I Saved My Paper - Now I Can't Find It Anywhere!

Copyright iStockphoto.com / Yvonne Chamberlain
Copyright iStockphoto.com / Yvonne Chamberlain. Copyright iStockphoto.com / Yvonne Chamberlain

The Temporary Folder Strikes Again!

Update to this post: Microsoft Word has published excellent advice for finding lost documents here.

The temporary folder is a directory were many computer programs automatically store files that you download, or those that you open from email attachments. It's very likely that this folder has caused more lost homework and more headaches than any other computer feature or component.

The reason this folder is so troublesome is because it stores your downloaded files in a place that is really tough to find again. Here's an example of how the temporary seems to "eat" your homework assignments:

You work for hours on your research paper at school and decide to finish it up at home. Naturally, you email the file to your own account so you can open it from any computer without having to carry around a flash drive. When you get home, you open your paper and give it the finishing touches. You decide to print it out in the morning, so you hit the "save" command, close the word processor, and go to bed.

The next morning your paper is nowhere to be found. You know you saved it, but it doesn't show up in your list of recent work or in any directory. Panic time!

By hitting the "save" command, you have inadvertently saved your work in the temporary folder. To find it again, you have to access the folder again, or find the temporary folder's path--but that's not so easy to do.

You can get into the folder by going back to the email and opening the original attachment again. Once your paper pops up on the screen, go to "open" as if you want to open a second file.

Your computer should show you all the files in the folder you're currently working from--and that should be the temporary file.

You will find the updated version in the list. If you're using Microsoft Word, both files (original and updated) will be saved with the same name, but they will be numbered. The most recent file will be the updated version. You're saved!

On later versions of Microsoft Office (Windows 8 etc.), finding documents is easy. By simply scrolling to the right of the screen a list will appear: search, share, start, devices and settings. Select the search option and type in "temp." A list of files will appear in date order of files that have been saved in the temporary file system. 

Microsoft offer numerous help and support sites, but is is important to find the official site when doing a Google search, for instance. In addition, before searching, be sure of the operating system your PC is using, however a word of caution. As when surfing any sites, be sure before clicking a dialog box or link. Currently, Microsoft are offering the Windows 10 system free of charge on many of their sites. However, this operating system is not compatible with a number of older popular programs (Quick Books, for instance). 

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Fleming, Grace. "I Saved My Paper - Now I Can't Find It Anywhere!" ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/i-saved-my-paper-now-i-cant-find-it-anywhere-3974544. Fleming, Grace. (2017, March 3). I Saved My Paper - Now I Can't Find It Anywhere! Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/i-saved-my-paper-now-i-cant-find-it-anywhere-3974544 Fleming, Grace. "I Saved My Paper - Now I Can't Find It Anywhere!" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/i-saved-my-paper-now-i-cant-find-it-anywhere-3974544 (accessed January 18, 2018).