Lost edits to downloaded Excel spreadsheet

June 18, 2011 at 05:59:21
Specs: Windows 7
I downloaded an Excel spreadsheet from Gmail in IE9 and unwittingly began to edit this document before saving to a known location. When I "saved" from within Excel, I was not prompted to give any location. Is there any chance this document is still on my computer? If so, could you please let me know where that might be? Many thanks.

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June 18, 2011 at 08:24:23
Did you Download it or simply open the file from within Gmail?

Either way you should be able to locate it.

If all you did was open it from within Gmail,
then the Excel workbook should still be attached to the original email in your Gmail account.
If you deleted the mail, check the Trash folder.

If you downloaded the file, then check the download folder.
I believe the default download locaton is usually C:\My Documents

You can also check:

C:\Documents and Settings\[User name]\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\

You could also do a Search of your hard drive, using Windows Search and look for all .xlsx or .xls files.



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June 18, 2011 at 11:47:55

Thanks a lot. In Windows 7 with IE9, when I click on "Download" in the Gmail window, I'm given options to "Open", "Save", "Save As", "Save and Open" or "Cancel" (which is new and unfortunately what caused the issue). I selected "Open". This opened the document in Excel. I then edited the document for an hour or two and saved multiple times (unless I'm imagining this). The original document is still attached to my Gmail e-mail, but this does not have all of my edits.

I've checked "My Documents" and "Downloads", but it's not in either. I've also searched my hard drive for *.xls* and *xls*, but it's not showing up. I've searched my hard drive for *, and this also turns up nothing.

Interestingly, however, when I do the same thing (open an Excel spreadsheet from Gmail) with another e-mail and then search for * while the document is still open, it does not show up. It's almost as though the document is stuck in an Internet Explorer cache as part of the program and is not actually present on the hard drive.

When you said to look in Application Data, I became hopeful because I had not looked there before (other than with the global hard drive search), but it doesn't seem to be there either.

Curious if someone can try to recreate what I experience when I "Open" a document as described above and see if the document is present on their hard drive (with same IE9 and Windows 7 setup).

Thanks again for the suggestions.


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June 18, 2011 at 12:27:41
Did you actually click on the Save button, or just an automatic backup?

The directory I suggested:

C:\Documents and Settings\[User]\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\

is the default AutoRecover location, if you have your system set up to create a backup copy this is where it will go.

Make sure you check all the User directories. It may have defaulted to Owner and may not be under your User name.

It could also be in a Hidden directory.

I do not know how it works on Win 7 but on XP

Go to My Computer
Click the Tools menu
Choose Folder Options. 
Click on the View Tab
Put a check where it says, "Show hidden files and folders"
and uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types"
and uncheck "Hide protected operating system files". 

Now try a search for the missing file.



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Related Solutions

June 18, 2011 at 13:48:24
You might also want to look in:

C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\temp\

This is a Hidden Folder.

And it may not have a .xls fine extension, Excel creates a randomly named temporary file (for example, Cedd4100 with no file name extension).



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June 19, 2011 at 17:02:29
Mike - thanks for all your assistance and suggestions.

On Windows 7, there is no Documents and Settings folder (although there are sure to be equivalents).

Also, in IE9, the options are, among others, "Open" and "Save and Open". If I search my C drive for * (which should show me all files on the hard drive) and I "Open" one of the files from Gmail, then don't see any new files on the C drive when I refresh. Even if I hit Ctrl-S after using "Open", nothing shows up on the C drive. It's not even that there are no new .xls or .xlsx files on my C drive after I use "Open", but there are no new files with a recent timestamp and of a similar size to the Excel file - all I'm getting are log and CrashPlan files.

I've also tried to recover through CrashPlan, but this isn't bearing any fruit. I think I'll just have to recreate the edits I made before shutting down the other day.

If I "Save and Open", then the file shows up in the Downloads directory (without a prompt or any notification) - guess the lesson is that I should just use this from now on.

Thanks again for your help.


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June 19, 2011 at 17:24:10
Open the original document from your email.

Within Excel, choose File...Save As.

It should open a Save As window with the location where it wants to save the file to, the same location where your "edited" file should be.

I've got Thunderbird on my home machine and it's set to save files to my Desktop, however, when I use Outlook at work it wants to save files to some temp directory buried deep in my machine someplace.

Whenever I "lose" a file like you did, I chose Save As and follow that path to the file I'm looking for.

Click Here Before Posting Data or VBA Code ---> How To Post Data or Code.

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June 19, 2011 at 17:39:19

Many thanks. Yes, you would think that should work (and just tried)... However, after I "Opened" the document from Gmail and had it in Excel, I clicked "Save As", and it showed me the "My Documents" folder, which was empty (except for folders). It does not even contain the document that I just "Opened" from Gmail, let alone the document that I was editing a couple days prior.

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