How to restore overwritten files or folders in Windows 7 & 8 ?

This article will help you to recover/restore wrongly overwritten files or folders and also helps you to restore deleted or renamed files or folders using in-built functionality of Microsoft Windows OS

Usually we overwrite files or folders with new ones without backing up the previous files or folders. But while overwriting older files or folders if something goes wrong i.e. overwriting of wrong old important files or folders then it would become matter of concern. Mostly it happened with non-tech users who have no or less knowledge of computers. There are lots of recovery softwares who claim to recover lost data from PC but they are costly and take awful amount of time to recover the lost data and even there is no guarantee that 100% data will be recovered. In this very article I will explain you in-built functionality of Microsoft Windows called Volume shadow copy to recover overwritten files or folder within no time and cost.

What is Volume Shadow Copy?

Microsoft has added in-built functionality called Volume Shadow Copy, from Windows vista edition, which saves a snapshot of old file whenever a file is updated and saved and in case of folder whenever a new file is created or a file stored in that folder is updated and saved. Whenever a file or folder is created on the system, volume shadow copy creates a back up point for that file or folder and creates successive restore points whenever files or folders are modified at later stages. Volume Shadow copy can be called as individual restore point for files and folders unlike traditional system restore point where system has been restored a previous state pertaining to an earlier date. Volume Shadow Copy also helps in restoring deleted or renamed files and folders.
Read more how to Restore Deleted Files in Windows 7

Procedure to recover/restore overwritten files or folders

- Navigate to file or folder which desired to restored back
- Select and perform right click on it
- Now choose the Properties option and navigate to Previous Version tab
- On Previous Version tab you will be presented with various restore points available for that file or folder choose the desired restore point for restoring your file for folder and click restore. You can also click open button to see what you are going to restore.
- In above said procedure overwritten file or folder will be replaced with old file or folder chosen on previous version and in case you want to preserve overwritten file along with old file or folder which you want to restore then you have to click copy button instead of restore button. Once you click the copy button you will be prompted to give the location to save the restored file or folder.

How to restore overwritten files or folders in Windows 7 & 8 ?

With Volume shadow Copy, you can even recover deleted or renamed files or folders.

Procedure for recovering deleted or renamed file or folder is as below

- In order to restore deleted or renamed file or folder you must know where the file or folder was saved
- Navigate to that folder which contained the file or folder which you want to recover
- Select that folder and perform right click on it and navigate to Previous version tab
- Double click on folder appearing on Previous version tab and navigate to desired folder or file which you want to restore and drag it your location or desktop

1) If you can't see previous of files or folders then file or folder has not been changed or restore point has not been made since the file or folder has been changed or see note 2
2) If you have several partition on your hard disk then system protection is enabled by default on primary partition (i.e. on which OS is installed) and for other partitions you have manually enable it.

Procedure to enable System Protection on secondary partitions
- Right click on My Computer
- Navigate to Properties
- Click System Protection link appearing on left side of window
- A small window will be opened there can select the drives for which you want to enable the system protection.

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Guest Author: Jack W03 Feb 2013

I haven't got the previous versions tab? How can I restore an overwritten file?

Author: Abhinav11 Feb 2013 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

Jack, refer this article (, am sure this will help you.

Guest Author: PTpc08 Oct 2013

Abhinav, you need to add an important note to this article. It only applies to Windows 7 - NOT Windows 8. Windows 8 does not have "RPV" (Restore Previous Versions) like Windows 7 did as standard. Windows 8 has File History, but sadly that is not enabled by default, so there is no easy way of recovering an overwritten file in a standard Out-Of-The-Box installation of Windows 8 Pro.

Guest Author: Dave04 Dec 2013

You may refer to this guide that helped me last time

Guest Author: Navnita Jayachandran30 Jan 2015

Hi Abhinav,

Thank you so much for sharing such valuable information with us. It was very much helpful.

Author: faiz14 Nov 2015 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 0

Thanks you very much for the useful guidance on restoring overwritten files.

Guest Author: Razi14 Nov 2015

Thanks a lot for sharing this information. It saved 1 week of my effort.

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