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For Seniors: How to Recover Lost Work on Your Computer

Computers lock up occasionally, and applications crash in the middle of important projects. When that happens, any work that you haven’t saved is gone. You can, however, recover lost work on your computer in certain cases.

To minimize the pain of those situations, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all have an AutoRecover feature that silently saves your drafts as you work, once every ten minutes or at some other interval you specify. These drafts are saved in temporary hidden files that are deleted when you close the application successfully (that is, not abruptly due to a lockup, crash, or power outage). If the application crashes, those temporary saved files appear for your perusal when the program starts back up. You can

  • Save them if their versions are newer than the ones you have on your hard drive.

  • Discard them if they contain nothing you need.

To change the interval at which AutoRecover versions are saved, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File→Options.

    The Options dialog box for that particular program appears.

  2. Click the Save category.

    Options related to the Save settings appear.

  3. Make sure that the Save AutoRecover Information Every xx Minutes check box is selected.

    You can change the interval, if you’d like.

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  4. If desired, change the value in the Minutes box to another number and then click OK.

    Your computer automatically saves your drafts behind the scenes according to the interval you set.

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