the same email attachment since another copy of the file is created in your Temporary Internet Files folder, I don’t like taking a chance like that.) – 2) Click the Office Button, point at Prepare, and then click Properties. The Properties pane will display below the Ribbon.
On the far right of the Properties pane you’ll see a file path and the document name. Select only the file path and press Ctrl + C to copy it.
Press the WinKey + E to open the Windows Explorer. (Or use an alternate method to open it)
Paste the copied file path in the Address bar and press Enter.

I did not follow the above step most probably meant for Office 2007. For Office 2010, go to File, Info, then at the Right pane right at the bottom, there’s a link for Open File Location. Go ahead and click on it. This will bring you to a location that looks something like this:

C:UsersUserAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5WZI1NZQR

The file that you want might not be located in this particular folder. You need to go one folder back to

C:UsersUserAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5

Here you might find that the folder is empty. This is because, by default, this contents of this folder are hidden. In the same folder screen, click Organise in the menu, then Folder and Search Options, then go to View.

Ensure that Show Hidden folders is ticked and all the others with Hide…are unticked. Click OK. You’ll then be able to see some folders appear with codes such as WZI1NZQR. If your PC is new like mine, you won’t have too many folders to go through (hurray for me). If not, you might have to click on all those folders to find your particular file. It helps if you know your file name, then you can just click to it. For Eg. my filename was Lagu-lagu Rohani. So I just type L, and it brings me to all the L files one after another. Alternative you can click on Type column, so all the files are arranged according to their types. It will be easier to spot all Word files that you are looking for.

Alright, I hope these steps work for you as it did for me! All the best.

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89 Responses to How to retrieve your lost Word document opened in Windows Live Mail, edited and saved

  1. OMG! Thank you so much! I had to bring work home last night, and clearly forgot I had left the office so didn’t think to ‘save as’.

    You are a CHAMPION!


  2. I do not know how to thank you! I worked so hard on a document and forgot to save it in a permanent location … your advice is really a life saver! Thank you!

  3. This is the first site I have found that seems to be of some help. But when I hit enter I get a warning saying that my current security settings do not allow the file to be downloaded. How can I change this? I need help asap

  4. Thank you so much for your help man! Your recommendations helped me recover a 20 pages file I had been working on the whole day!

    Highly appreciated!

  5. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!! You’re an absolute legend for posting this info- it saved me 2 days work 🙂 Just wish I had found your post sooner!

  6. Words cannot express my gratitude. But I’ll try anyway! I almost lost my 150 section assignment thanks to not saving it properly, but thanks to you I don’t have to do it again.

    You are a lifesaver

  7. You are a life saver!! I was in tears because I thought I lost my CV, that took me practically ages to do. Thank you so much xx

  8. I did those steps and it didn’t work for me at all. It wasn’t there. I even unhid everything. I attached a word document to my hotmail account, opened it up, worked on it, and saved it. But I forgot to save it to the hardrive, I just hit save. i did those steps and it still didn’t work. I have windows 7.

  9. WOW I’m sooo happy and relieved this worked!! this has happened to me in the past and i’ve always been so upset cuz I’ve had to write everything again! But this really helped me out! It took a little while to find the folder but it worked 🙂 THANK YOUUUUUU. You’ve made my life better

  10. I love you, I will ask my god to save you from all bad things in this world … God bless you I really dont know how to thank you
    If I was steve Jobs I would give you “Apple” 🙂

  11. You are a super star! I was about to break down in tears because I had lost so many hours of work. Then I came across your site. You have NO idea how you just saved me! Thank you a million times over!

  12. dear Leona,
    I can’t tell how helpful your information is. You just saved me from bursting lol. Things were going to fall apart here and there but curtesy to your good advice, I was able to get my doc back. Have no words to thank you.

  13. Please, I need help…
    I opend a Powerpoint file from Windows Live and after I finished I could not find that file. I’m using Windows 7 and Microsort 2010. Could some one help me to find that file ?? I have a presentation tomorrow and no time to do the work again.

  14. This post has really helped me to find the lost document which I edited for several hours, but without properly saving it on the desktop or in my documents.

