Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Last Document Saves Not Saved.

Last Document Saves Not Saved

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 25, 2020)

3

David has a colleague that complained of a recurring problem with Word. His colleague habitually saves his documents every few minutes. A few moments ago, he had a system crash requiring a reboot. The file that was returned to him when he re-opened Word was the one he opened at the beginning of the day, some two hours earlier. This happened, despite having clicked on the Save button about a dozen times during the morning. This is only a problem when there is a system crash. In normal working situations, he can open the last saved file with no issues. David wonders if there are any recommendations on how to avoid this problem.

Quite honestly, David, your friend is doing what should be done—saving regularly—so there is probably not much else that he can do. This doesn't explain why the problem is happening, however. There are three options you may want to have your colleague explore.

First of all, it is possible that your friend's document is somehow corrupted. This is, in all likelihood, the least probable cause, but it is something to consider. (I've seen corrupted documents do some pretty strange things.) It wouldn't hurt for your colleague to copy the document text to a new document and save it under a new name.

The second possibility is that your colleague's system has been configured to the point that the Save command doesn't really do what one would think it does. For instance, if your colleague works in a company where versions of documents need to be saved, then perhaps the Save command has been modified to accommodate that need. It is a good idea to check to see if there are any macros at play that may have changed the functioning of the Save command.

Finally, it is possible that there is something "beyond Word" at play on your friend's system. For instance, there could be some file system add-on that is caching information that would normally be written to the disk right away. This occurs routinely in systems that rely on encrypted drives or that use solid-state drives. It is less likely, but still possible, when it comes to network drives. Your colleague's system could be caching the data within his system—somewhere in memory—and when his system crashes, the "somewhere in memory" goes away without the file having been permanently written to disk. The solution to this problem is to check for any caches and modify their behavior so that they write to disk more often.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8873) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Last Document Saves Not Saved.

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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What is one minus 0?

2020-04-02 01:15:47

Arnold Fisher

Regarding the 3rd possibility, the files I edit at work are encrypted and do not always save immediately. To avoid losing any work, the first thing I do when opening one of these files is to click on the FILE menu. The location of the temp folder where the file is saved is shown at the top of the Info screen. I then click on the location and open it. I leave it open while I'm working on the file. When I finish the editing and have saved and closed the file, I check to ensure that the timestamp on the file matches that in the temp folder. If it doesn't, I copy the file from the temp folder to the file location.


2020-01-27 14:58:16

Rick G.

When my Word macro writes information to a log doc that is in plain-text format (i.e. that could be opened in Notepad), it acts that way. The stings that the macro "writes to the file" are actually buffered in a cache somewhere. They are not actually written to the log file on the hard drive until I close the log doc. My remedy is to have the macro close the log file and immediately reopen it whenever I want to be sure the data actually gets to the file. It would be a nuisance, but David's colleague could do that too. (It would be easier with a macro that does the close & reopen for him.)


2020-01-27 10:02:10

Paul Stregevsky

Could it be that the document you were working on HAS been saved, but in a different location, or as a crash file?
I've added the Document Location field to my Quick Access Toolbar. I can see at a glance whether I'm editing in in folder--and drive--that I think I'm in.
Of course, that won't help if I NEED to be editing the (more-recent) crash file but I'm actually editing the (older) "real" file. But every hint helps.


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