How to Recover Overwritten Files on Windows & Mac

Have you ever accidentally overwritten a very important file or folder stored on your Windows PC or MacBook? In our daily lives, Word or Excel documents can usually be overwritten by some operating errors. For example, if you save it with the same name, the operating system will replace the old files. But on many occasions, you may want to get the original file back.

If you are facing this problem, there is no need to worry, because there are enough methods of retrieving these files whether they are on Windows or Mac. In this post, we will share with you several effective ways to recover overwritten files, such as Word, Excel, PPT, and other types of files.

How to Recover Overwritten Files on Windows 10/11

Here we will show you various ways to restore overwritten files. You can utilize the built-in tools offered by the Windows system as well as turn to third-party recovering programs.

Recover Replaced Files via a Built-in Tool in Microsoft Office

Now, there are some backup features on lots of office software, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe. Therefore, users can create a backup and always save the files now and then. For example, if you want to retrieve a previous version of a file, you can use AutoRecover in Microsoft Office.

However, since autosave occurs at fixed intervals, it cannot guarantee the retrieval of the most recent version of the documents. If not, you need to try other ways.

autorecover in office

First of all, follow these steps to check whether there are auto-saved copies:

Step 1. Launch Word or Excel on your PC.

Step 2. Click on the “File” button, and then select the “Option” > “Save.”

Step 3. Click the “Browse” option on the right part of the window to select the recoverable files in the auto-recovery folder.

Step 4. Once you have found the files you want to recover, click OK to retrieve overwritten files.

If you haven’t already activated the Autosave function, this post will teach you how to do that: >> How to Enable Autosave in Microsoft Excel

Undelete Overwritten Files from the Previous Version

As we all know, there is a backup and recovery feature called Previous Versions on your Windows. Users can use it to recover files and folders that are lost, deleted, formatted, or damaged due to improper operation.

Therefore, previous versions, as a recovery point, always offer backup files for most data on Windows. If your files are overwritten, use these Previous Versions to bring back your old files.

restore previous versions

Follow the steps below and get your earlier version quickly:

Step 1. Open File Explorer on your Windows 10/11. Then, locate the file you want to restore.

Step 2. Right-click the file and select “Restore previous versions.”

Step 3. In the Properties pop-up window, you will see a list of previous versions in the Previous Version. Select the “Open” button to go through the file to make sure this is the correct version.

Step 4. After checking, select the “Restore to” option and select a location to restore your original files.

Retrieve Overwritten File Using Third-Party Tool

If you can’t recover your overwritten files through Previous Versions, try other reliable and professional data recovery software on the market, such as ONERECOVERY. It supports almost all versions of Windows operating systems and more than 1000 file types, ranging from Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, to PDF, which can help you bring your data easily.

It’s worth noting that this software can ensure the security of your documents. That means the documents will be recovered without losing essential content. And your private information contained in the content will never be disclosed. What’s more, this tool has a rate of successful recovery that is up to 95%.

There is a tutorial that will guide you through restoring overwritten files using ONERECOVERY:

scan result list

Step 1. Download and launch this PC data recovery software.

Step 2. Choose the storage device or location where you lost your data.

Step 3. Now, choose from 2 optional scanning modes, i.e. Quick Scan and Deep Scan.

Step 4. After the scanning, this tool allows you to preview the files in the result list. Then, click on the “Recover” button to retrieve the original files.

How to Restore Overwritten Files on macOS

Some of the mentioned methods are also available on macOS, such as recovering overwritten files using ONERECOVERY. However, you may also want to know if there is any built-in tool on your Mac can help you get the files back. This part will offer two reliable solutions to you so keep reading.

Recover Replaced Files via Time Machine

Time Machine is a program that comes with the macOS, and it will help you a lot in getting the replaced files back. Since this tool supports creating incremental backups, the changes to your files will be captured at regular intervals.

In other words, Time Machine is supposed to keep several versions of files in chronological order. That is why you can restore the original files using this tool. By the way, the interface of Time Machine is very user-friendly and you can preview the snapshots of the versions of files to determine which documents to recover.

recover overwritten file using time machine

Here is the tutorial for recovering your files with Time Machine:

Step 1. Attach the storage device with the Time Machine backup to your device.

Step 2. Open Finder and activate Time Machine. Then, you can quickly navigate to the target date using a visual timeline.

Step 3. Locate the overwritten file and preview it. After confirming it, click on the “Restore” button to get it back.

Step 4. Time Machine will ask if you want to replace the current file or keep both 2 versions, and you can make a choice based on your needs.

Besides the Time Machine, the iCloud is also helpful in retrieving the lost files. Click here to know more: >> How to Retrieve Photos from iCloud

Undelete Overwritten Files with Data Recovery Software

As mentioned above, the all-in-one recovery software ONERECOVERY is also compatible with macOS. As it has a very strong compatibility, this program can run smoothly on many versions of macOS, including macOS Sonoma, Ventura, and Monterey. No matter whether your Mac is equipped with M1, M2, or T2 silicon, this powerful Mac data recovery software will always be available.

One of its advantages is its ease of use. The user-friendly interface enables everyone, even those who don’t have a technical background, to use it effortlessly.

main interface onerecovery

Now, you can follow this tutorial to undelete overwritten files with simple clicks.

Step 1. Launch ONERECOVERY on your Mac.

Step 2. Then, select the folder where the overwritten file was stored and scan it.

Step 3. Preview the files in the scan result list and confirm the files you want to retrieve.

Step 4. Click on the “Recover” button to get back the ones you need.

💡 Related Post: >> Recover Unsaved Excel Files on Mac


All in all, it’s still possible to recover your overwritten documents on Windows. These methods can work well with Word, PPT documents, Excel, and other files. If you have other file problems, we suggest that you download the ONERECOVERY data recovery software on your Windows and Mac, so that you won’t be helpless when you face lost or deleted documents.

FAQs About Retrieving Overwritten Files

After reading the whole post, you may not be very clear about some questions that are related to restoring overwritten files. This part will offer some answers that may be helpful for you.

Why can’t I see other documents in the previous version?

You must ensure that you have enabled the previous version before the overwritten problem occurs. Here you can open Settings on Windows 10 > click Update & Security > click on Backup > click “Add a drive” > select the drive to use as the backup drive.

How to recover a file that was overwritten on the hard drive?

First of all, the most convenient way to retrieve the overwritten files is to restore them from backups. Therefore, you can check if you saved the original document on external drives or cloud services. If there is no available backup, it’s recommended to turn to a desktop data recovery tool, like ONERECOVERY.