How to Find Lost Documents in WordPad

by Amy Dombrower

If you’ve created a WordPad document and can’t seem to find it, don't fret. There are several ways you can go searching for your document and hopefully recover it intact. Since WordPad has only a few different file types, you can search your computer for each type to look for your file. You also can look in your Recycle Bin and in temporary file folders.

Step 1

In Windows, click the “Start” button. In the search field, type the name of the document as you remember it. See if the file you’re looking for shows up.

Step 2

Type in the file format you saved it as. It’s most likely you saved it as a Rich Text Format file, which is WordPad’s default file type. Type “*.rtf” in the search field. This will bring up all RTF files on your computer. You can also try .docx, .otf and .txt. Make sure to type the asterisk to signify a file extension.

Step 3

Check the Recycle Bin. On your desktop, click the “Recycle Bin” icon. Open it up and check to see if you deleted your WordPad file by accident. Select the item and click “Restore This Item.”

Check temporary files. Search for “*.TMP.”


  • If none of these methods work, your WordPad document is probably permanently deleted and you should rewrite the document. It’s a good idea to save often and take note of where your document is saved. Also, make a copy of your document and save it on an external flash drive.

Items you will need

  • Windows operating system

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