How to Recover an Excel File That Was Saved Over

It happens to everyone. You pause to save a file only to realize to your horror that you just saved over the wrong file. Or perhaps you made changes that you wanted to keep, but wanted to save the original file as well. Unfortunately, because you saved over the file (rather than tossing it into the recycle bin), file recovery can a bit more challenging. In fact, it can be very difficult to recover the original file, but there are a few things you can try. First, if the file is still open, you can try clicking the "Undo" option in the Edit menu until it reverts to the version you want. However, if that does not work and you don't have another copy of the file, you can try seeing if the file exists under AutoRecover.

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Using AutoRecover

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Click "Start" and then "Search."

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Select "All Files and Folders" when asked what you want to search for.

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Type in "*.xls" (without the quotation marks) under "All or Part of the File Name."

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Click on the arrow next to "More advanced options" and make sure that the file type reads "All Files and Folders."

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Click the boxes next to "Search System Folders" and "Search Hidden Files."

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Click "Search."

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Look for an earlier version of your file (it should have a similar name). When it appears, open it to see if it is the version you want.