Recovering a PowerPoint After a Crash

By Anni Martin

Even when the computer crashes, all is usually not lost.
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Microsoft PowerPoint makes doing presentations easier, unless your computer crashes and the business presentation you have worked on all week is now a speck of dust in the electronic stratosphere. Luckily, most documents on a computer are never really lost and can be recovered. If you are using PowerPoint 2010, you have backups you can check before resigning yourself to recreating your business presentation from scratch.

AutoSave and AutoRecover

PowerPoint comes an AutoSave and AutoRecover feature for those times when lightning strikes or a backhoe pulls the plug on your power. AutoSave saves your document every 10 minutes by default. Make sure this feature is turned on before you start your business presentation by looking in the File, Options and Save area. Make sure the “Save AutoRecover Information” check box is selected. You can change the number of minutes the computer automatically saves your file by decreasing the number of minutes between saves. If you do have the computer automatically save more often, it can slow down your computer as you work, as well as take up hard-drive space.

AutoRecover Files

When you open PowerPoint after a crash, a recovery pane appears on the left side of the window. Dates appear below the files recovered for the program. Double-click the newest version of your presentation to see how much the program could recover of your work. The amount recovered depends on when the last AutoSave occurred.

Recover Unsaved Documents

If your computer crashed before you could even name your document, all is not necessarily lost. PowerPoint 2010 saves temporary, unsaved documents, too. When the power is restored, launch PowerPoint again. Click on the “File” tab and then click “Recent.” Click the “Recover Unsaved Presentations” link to see the unsaved drafts of your presentation. Double-click the unsaved file to open it. Save the file after you have recovered it.

Temporary Files

If AutoRecover does not have your file, you can look in the Temp directory. Whenever a new file is started in PowerPoint, the operating system also creates a temporary file. These files are usually stored in the Windows Temp directory. You can find your temp subdirectory in your system by clicking the Start button, then typing “%tmp%” in the Search field and clicking “Search.” Click on the “Temp” folder link to see all the temp files. You can search by date or look for PowerPoint files whose names are in the form PPTxxx.tmp.