    Thank you very much for the help!!


  15. YOU ARE AWESOME! I looked everywhere to solve my problem and I recovered all the text I typed for my dissertation! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  16. Leona, I just want to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Following your instructions, I was able to retrieve my lost document.

  17. You are a legend!! My assignment had to be submitted tonight and thought I’d lost 4 hours of work.

    I must apologise to my lovely husband for putting him through half an hour of hell!


  18. From The William Woods University Branson,MO MBA Cohort, THANK YOU. You just saved our financial documents we spent hours doing edits on. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  19. YOu are an absolute rock star of epic proportions. I can’t even explain to you how menormous of a rockstar you. Thank you!

  20. You just saved me my degree! Cannot express how thankful i am! You just got yourself a spot in heaven. Lif saver! Xx

  21. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! It’s like i have been given a new life line. Assignment due in mere hours you saved me!

  22. I don’t usually respond to these sorts of posts, but you are a total lifesaver and just saved me several hours work. You are a total legend.

  23. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
    You have no idea how grateful I am, two minutes ago I was crying!
    I have a Term Paper due tommorow and I emailed it to myself so I could finish it at home, and I thought I had lost it forever—seriously I can’t thank you enough, THANK YOU
    you are the best most fantastic and amizing person in teh whole wide world THANK YOU!!

  24. Leona, you are an ANGEL! I was a wreck & nearly gave up searching bc other people’s advice wasn’t finding anything. Your site was going to be my last attempt. I was in shock when I found my file. Thank you tons, you are amazing!

  25. No problem, i have give you better solution, use Kernel for word repair software to repair and recover corrupted, deleted word doc file from computer. So try this exultant utility and get profit.

  26. THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH! You are a life saver. I thought I lost my 26 page document that I edited for 5 hours. I seriously thought I lost my document forever.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  27. I agree with all the comments above
    You just saved another person’s work today and no words can describe how I feel right now and how much I love you! 😀
    You are great and you give an actual solution to something that could turn into a huuuuge headache/nightmare.
    Thank you SO SO much, you are an angel!

  28. My more-computer-savvy-than-me husband now thinks I’m a genius.

    He’d spent all day writing a 20 page technical report and got back out of bed at 11.45 so he could stick it on a USB to take to the office, only to not find it anywhere.

    We tried so many other solutions but none worked. He was on the verge of tears and swearing at the computer when I persuaded him to try this one last thing.

    He’s so grateful and I have major brownie points!

    Thanks so much!!

  29. Leona, your instructions worked perfectly, saving my daughter hours recreating her work, and making me out to be a hero once we retrieved her “lost” file.

    Thank you for posting this information! 🙂


  30. THANK YOU SO MUCH, the others said it already,
    BUT YOU SAVED ME from rewriting the corrections
    for my article, which would have taken me three
    more hours, SO HURRAY!!
    A big hug to you!

  31. Thank You so much! You just saved me three hours of work on a paper on dolphins! and I learned something new 🙂

  32. Hail thy lord (if your religious)


    You just saved my live, literally!!

    I never imagined it but I actually shed tears of joy after finding my file!

  33. I followed the instructions and had to BACK UP ONE DIRECTORY, so instead of C:Users\AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE56TMDHBQU I ended up in C:Users\AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5KNR8QFCX – last folder is different. I noticed that the same date showed up on several folders, not just one – and THAT IS where I found the file

    Also, “Office Button” is not there in my version of MS Office, but I did find Properties—>Advanced Properties, and it worked!

  34. Seriuosly just saved me a ton of time and energy…lesson learned, but glad I got it back!! THANK YOU! Love that I found this page by googling my question!

  35. YOU ARE THE MOST AWESOMEST PERSON IN THE HISTORY OF THE INTERWEBZS. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou

  36. Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank YOU
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  37. Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank YOU
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  38. Thank you!! You are an angel!! The most useful guide even among other geeky tech forums
    Extra advice When moving a folder back and you unhide hidden items and still dont see anything try searching for the name of the file on the top right and it will pop up as a search result!! Windows 7

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