Full Guide to Recover Files After Unexpected Shutdown

How to recover files after unexpected shutdown? This article provides 2 ways to recover files after unexpected shutdown. Learn the reasons why computer shuts down unexpectedly and get 4 fixes.


By Lori / Updated on June 28, 2024

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Can You Recover Files After Shutdown?

“I was working on an important document when suddenly, without warning, my computer shut down. I wondered if the hours of my hard-earned time were gone forever. How to recover files after unexpected shutdown? Thank you so much!”

Did your computer shut down unexpectedly, leaving your documents unsaved or files stored on your computer's hard drive lost? An unexpected shutdown can be a nightmare, especially when important files are at risk. An unexpected shutdown can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a power failure, system crash, or hardware problem.

But don't worry! It is possible to recover files after unexpected shutdown. This guide will provide 2 effective ways to recover files and minimize the damage after an unexpected shutdown. In addition, you'll learn about common causes of unexpected shutdowns and get 4 ways to fix an unexpected computer shutdown. Are you ready?

How to Recover Files After Unexpected Shutdown (2 Ways)

If your system or computer suddenly shuts down for any reason. First try to restart the system, in most cases, the files will reside in your system. Just launch the file explorer and search for the files. Or, if you have a backup of the lost files, you can directly restore files from backups. If them don’t work, Here are 2 proven methods to recover data after unexpected shutdown efficiently.

⚠ Note:

  • We always strongly recommend to regularly backup important files and folders and save them on any cloud and other external storage devices. Protect your data in advance with this free backup software for Windows like AOMEI Backupper Standard.
  • Before taking steps to restore files after unexpected shutdown, stop creating or deleting files in your computer. Otherwise, your lost files may be overwritten and thus unrecoverable.

1. Recover Files After Unexpected Shutdown via MyRecover

When your computer shuts down unexpectedly and you cannot access your data. The most effective way is to try using a free data recovery software. Here I highly recommend MyRecover, which is a professional and reliable data recovery software. It can recover deleted or lost data in various data loss situations.

In addition, if the computer crashes and cannot be started, MyRecover can also help you recover data. It will create bootable media and access the system and perform computer crash recovery.

Here are the key features of MyRecover.


Recover unsaved word document, Excel, PPT, PDF, PPTX, MP4, ODP, CSV, WPS files, and other 200+ file formats with 3 simple clicks.

Recover data lost due to various reasons such as accidental deletion, virus infection, system crash, etc.

It automatically performs both quick scan & deep scan to recover all lost or deleted files and keep their original filename, directory, path, and quality.

MyRecover supports recover deleted files from USB, internal/external hard disk, SSD, memory card, and other storage devices.

It is compatible with all Windows OS, including Windows 7, 8/8.1, 10, 11, and Windows Server.

You can use this free edition to recover lost files up to 500MB at no cost. Now, download MyRecover to recover files after unexpected shutdown as soon as possible! Keep your data safe and get it back!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Run MyRecover and scan the target partition/drive

Open MyRecover and hover over the drive containing lost data and click Scan to fully scan the selected drive.

Select Partition to Scan

Step 2. Preview found files

Quick Scan and Deep Scan will find all your lost or deleted files. You can preview different file formats such as jpg, png, bmp, jpeg, tif, svg, gif, ico, etc. to make sure they are the files you want.

Filter Search MP3

🤞 Tip: Also, you can filter data to locate the desired files faster. Here are 3 options.

  • Type: Select the file type (Videos, Documents, Images, Audios, Mails, Webpages, Compressed files, etc.)
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, 512MB above, etc.)

Step 3. Recover and save all needed data

Select the data you want to recover and click Recover X Files. Please save them to a new location, as selecting the original location may overwrite the old data and make it irrecoverable.

