My mom downloaded a Word document from an e-mail attachment by clicking on "Open" in the Internet Explorer 7 dialog, instead of "Save". She proceeded to make a lot of changes, after which she saved the document and closed Word, thinking she just updated the e-mail attachment.

Today she found out that that is not actually what happens and asked me to retrieve the file she made all the changes to. It seems most likely to me that if it still exists, it must be in some (probably temporary) directory that IE downloads these files to. But I can't find it. Does anyone know where these files get (temporarily) stored?

My mom is using Windows XP, Internet Explorer 7 and Word 2007 if that helps. Thanks!


I think it should be in: C:\Documents and Settings\USER_NAME\Temporary Internet Files\IE_VERSION then one of the bunch of random names, but I'm on Windows 7 so I can't verify that.

EDIT: The easiest way would be you go to Word and pick the Office Button go over Open and to the right, pick it there then just pick Save As. It'll show in it's current directory, and you can just save it somewhere else then and there.

  • 2
    Bless you, I was about to redo 8 hours of work from excel . The IT tech had said it is completely lost but I followed your instructions and found it. Thanks. – user130357 Apr 26 '12 at 8:03

I used the Everything utility to find that on Windows XP, IE8 saves the "temporary downloads" to a folder called

C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\CVLARQOK\filename.ext

with its real filename. Also the folder was not the last modified folder in

C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\

My suggestion is use everything search (from voidtools) to find the file or search under the Content.IE5 folder.

  • Everything is tremendous and solves a whole class of "where is this file" problems. – ChimneyImp Jul 18 '12 at 2:36
  • 1
    Thanks, I had forgotten about this great utility. It helps the void that google desktop left behind. – Justin Goldberg Nov 14 '14 at 4:42

I'm not all that familiar with IE 7 but after doing a little research I found the simplest & best explanation in regard to your question (if I understood it correctly) that I could find came from... http://www.walkernews.net/2008/03/17/where-is-ie7-cache-folder/

Where Is IE7 Cache Folder in Windows XP

Because the XP and Windows 2003 don’t support Protected Mode as in Windows Vista, there is no so-called “low integrity” folder in these Windows.

However, IE7 running on XP and 2003 doesn’t cache all files in the traditional cache folder path as well.

In order to access the IE7 cache folder in XP / Windows 2003:

  1. Open IE7 in Windows XP or 2003,
  2. Press ALT+T keyboard shortcut to bring up Tools menu
  3. Click the Internet Options sub-menu,
  4. In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Settings button of Browsing History section,
  5. Click the View Files button in the Temporarily Internet Files and History Settings dialog box,
  6. Press ALT+D to highlight the Windows Explorer address bar,
  7. Then follow by pressing the right-arrow key on your keyboard,
  8. APPEND this hidden path \content.ie5 and press ENTER key.

Similarly, you might need to turn on the view hidden files options in Windows Explorer before you could view / access all the web pages components cached by the web browser.


It's probably in:

%APPDATA%\Temporary Internet Files (%LOCALAPPDATA% on Vista/7) (Default: C:\Documents and Settings\*User*\Application Data on XP | C:\Users\*User*\AppData\Local on Vista/7)
User's %TEMP% (Default: C:\Documents and Settings\*User*\Temp | C:\Users\*User*\AppData\Local\Temp)
User's %TMP% (Default: Same as User's %TEMP%)
System's %TEMP% (Default: C:\Windows\Temp)
System's %TMP% (Default: Same as System's %TEMP%)

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.