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excel file recovery after crash

How to Recover Excel Files After a Crash

Has your Excel recently crashed, blocking access to some of your projects? Discover the best methods to recover Excel files after a crash.
Theo Lucia
Theo Lucia Originally published Mar 29, 24, updated May 14, 24

Imagine working on a crucial Excel project when, all of a sudden, the program crashes randomly. You start worrying about retrieving it. But there are no worries as you're in the right place.

This guide will provide the most successful methods to recover Excel files after a crash. We'll present solutions to retrieve your valuable projects. These solutions include using a file recovery software solution, AutoRecover, Windows Backup, the "Recent" feature, Windows File Recovery, and cloud services.

In this article
    1. Way 1: Recover Unsaved Excel Files Using Excel File Recovery Software
    2. Way 2: Recover Files Using Excel AutoRecover
    3. Way 3: Recover Excel Files Using Windows Backup
    4. Way 4: Restore Excel Files Using the "Recent" Feature in Excel
    5. Way 5: Restore Excel Files Using the Windows File Recovery Tool
    6. Way 6: Restore Excel Files with Cloud Services

Where to Find Excel Files After a Crash

To determine whether you need proper recovery measures, you should first search for your Excel files after a crash. That will give you insight into whether the steps below are necessary or you can regain access to your files directly from your device.

Thus, we advise you to check the folder where you usually store your Excel files first and see whether all the files are in their place. If you haven't changed the default folder, check the following locations:

  • C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles (Windows 10/11)
  • C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles (Windows 8 or older)

If you cannot locate the files in these destinations, jump into the following section to learn how to retrieve them.

How to Recover Files After an Excel Crash

Below are all the reliable methods to recover Excel files after a crash.

If you… You can check…
Are looking for the most universal recovery solution Way 1
Have enabled AutoRecover Way 2
Have backed up your files using Windows Way 3
Recently lost your Excel files Way 4
Are familiar with running commands Way 5

Way 1: Recover Unsaved Excel Files Using Excel File Recovery Software

Third-party data recovery software is the most reliable solution for all data loss scenarios. However, finding efficient solutions may take time due to the number of available options. Thus, we recommend trying the most universal and successful solution, Wondershare Recoverit.

Wondershare has over 20 years of experience in the recovery industry and has produced over 35 patented technologies. Thanks to its advanced scanners, algorithms, and systems, Wondershare Recoverit can recover any file type in any data loss scenario, including Excel crashes.

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If you don't know what caused the data loss, head to the official Wondershare Recoverit website, download the tool, and follow the steps below to recover your Excel files:

  1. Open Wondershare Recoverit and click Hard Drives and Locations.
  2. Select the location containing your Excel files.
    select a location
  3. Once you choose the storage, the program will start scanning. You can monitor the progress or pause and resume the process.
    scan the location
  4. After scanning, filter your results according to file type, size, time, status, or tag.
    filter by file type
  5. Use the search box to find your lost Excel files (if you know their names).
    filter by Image name
  6. Finally, preview the files you wish to save, select them, and click Recover.
    preview and recover excel files
  7. Choose where to save the files and click Recover.
    select the file path

Way 2: Recover Files Using Excel AutoRecover

Excel offers the AutoRecover feature that allows you to recover your files in some scenarios, such as sudden crashes and power outages. If you've enabled this feature, the recovery process will be a piece of cake. Here's how it goes:

  1. Launch Excel on your device.
  2. Choose a file from the Document Recovery section on the left and save it to your computer.
    excel autorecover feature
    icon note
    Note: This recovery solution is successful only if you've saved a document at least once before the crash. Otherwise, the AutoRecover feature can't help.

Way 3: Recover Excel Files Using Windows Backup

Windows Backup is a built-in feature for all Windows devices that allows you to create backups for your most important files. If you've enabled this option on your computer, you can restore your files in a few simple clicks. Here's how to do it:

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    open settings
  2. Navigate to the Backup option.
  3. Click Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7).
    backup and restore
  4. At the bottom of the page, select Restore My Files.
    restore my files
  5. You can search, browse for files, or browse for folders on the next screen to detect your missing Excel files.
    search for your lost excel files
  6. Click Next to complete the process.

