Autorecover didn't work after unexpected shutdown


Dazed and Confused

I had a user with 5 excel spreadsheets open, Autosave was
set for every 5 minutes. During lunch the microsoft
autoupdate ran and decided to restart her computer.

She hadn't saved any of the spreadsheets after working on
it all morning but when she went back into excel there
were no recovered files.

I checked the directory that autorecover was supposed to
save the files and nothing!

Do the worksheets have to be saved atleast once before
autorecover kicks in or any other reason that it may have


Dazed and Confused by an Angry User

Jan Karel Pieterse


There seems to be a mixup here.

- Autosave just saves your open files on the set interval,
just like a normal save, hence overwriting the "original"
files on disk.
- Autorecover makes *backup copies* of open files to a set
directory. Autorecover has been added to Excel as from
Excel XP, and is NOT available to older versions.

If the former: just open the original files again.
If the latter: I suspect changes may have been lost.

If you're using XL97 or 2000: consider downloading my from


Jan Karel Pieterse
Excel TA/MVP

Dazed and Confused


It was autorecover.

She never originally saved the file hence autosave
wouldn't have helped.

Is there a reason that autorecover didn't work?
Is it only the active window that can be recovered?
Does the file have to first be saved so autorecover can
Did the autoupdate shutdown nuke any files that could
have been recovered by shutting down the system properly?

When she rebooted and went into excel nothing was

I just want to give her a reason as to why autorecover
didn't work. I tried mentioning that hitting SAVE would
be a good idea........ that went over like a lead brick!


Jan Karel Pieterse

Hi Dazed,
Is there a reason that autorecover didn't work?

Frankly, I don't know how Autorecover works exactly.
My guess is that it should save all work in progress, but as said, I'm
not up to date on that.
Help from Excel should give you the information I should expect.
Did the autoupdate shutdown nuke any files that could
have been recovered by shutting down the system properly?

IMO the files should only be "nuked" when Excel is closed properly, NOT
after any crash, be it a system crash or an Excel crash.

You could consider downloading my from

It should do the same as Autorecover, but IMO you have a bit more
insight in how (and if!) it works. If Autosafe seems to do the trick,
disable autorecovery.


Jan Karel Pieterse
Excel MVP

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