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If you open (not save) a Word attachment in Windows Mail, then it will open the document up in Microsoft Word. This is saved somewhere, and you can edit the file and save it (i.e. no "save as" dialog appears). If you then close Word without explicitly saving the file somewhere, how do you then find the edited file? (Assuming that it can be found, and isn't automatically deleted).

Windows Search does not find the file (presumably because it's in the folders that are excluded from search).

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2 Answers 2

It's probably either in the Windows temporary directory, which is by default in "C:\Windows\Temp", or in the user's temporary directory which is in "C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Local Settings\Temp\".

If you're looking for a good file-search engine, and if your disk is formatted as NTFS, see the Everything search engine.

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If it can help someone, it was in temporary internet files. (I wonder why no answer has been picked by the author.) –  Etiennebr Dec 15 '11 at 19:02

First, whenever you discover you edited and saved an email attachment, try not to open it from your mail application again. Doing so, might overwrite the edited file with the version from the email message, which will discard your edits. Fortunately, most often a newly opened file will get stored in a different temporary folder, so this might be your lucky day.

Windows Explorer will not show the true contents of the Temporary Internet Files folder. Hence, if you know part of the file name, you need to use the command prompt:

  • Hold down the Windows key and press R (this opens the Run dialog)

  • Type: cmd

    (and hit Return to run it)

  • Type: dir c:\filename*.* /s /a /od

    Above, filename is the start of the file name, followed by an asterisk (wildcard) to find all possible combinations of the name. The dir-command will scan your whole hard disk and might run a long time. When it's done, it lists all files that match that name, with the newest file at the bottom of that list. That's most likely the file you want.

  • To copy the results from the command prompt, you might first need to click the top-left icon of the command prompt window, and select something like "edit » mark". Then, select the output using your mouse, and when the result is selected, press Return to copy it to your clipboard.

  • Paste just the filename you found into Windows Explorer, and if all is well, Office will open it. Now use File, Save As to move it to a better place.

  • If copying and pasting the results did not work, type 'cd' followed by the directory in the command prompt, this will display the items in that particular location. Now type 'start' and the file name with extension to run your lost document. For example 'start amanda.doc'.

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protected by Diago Dec 22 '10 at 19:52

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