Way 4: Restore Excel Files Using the "Recent" Feature in Excel

Excel offers a "Recent" feature that will hold onto your recently edited files for 30 days. Thus, if you've edited your files recently, follow the guide below to recover Excel files using this built-in feature:

  1. Launch Excel and go to File > Open.
    the open tab in excel
  2. Click Recent Workbooks.
    open recent workbooks
  3. Scroll down and click Recover Unsaved Workbooks.
    recover unsaved workbooks
  4. Click Save As and choose where to save the file.
    save the files

Way 5: Restore Excel Files Using the Windows File Recovery Tool

Microsoft developed Windows File Recovery to help users retrieve lost files from Windows devices. Although a powerful tool, it may have a steep learning curve. You'll have to run commands, so follow the guide below for the best results:

  1. Download Windows File Recovery from the official Microsoft Store and install it on your computer.
    download windows file recovery
  2. Once you install the tool, right-click the Start button and open Windows PowerShell (Admin).
    open windows powershell as an admin
  3. Type winfr and hit Enter.
    open windows file recovery
  4. Run the following command: winfr drive_letter: path_to_the_file_for_recovery . Replace the parameters with yours, such as winfr E: D:\Recovered. Type the additional /x to recover files from all file systems. Then, type /y: before specifying the extensions of your files. It should look like this /y: .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlsb, .xltx .
    an example of running winfr
  5. Finally, hit Enter to start recovering.

Way 6: Restore Excel Files with Cloud Services

Using cloud services to back up your vital Excel files can be beneficial in some scenarios, such as your Excel program crashing. You can always rely on such services to hold your valuable files and provide constant access. Thus, if you use cloud services, check them and download the files you lost after the Excel crash.

For demonstration purposes, we'll use Google Drive as it is one of the most universal cloud storage solutions. We must note that the steps will differ depending on the cloud service, so check the official guides before jumping into the recovery:

  1. Open Google Drive from your browser.
    open google drive
  2. Find the file you want to recover and click More (the three dots).
  3. Click Download in the drop-down menu.
    download from google drive
  4. Choose where to save the file.


Losing valuable Excel projects can be stressful, especially if the program crashes unexpectedly. Fortunately, this guide is all you need if you're currently dealing with this scenario and don't know how to retrieve your files. We've presented all the reliable and successful recovery methods to restore lost Excel files.

If you're unsure of what caused the crash and the data loss and don't want to DIY your way through the recovery process, we recommend trying the best solution—Wondershare Recoverit. Thanks to this tool's advanced systems and scanners, you'll recover your Excel files, even after the most fatal crashes.

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  • What is the easiest way to restore Excel files after a crash?
    The easiest way to restore your Excel files is to use the AutoRecover option. You only need to open Excel; the missing files should be waiting for you on the left.
    However, third-party recovery software is the next easiest solution if you haven't enabled the AutoRecover feature. Most tools have a clean UI design, allowing everyone to navigate their journeys and retrieve their valuable files.
  • How do I recover an Excel file after a reboot?
    The most efficient way to recover an Excel file after a reboot is to use a reliable recovery software solution like Wondershare Recoverit. This tool has advanced systems that can retrieve lost files in any data loss scenario. Here's how to do it:

    1. Open Wondershare Recoverit and head to Hard Drives and Locations.
    2. Choose the storage to scan.
    3. After scanning the location, preview and select the desired files and click Recover.
    4. Choose where to save the files.

  • How do I recover a deleted Excel file from the accident?
    You can try several methods to recover accidentally deleted Excel files. One of the fastest and most convenient ways to restore the files from the Recycle Bin. It will hold your files until you empty the folder, so follow the steps below to recover your Excel spreadsheets:

    1. Open the Recycle Bin.
    2. Right-click the Excel file you want to recover.
    3. Click Restore in the context menu.
    If you cannot locate your files in the Recycle Bin, you may need a more robust solution, such as data recovery software. We recommend checking out Wondershare Recoverit.

Theo Lucia
Theo Lucia May 14, 24
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