Recover MP3 Files

🤞 Tips:

  • MyRecover can help you recover data after unexpected shutdown without damaging the original data. If you wish to recover more than 500MB of files, you can try to upgrade to MyRecover Pro/Tech.
  • In addition, if you are unable to restart your computer after an unexpected shutdown, the Pro/Tech version allows you to make a bootable data recovery disk and then recover data when PC won't boot.

2. Recover Unsaved Data After Unexpected Shutdown

If your computer shuts down unexpectedly while using Windows Word/Excel/PowerPoint or other programs like Photoshop, you can try to recover unsaved and lost document using the AutoSave feature. Here is a step-by-step method to recover unsaved Word document:

Step 1. Launch the unsaved Word document. Click File > Open > Recent > Documents and select Recover Unsaved Document.

Word Recover Unsaved Document

Step 2. It will redirect you to the UnsavedFiles folder. Select the unsaved Word document and click Open.

Open Unsaved Documents

Step 3. Click File > Save As > Browse and choose a new location to save the Word document.

🤞 Tips:

  • PowerPoint and Excel also include the AutoRecover feature. So, you can easily recover unsaved Excel files as well as PowerPoint files using it.
  • It is recommended to manually save files frequently using the Save icon or Ctrl + S keys, and not to rely too much on the AutoRecover feature.

How to Fix Computer Unexpected Shutdown (4 Fixes)

Unexpected shutdowns not only disrupt your workflow but can also signal deeper issues. It's essential to address the problem after recovering data from crashed hard drive/computer. Here are 4 practical methods to fix unexpected shutdowns.

Fix 1. Turn Off Fast Startup

Although Fast Startup helps your computer boot up faster, it may cause random shutdowns. Here's how to turn off this feature in Windows 10:

Step 1. Press Win and search for the Control Panel. Launch it. Select Power Options.

Control Panel Power Options

Step 1. Click " Choose what the power button does".

Choose What Power Button Does

Step 1. Click "Change settings that are currently unavailable".

Change Settings Currently Unavailable

Step 1. Uncheck "Turn on fast startup (recommended)" and click "Save changes".

Uncheck Turn on Fast Startup

Fix 2. Scan for Viruses

Unexpected shutdowns can result from virus attacks. Use Windows Security (Windows Defender) or a third-party antivirus program to scan your system.

Step 1. Press Win, search for "Windows Security", and open it.

Step 2. Switch to the "Virus & Threat Protection" tab and click on "Scan Options".

Scan Options

Step 3. Choose "Full scan" and click "Scan now". This process may take several hours, so be patient.

Full Scan Scan Now

Fix 3. Run System File Checker (SFC)

The System File Checker (SFC) is a built-in Windows utility that scans and repairs corrupted files. It can help prevent unexpected shutdowns. Here's how to use it:

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box and choose Run as administrator.

Step 2. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter. It will scan all the corrupted system files and replaces them. Then, restart your computer.

SFC Scannow

Fix 4. Update Drivers and GPU Driver

How to fix Windows unexpected shutdown? Outdated drivers could be the culprit behind random shutdowns. Regularly updating your drivers in Device Manager can solve this issue.

Step 1. Press the "Win + X" to open Device Manager > right-click your clicking hard drive and select "Properties" > Switch to the Details tab, choose "Hardware Ids" and click "OK".

Choose Details Hardware Ids

Step 2. Copy the first result, paste it into your browser, and search for it. The top search results will show the exact name and manufacturer of your GPU.

Step 3. Visit the GPU manufacturer's website and download the updated driver. Then, install the driver and restart your computer.

🤞 Tip: If you can't find the official website of your GPU manufacturer, search for the GPU name with the prefix “driver update for” (e.g., driver update for Intel(R) HD Graphics 520 drivers).

Why Do Unexpected Shutdowns Occur?

Understanding why does your computer shuts down unexpectedly is crucial for data recovery, computer fix, and prevention. Here are 4 common causes.

Cause 1️⃣: Computer Overheating

Computers need to maintain a certain temperature to operate properly. If your device exceeds 60℃, it may automatically shut down to protect its components. Laptops are more likely to overheat than desktops due to their compact design.


