[AutoCAD Recovery] 4 Methods to Recover AutoCAD file after a Crash/Power Outage/Deletion, etc.

Last Updated on December 8, 2020 by Ian McEwan

One of the most effective ways to create digital designs is by using AutoCAD. Professionals such as engineers, urban planners, project managers, graphic designers, and architects use this software. While editing your graphics rendering, you might delete it by mistake, or other reason will cause the failure of opening the drawings. Should this happen, there’s no need to worry. Here you will learn how to recover AutoCAD files which are lost/deleted/corrupted/damaged.

recover autocad file

AutoCAD File Error You may run into

  • “Drawing file invalid”
  • Drawing file fails to open/corrupted
  • “cannot open file, please try to upload again”
  • Drawing files created in earlier version can’t be open
  • Reading Handle 171763 Object type AcDbHatch. Error 13 (eUnknown handle) object discarded


Causes of AutoCAD File Loss/Fail to Open/Corrupt

Aside from accidental deletion, there are a number of reasons that may lead to loss of your AutoCAD files. They include the following.

a) System failures and virus infections

b) Crashing of your computer

c) Accidentally deleting your files or emptying the recycle bin

d) Removing external drives incorrectly while saving AutoCAD files to the computer.

e) Bad sectors on the hard drive or other computer hardware problems

f) Power failures or surges

g) Software problems

h) User mistakes




Method 1 (The All-In-One Solution). Recover AutoCAD file with AutoCAD Recovery

Using AutoCAD data recovery software is definitely the most efficient method you can use to recover AutoCAD files.

And one of the best AutoCAD data recoveries is Aiseesoft Data Recovery, which can help you recover AutoCAD file in any situation, no matter it was deleted/corrupted/unsaved/formatted or just got lost due to system crash/ virus attack/ Power Outage.

Also, Aiseesoft Data Recovery can help you recover more than 300 kinds of documents and files from your memory card, hard drive, USB flash drive, and other removable disks and drives.

Win DownloadMac DownloadWin DownloadMac Download

Let’s look at the process of recovering your AutoCAD Drawing files using Aiseesoft Data Recovery software in steps.

  • Download and install the software on your laptop or desktop. Start the application and follow the process below.
  • After running the software, it will display all the drives available on the computer and file types can be recovered.Data Recovery - Select All Scan
  • To recover YOUR lost/deleted AutoCAD files, identify and select a specific location and file type. In this case, check Image, Document, and Others, then select the drive that contains the file you want to retrieve and click “Scan”.Data Recovery - Quick Scan
  • After scanning your computer hard drive, the application is able to display all the deleted or lost files. From here, choose the files that you want to retrieve.
  • You can also click Deep Scan to give your hard drive a more thorough scan to find any AutoCAD .dwg files.Data Recovery - Deep Scan

Although deep scan will take more time and you can recover your desired drawing when the AutoCAD files start showing up during the scan process, it is wise to wait until the deep scanning process is complete.

  • After the scanning process, use Filter feature and search bar to quickly locate the AutoCAD .dwg files you want to recover.
  • Go through the drawing files, click “Recover” and save them to your preferred location.


Method 2. How to Restore AutoCAD Files Using the Drawing Recovery Manager after a Program Crash/ System Failure

Drawing Recovery Manager was originally introduced in AutoCAD 2006.

Drawing Recovery

Since then, every time your AutoCAD crash or system failure occurs, the Drawing Recovery Manager will open the next time you start AutoCAD.

It will display a list of all the drawings which were active when the program fails, alongside with the associated Backup (.bak) Files and Automatic Save (.sv$) Files.

Drawing Recovery Manager interface

According to the level of the drawing node, you can double-click the drawing you want to recover to open in that interface under Backup Files. Also, those corrupted/damaged drawings will be repaired automatically in this step.

If the Drawing Recovery Manager does not show up, you can manually open it by clicking Application menu >Drawing Utilities > Open the Drawing Recovery Manager

Note: Recovering AutoCAD files with Drawing Recovery Manager will only work with those files which were saved before. Drawing Recovery Manager will not track those unsaved drawing files when the program crash.


Method 3. AutoCAD Drawing files Recovery with Automatic Save (.sv$) Files/ Backup (.bak) Files after AutoCAD crash

To cut a long story short, you can recover AutoCAD files by simply renaming the.sv$ /.bak extension to .dwg and opening the renamed file in AutoCAD, if AutoCAD crashes or is otherwise abnormally terminated during a session.

But it only works if you have and able to locate the Automatic Save (.sv$) Files/ Backup (.bak) Files.

