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If Emacs crashes, how can I recover the file I was editing?

By default, Emacs frequently saves the current buffer automatically into a temporary file called: #myfile#

myfile is the name of the file in the buffer. If you lose your connection or if Emacs itself crashes, you will probably be able to get back most of your work. To do so:

  1. Use Emacs to open the file you were working on when Emacs crashed. At the bottom of the screen, the following message will probably appear: Auto save file is newer; consider M-x recover-file
  2. This indicates that Emacs has an autosaved file that you can recover. To recover the file, enter: M-x recover-file
  3. At the bottom of the screen, something like the following will appear: Recover file: ~/myfile myfile is the name of the file you are working on.

  4. Press the Enter key. Then Emacs will split the screen. In the bottom screen you will see something like the following: -rw------- 1 jdoe iago 939 Apr 24 19:44 /home/u1/jdoe/#myfile# -rw------- 1 jdoe iago 551 Apr 24 19:33 /home/u1/jdoe/myfile At the bottom of the screen will be the following message: Recover auto save file /home/u1/jdoe/#myfile#? (yes or no)
  5. Enter yes , and Emacs will read in the autosaved file.

Note: If you start Emacs without giving it a filename, you will be working in the temporary "scratch" buffer. In this case, to recover your work, try entering: M-x recover-session

Note: If you aren't sure how to enter these commands in Emacs, see In Emacs, how are keystrokes denoted?

At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see At IU, how do I get support for Linux or Unix?

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Last modified on May 13, 2009.

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