  • Remove dust: Make sure your computer is free of dust and place it in a well-ventilated area.
  • Maintain fans: Clean and check the fans inside your computer regularly.
  • Reduce workload: Close unnecessary programs and limit resource-intensive tasks.
  • Update software and operating system: Keep software and operating system updated to improve efficiency and speed.

Cause 2️⃣: Hardware Failure

Incompatible or faulty hardware components (such as monitors, network adapters, storage controllers, disk drives, network cards, RAM, video cards, modems, and sound cards) may cause your computer to shut down randomly.


  • Check connections: Make sure all hardware components are securely connected.
  • Update drivers: Download and install the latest drivers and firmware from the manufacturer's website.
  • Replace faulty hardware: Identify and replace any faulty hardware components.

Cause 3️⃣: Driver Issues

Outdated or faulty drivers may cause your computer to shut down unexpectedly. Before uninstalling these drivers, be sure to troubleshoot them individually to avoid further problems.


  • Update drivers: Visit the manufacturer's website or use driver update software to download and install the latest drivers.
  • Roll back drivers: If a recent driver update caused problems, roll back to a previously reliable version.
  • Uninstall problematic drivers: Uninstall the driver that causes ongoing problems, then reinstall the correct version.
  • Control driver updates: Adjust settings to manually control driver updates, as automatic updates can sometimes install incompatible drivers.

Cause 4️⃣: Software Issues

Software issues can cause your computer to shut down suddenly. This includes corrupted or missing system files, problematic applications, junk files, and Windows registry issues. Checking for software updates regularly can help.


  • Use the SFC tool: Run the System File Checker (SFC) in Command Prompt to scan and repair corrupted or missing system files.
  • Disk Cleanup: Use the Disk Cleanup tool or third-party software to remove temporary files, cache, and unnecessary data.
  • Update your operating system: Make sure your operating system is up to date.

5 Useful Tips to Protect Your Data

1️⃣ Save documents regularly: Always save your work frequently.

2️⃣ Save before shutting down: Make sure you save your files before shutting down your computer.

3️⃣ Use a UPS: Consider using an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to provide constant power to your PC.

4️⃣ Disconnect removable drives: Remove any USB flash drives or external drives before shutting down.

5️⃣ Back-up data: Create a file backup regularly to prevent accidental loss.

Closing Words

Now you know how to recover files after unexpected computer shutdown with 2 effective methods. Also included are 4 solutions to fix an unexpected computer shutdown. Whether your computer works fine after restarting or not, you can use MyRecover to rescue your files. Take action now and use it today to enjoy 500MB of free file recovery!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

FAQs About Computer Unexpected Shutdown

1. What does it mean when Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown?

An unexpected shutdown error in Windows is often caused by an incompatible driver. To resolve this, you need to disable the problematic drivers by booting into safe mode. In safe mode, only the essential drivers are loaded.

2. How to find files that were not saved when Windows shut down?

Click the "File" tab > "Info" > "Manage Document". Click "Recover Unsaved Documents". You will see the list of your unsaved files. Select the file and click "Open" > "Save As" to store the file.

3. Can you recover files from a computer that won't turn on?

Yes, you can recover files from a computer that won't turn on. Using data recovery software like MyRecover can help you access and recover data easily.

4. Can unexpected shutdown damage your computer?

Yes, unexpected shutdowns can damage your computer. Hardware can suffer from power cuts, fluctuations, and surges. A high-quality UPS with surge protection can prevent this. Forceful shutdowns can also corrupt the operating system and software. Always close all programs before performing a forced shutdown.

5. How to recover Excel file when computer crashed?

You can recover Excel file after crash. Go to File > Info > Manage Document > Recover Unsaved Workbooks in Excel, or Recover Unsaved Presentations in PowerPoint.

Lori · Editor
Lori has received professional technical training since joining AOMEI and aims to help users troubleshoot problems with data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient, and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.