Microsoft Excel 2003 closed when computer rebooted

Posted on 2008-10-25
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I need help to find the most recent changes that I made to an excell sheet. After I made the changes I did not save, and the computer re-booted. Are my changes gone forever? If not how do I recover them?

<<Question retitled to better reflect subject matter--byundt, 10/25/08>>
Question by:wcubed
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 22805009
If the autosave feature is enabled then when you next start excel it will automatically tel you that there are recovered files available, if not, ot no autosave was done sine the last proper save then to all intents an purposes the changes are lost - in theory tou can be able to re-instate and recove something from deleted temp files, but its not really a practical proposition

Expert Comment

ID: 22805007
Open the document in excel.  If there is another newer copy, you will be prompted to recover the document from auto-save or delete it.  That would be the best place to start.
LVL 81

Expert Comment

ID: 22805163
I am sorry to say that you probably need to begin retyping. From your problem description (file never saved, Excel closed normally), I'd say your chances of recovering that data are between slim and none. And even the "slim" chance requires that you had the AutoRecover feature enabled.

Contrary to assertions in previous comments, you will not be given a choice of recovering the data if you reopen the file or relaunch Excel. You get that choice only if Excel crashed instead of closing normally.

The rest of the discussion in this Comment would best be categorized in the "grasping at straws" or "what to do next time" department.

If you had AutoRecover enabled (using the Tools...Options...Save menu item), there would be a backup copy in C:\Documents and Settings\your Windows log-in name\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\ until you close Excel. As part of closing, Excel deletes these backup copies. As a result, AutoRecover is mostly useful for saving your butt if Excel XP or 2003 crashes. But if you had the presence of mind to use Task Manager to force quit Excel (or pulled the plug on your computer), then the backup copy will still be there the next time Excel launches. It is worth noting that the Application Settings folder is hidden by default--so you won't be able to see it unless you choose the option to "Show hidden files and folders" in Windows Explorer's Tools...Folder Options...View menu item

The "slim" chance mentioned earlier refers to the fact that a file undelete utility can recover your data--assuming that you haven't used Excel since wiping your spreadsheet and that you had AutoRecover enabled. Don't install a file recovery utility for this purpose (might wipe out your file)--but rather run the program from the CD-ROM or a flash drive. The AutoRecover filename is randomly generated with a .xar suffix; it looks like: ~ar1D78.xar       If you find any, recover them all and change the suffix to .xls. You can then open them one at a time to see if you can recover your work. Note that you won't see these files in a directory listing unless you use a file undelete utility!

The above free program, called Restoration, is small enough to run from a USB flash drive, floppy disk or a CD. It doesn't need to be installed on your hard drive and possibly damage the free space where your deleted files might reside. Restoration can undelete files that were removed from the recycle bin or directly deleted from within Windows. You can scan for all recoverable files, or you can focus on a particular file by entering part of a file name, an extension or a search term. Restoration works with FAT and NTFS as well as digital cameras cards.

WinUndelete $50. Free trial version available.
Free Undelete (freeware).

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Author Comment

ID: 22805832
I was wrong I am using windows vista on a laptop.
I was working on the file, took a break and closed the computer top leaving all programs open. When I opened the laptop back up it had re-booted and allthe programs were closed.
I did not shut down excell.
Can you please give me more detailed vista directions.
Thank you so much
LVL 81

Accepted Solution

byundt earned 500 total points
ID: 22805865
If your computer rebooted because of a Microsoft service pack installation or loss of battery power, then that would be equivalent to an Excel crash and the procedure suggested by KCTS will work for you. It is not a Vista issue, but rather one of how your Excel 2003 is set up.

1) Restart Excel
2) Assuming that you have enabled the AutoRecover feature, you should be offered a choice to recover a version of your file within the ten minute period before you closed the cover on your laptop.

If you do not have the AutoRecover feature enabled, then abandon all hope. Your changes are lost. For the future, you enable AutoRecover in the Tools...Options menu item on the Save tab. I strongly urge you to enable it--that feature has saved my butt on many occasions.

If you have the AutoRecover feature enabled, but have launched Excel since your laptop rebooted--and ignored your chance to recover the data--then those AutoRecover files will have been deleted when you closed Excel normally. This leaves you with the faint chance of recovering your data using one of the "undelete" tools I mentioned in my post.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31510009
Thanks for your help, I do appreciate it.
In the end I ended up having to re enter everything.
Have a great day.

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