Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Changing an Invalid Autosave Folder.

Changing an Invalid Autosave Folder

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 23, 2019)

Michael's laptop used to be connected to a business LAN and he used mapped drives (O:, P:, etc.) for file saves. He is no longer on the network, and Excel has remembered a P:\Autosave folder destination for Autosave, which is no longer valid. Michael can't pull up the dialog box to change the file location, as he gets an error message every time saying, "Can't access directory P:\Autosave". Michael wonders if there is another way to modify his Autosave folder location.

There are several ways you can go about trying to change this. One method is to simply "map" another drive so that the operating system directs any request for drive P: to that drive. There are various methods to do this, such as using the SUBST command. This is an old DOS command that allows a folder (such as C:\MyFolder\MyTemp or some other name) to be "substituted" for a drive letter. Just create the temporary folder and then use the following at the command prompt:

subst P: c:\myfolder\mytemp

You can then access the P: drive (which is really the folder), create the Autosave folder within it, start Excel, make your folder change, and exit Excel. When you want to get rid of the mapping, use the following at the command prompt:

subst P: /d

You can then get rid of the temporary folders you created. Another way to accomplish the same result is to use the NET USE command. Create the temporary folders, as described above, and then share them on your network. (Right-click the folder in a Windows Explorer window and specify it should be shared.) You can then map the drive by using the following at the command line:

net use P: \\ComputerName\ShareName

In this instance you need to replace "ComputerName" with the name of your computer and "ShareName" with the name under which you shared the folder. After the command is successfully used, then all references to P: will redirect to the shared folder. When you are done making the changes you need, use the following command-line command to get rid of the share:

net use P: /delete

You could also try to map a drive by using a USB drive. Use the disk management tools in the Control Panel to change the drive letter of the USB drive to P:. Once this is done you can easily change the Autosave directory in Excel.

If you don't want to take the route of mapping a new drive, you can always try to edit the Registry. Try examining the data in the following key to see if you can locate the folder designation:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Options

You'll need to change the key name depending on your version of Excel; this example is for Excel 2016 and later versions. All you need to do is change the "16.0" portion to reflect the version you are using. (Look for the AutoRecoverPath key.) If you locate the path to the Autosave folder in the key, simply delete it or change it to point to an available path.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12813) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Changing an Invalid Autosave Folder.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding Automatic Lines

Want an easy way to add lines in your document? You can do it by making sure Word is using one of its AutoFormat features.

Discover More

Changing a Shape

Need to change a shape you previously added to your worksheet? It's easy to do using the graphics tools provided by ...

Discover More

Pulling Text from a Cell and Placing It in a Shape

Graphic shapes you add to your worksheet can easily contain textâ€"just click on the shape and start typing away. You may ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Slash Key No Longer Works as Expected

Press the slash key and Excel may display a series of keyboard commands near the ribbon. If this behavior drives you ...

Discover More

Setting the Calculation Default

Excel can recalculate your worksheets either automatically or manually. The default is to calculate them automatically, ...

Discover More

Understanding Manual Calculation

When you make changes in a worksheet, Excel automatically recalculates everything that may be affected by that change. If ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two minus 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.