How to Recover Overwritten Files on Windows/Mac

Last Updated on January 13, 2023 by Ian McEwan

Oops! Your Files Got Overwritten

With the latest advancements in technology and computing, computers have been designed to perform tasks faster and more efficiently than before.

Gone are the days when you could copy or move a single file for hours. However, enhanced computer speeds have not come without downsides. A common nightmare that many computer users encounter is overwriting essential files.

Both Windows and Mac operating systems are designed to warn you when you are copying/moving files into a location containing files with similar names.

However, in the current busy world, you do not stop to think about it. It later dawns on you that you have just replaced an important old file with a new file. You shout out cursing words, but that does not help you to recover overwritten files.

recover overwritten file

The article comes as hope at the end of your desperation tunnel to help you to recover your crucial overwritten files/documents with ease.



Recover Overwritten Files on Windows

When you replace a file or document in a specific folder, the old file does not go to the recycle bin of your computer. If the old file were a word document, the content of the new document overrides that of the old document. However, if the old file was a movie, for example, the new movie file will replace the old one. You can use the following techniques to recover overwritten files in Windows:

The Previous Version Option

For you are a user of Windows 10/8/7 and have also created a restore point before, then using Previous Version can be an easy way to recover overwritten files.

Follow the easy-to-follow tips outlined below, and Windows will check your restore point/file history and get the overwritten files back.

Step 1- Open the folder that had your old files.

Step 2- Click on a blank space in the folder and click on properties.

Step 3- Navigate to the Previous Versions tab.

Step 4- Browse through the file versions listed.

Step 5- When you identify the file that you want to restore, click Copy.

Step 6- Click on the Restore option at the lower section of the window and tap OK. Clicking OK restores your old file to its original location.

Tips: Don’t try to use System Restore to recover overwritten files  

Some post may try to convince you to use System Restore to recover overwritten files. However, it doesn’t work. Because System Restore is meant to fix certain kinds of system crashes and other problems, rather than saving old versions of your personal files. So, don’t count on System Restore when recovering your overwritten files.


Recover Overwritten Files on Mac Time Machine

To retrieve overwritten files on Mac, use the Time Machine. The Time Machine is a powerful tool that is integrated into the Mac operating system. However, for the recovery process to be successful, you should have turned the Time Machine feature on before the accidental overwriting.

Step 1- Enter Time Machine

Launch the Time Machine through the shortcut on the menu bar. In case you Time Machine is not present on the menu bar, Go to System Preferences, click on Time Machine and click on Show Time Machine in the menu bar.

Step 2- Locate your overwritten file

After launching the Time Machine, locate the folder which had your old files.

Opening that folder will bring a dial option beside your finder windows. Scroll back through time until you see the file that you want to retrieve.

Step 3- Preview before restoration

At this point, you can preview your files to verify the exact file that you want to restore.

Step 4- Restore

After locating the exact file you want to restore, click on it, and hit the Restore option. Clicking on Restore will return your old file to its original location. In case you had overwritten several files, you can hold down the command option, select all the files, and hit Restore to retrieve them.


The Easiest Way to Recover Overwritten Files Using Third-Party Tools on Wins and Mac

However, the above two techniques might fail to work because of several reasons. You might fail to find previous versions of your file on Windows. Or, it might not be possible for you to retrieve your files from the Time Machine in case you had turned it off before losing your file(s). There is still hope for you because there are powerful third-party recovery tools which will help you recover your files.


Overwritten File Recovery on Windows

There are many efficient data recovery programs for Windows, and Aiseesoft Data  Recovery program is one of them.

Step 1- Install Aiseesoft Data  Recovery on your computer and launch it.
Win Download Win Download

Step 2- Select the location that contained your lost files.Data Recovery - Choose Document to Scan

Step 3- Click on the Scan option to initiate the scanning process.Data Recovery - Quick Scan

Step 4- After scanning, the recovery tool will display scan results for you.

Step 5- Preview the recovered files and identify the file(s) that you want to restore.

Step 6- Select the file(s) and click on Recover. In consequence, the tool will bring back all your lost files.


Overwritten File Recovery On Mac

Aiseesoft Mac Data Recovery is a powerful Mac data recovery software which can help you retrieve your files with ease as explained below:

Step 1- Install Aiseesoft Mac Data Recovery on your Mac and launch it.

Win Download
Mac Download
Win Download
Mac Download

Step 2- Specify the partition that contained your lost old file(s).

Step 3- Click on Scan to initialize the scanning process.

Step 4- Give the recovery software time to scan your disk for the lost files.

Step 5- Browse through the recovered files, check the boxes beside them to select multiple files and tap on Recover. Your lost files will be retrieved.


One Last Thing: Tips for Recovering overwritten files

As has been mentioned above, the above procedures are essential at helping you recover overwritten and lost files easily. In addition, the methods are crucial at minimizing the panic that results when you accidentally lose essential files. And to avoid the same thing happening again, here are some useful tips for you.

  • Do not save the recovered file to the same directory.
  • Enable the Time Machine or back up your file regularly.
  • Do not use some random third-party software to partition your hard drive or delete files.
  • Once your file got overwritten, try not to use the hard drive as much as possible, and perform file recovery with the methods mentioned above.