Step 1 Find the Automatic Save (.sv$) Files/ Backup (.bak) Files

-Location of AutoCAD autosave files

For Windows user, you can launch the AutoCAD application, go to tools then to Options. Under Options, proceed to the “files” tab. There, click on Automatic Save File Location and check the location of the autosave files. Or you can use the SAVEFILEPATH variable.

autosave file location

Normally, the program will save “sv$” files in “C:\Users\ (your user name) \AppData\Local\Temp“.

For Mac user, you can simply found this under the Application tab in Preferences.

-Location of AutoCAD Drawing backup files

The file is saved in the same location as the original .dwg file by default, with the same name and a .bak extension.

Step 2 Change the file extension

Once you navigate to the folder, search for your CAD file by name though it will be of different extension. It will be either BAK or SV$. Check the modified dates of the files, and if they go in line with the deleted or lost CAD file, change the file extension from BAK or SV$ to .dwg.

Step 3 Open the file in AutoCAD and save it to your desired location


You may also need to know

According to  knowledge.autodesk.com.

“…backup files are always one version older than the currently saved drawing…” “The autosave file will contain all drawing information as of the last time autosave ran.”

So, if you want to get back your work after the last QSAVE, SAVE, SAVEAS or autosave, you should turn to Method 1 rather than Method 3.


Method 4. Recovery AutoCAD file by Using RECOVER Command

This is another easy method you can use to recover your AutoCAD files. Launch a new drawing and choose File. Proceed to select drawing utilities and then select “recover”. Afterward, select the image from the dialog box and then click OK.


How to Prevent Loss of AutoCAD Files. 

  • Back up the important AutoCAD files to an external device on a regular basis.
  • Enable AutoSave and set the automatic save interval to 10 minutes.
  • Drawing Recovery Manager interface
  • Change your computer if possible after a data loss issue.
  • To prevent overwriting, avoid saving your retrieved files on the same location you are recovering them from.
  • Make sure you save your AutoCAD files before closing the AutoCAD software.
  • Avoid improper termination of your AutoCAD application.
  • Always ensure that your computer will not abruptly shut down when you are accessing your AutoCAD files.
  • Always use healthy and updated anti-virus software on your computer or laptop.


FAQ About AutoCAD Recovery


Q: Does .DMP file which was created from AutoCAD Crash contains all my drawing info and can it be recovered from AutoCAD environment?

A: No. DMP only shows the process log. It cannot be used to recover your AutoCAD drawings back.


Q: Can Temporary (.ac$) Files be used to recover AutoCAD drawing file?

A: No, according to the knowledge.autodesk.com. “Temporary (.ac$) Files only exist during an AutoCAD session…” “.ac$ file contains information that is used by various AutoCAD commands, such as UNDO,…” Although some .ac$ files are left behind after AutoCAD crashes or is abnormally terminated, you cannot recover AutoCAD drawing file with it, because Temporary (.ac$) Files “do not contain any drawing data that can be recovered.


Q: What is the different between .bak files, .sv$ files and .ac$ files?


Backup (.bak) Files

These are files which are designed to facilitate a backup. Every time that the software automatically saves your AutoCAD project, the .bak file is created. According to default settings, it is stored in the same location as your drawing .dwg file. It also has the same name as your drawing. However, the file extension is different. It is an exact copy of your AutoCAD project. Therefore, you can use it to get back an accidentally deleted image. Simply find the .bak file and change its extension to .dwg. After that, open up the file in Aut0CAD and you will have restored your deleted project. For you to use the .bak file, your software needs to have the SAVEBACK set to 1.

Automatic Save (.sv$) Files

This is an AutoCAD file which saves your work automatically. This software has an Autosave feature turned on by default. If your drawing is modified in any way since its last save, the Autosave feature keeps track and stores a backup. If you should lose a drawing accidentally, you can retrieve it through the .sy$ file. Simply begin by locating it In Windows, this file is located in a folder named Automatic Save File Location. In Mac, this file is found in a folder known as Autosave. After you locate the autosave file, change its extension from .sy$ to .dwg. After that, open the file in AutoCAD. This will restore your image.

Temporary (.ac$) Files

This type of file is essentially a temporary file for AutoCAD. It has a .ac$ extension. This file stores all the settings and edits which you make while creating an AutoCAD drawing. It also facilitates commands such as UNDO. If you lose a drawing due to an abnormal incident such as a crash or unwanted termination, you need this file to get the project back. As you pursue the .bak or .sy$ method, make sure that the.ac$ file is intact. This way, you can be sure that the project will be restored in the form that you had set. Furthermore, your progress will be intact.