MS-Excel / Excel 2003

Changing the AutoRecover Settings

The AutoRecover feature is turned on when you install Excel so that every ten minutes the program automatically saves any editing changes made since the workbook was last saved. The program saves all the edits you've made since the last AutoRecover save in a special document-recovery backup file located in the folder designated as the AutoRecover save location. Then if your computer experiences some sort of power failure or Excel unexpectedly goes comatose on you (a very rare occurrence but not completely unheard of) before you can save the workbook yourself, you can open this recovery backup file and use it instead of the original file.

AutoRecover doesn't operate on a new workbook that you've never manually saved with File?Save, so be sure to save your new workbook before you enter a bunch of formulas and data in it, or you could end up losing it all.

If you're not comfortable with the ten-minute AutoRecover save interval, you can shorten or lengthen it. For some users, this interval is too long because they would never want to have to reenter ten minutes worth of data. For others, it's too short because it seems like Excel's always interrupting their work by saving their data changes. To modify the AutoRecover settings, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Tools → Options to open the Options dialog box.
  2. Select the Save tab to display the AutoRecover settings for the program.
  3. To modify the AutoRecover save interval, enter the new time value (between 1 and 120) in the Minutes text box or use the spinner buttons to select it.
  4. To select a new folder into which to save recovery backup files, select the AutoRecover Save Location text box and then enter the pathname for this new folder.
    Normally, you don't have to worry about this folder location because the Document Recovery task pane finds the backup file for you and enables you to compare the recovered file to the original and, if you so desire, replace the original with the recovered version.
  5. Click OK to close the Options dialog box and put your new settings into effect.
    Select the Disable AutoRecover check box on the Save tab of the Options dialog box at your own peril. In disabling this feature, you run the risk of losing all your data should you have a software or hardware mishap before you take the time to manually save the file.

If your software freezes up or your computer crashes when the AutoRecover feature is enabled and in use during a work session, the next time you launch Excel, the program displays the Document Recovery task pane. This pane identifies both the original and recovered versions of the workbook file. You can open the recovered version (by clicking its button and then selecting Open on its pop-up menu) to see how much of the data was recovered. If you decide that you want to retain the recovered version of the file and replace the original version, choose File → Save and choose Yes in the alert dialog box that warns you that you're about to replace the existing file.

If you know that you want to replace the original with the recovered version, you don't have to bother with opening the recovered file. Just click the drop-down button for the file marked [Recovered] and select Save As on the pop-up menu. If you don't want to replace the original, be sure to enter a new filename in the Save As dialog box.

In the odd event that you want to discard the recovered version and retain only the original (and presumably less complete) version of the file, simply click the Close button in Document Recovery task pane and then select the No option button in the alert dialog box that appears.

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