How to Restore Overwritten Document (Excel, Word, PPT) Files

4 min read

Have you ever experienced a thesis file or the result of working for hours suddenly being overwritten by another file???? I get it, it really sucks!

It usually happens when we put another file with the same name in one folder, be it an Excel, Word, or PPT document, then we accidentally press replace. Of course, this can be an unfortunate thing to panic, especially if we are being chased by a deadline. It’s a bother!

On this occasion, Teknosentrik will try to give some tips to restore files that have been overwritten in Windows. Hope this helps all of you who are having this problem.

How to recover overwritten Excel, Word, PPT files

1. Using temp files

The first way we can do is to use temp files. This file will usually be automatically generated by Windows every time we work using office applications such as Excel, Word, and Power Point. The point is as auto saving and backup.

For users of Windows 7 and below, the location of the office temp files is in the directory:

C:\Users\name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\
C:\Users\name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word\
C:\Users\name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\PowerPoint\ 

Note: replace “name” with the username on your PC.

For Windows 8 and 10 users, the location of the office temp files is in the directory:

C:\Users\Baron\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

For Windows 7 and below: note there will be files whose names start with $ or ~ characters and end with .tmp extension

For Windows 8 and 10, pay attention to the file with the name:

  • file-name((Unsaved-307399192289258060)).xlsb > Excel file
  • file-name((Unsaved-307401881507278352)).asd > Word file
how to restore overwritten word and excel files

So, those are temporary files from office applications that we can still use to restore old files that have been hit. The file is the result of the auto saving feature in Office.

How to return it:

For users of Windows 7 and below, we just need to copy-paste the temp file to another directory, don’t forget to select the file with the most recent save time.

After that change the file extension from .tmp to docx, xlsx, or ppt according to the file type. We can use the file again as a normal file.

For Windows 10 and 8 users, we just need to open the file and then Save As to another directory. Office applications can detect these temp files automatically, so you just need to double-click to open them.

2. Using the Roll back feature from previous version

The way to restore the Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files that were overwritten in the second Windows is to take advantage of the “Roll back to previous version” feature in Windows.

This feature is a built-in feature in Windows that allows us to restore files that were accidentally overwritten by other files.

But in order to take advantage of this feature we must activate it first before the file is overwritten, not after. If it has not been activated, it cannot be used.

To activate it, follow these steps:

1. Go to the Settings menu > Update Update & Security > Backup

2. Add the drive as a backup file storage location (previous version)

How to click on Add device> select the desired drive. It is recommended to use a new drive (hard disk) or one that is dedicated to backups, so the files are not mixed with other files.

How to restore files to replace 5

3. Done. We have successfully activated the Roll back to previous version feature

After the Backup feature is active, all files that are deleted, overwritten by replace, or corrupt due to a virus will be stored in the backup version on the drive. We can return it whenever we need.

How to restore overwritten Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files with the Roll back to previous versions feature:

Right click on the file > Properties > Previous Versions > Select the version you want to restore > Restore > OK

restore overwritten word and excel files without application

If you want to restore deleted files in a certain directory/folder, you can also do the same:

Right click on the folder > Properties > Previous Versions > Choose a version > Restore

But again, you have to remember, this method can only work if the feature is activated before the file is overwritten, not after.

3. Using recovery apps

To restore a document file that was overwritten in Windows, we need the help of a recovery application. My recommendation is Recuva which can be obtained for free here:

Follow these steps.

1. Download and install the Recuva application from the link above

2. Open Windows Explorer > navigate to the directory or folder where the overwritten Excel, Word, or PPT file

Once installed, just close the Recuva application. Then we open Windows Explorer and go to the directory or folder where the Excel, Word, or PPT files are overwritten.

4. Right click on the folder > Scan for deleted files

If the overwritten file is in a folder, right-click the folder and select Scan for deleted files in the context menu.

How to restore overwritten word and excel files on windows

4. Wait until the Recuva application detects all files that can be restored

5. Select the files you want to recover > Recover

After the scan process is complete, there will appear some files that we have deleted or replaced. To restore it, just tick the desired file and then click Recover.

how to recover overwritten excel and word files

In the example above, I happened to only find 1 file that was overwritten because the folder contained only 1 file as an example.

But you may find lots of files detected by the Recuva application, including old files that have been deleted. To be able to select files quickly, you can use the search feature next to the scan button.

4. Take advantage of the AutoSave to Onedrive feature for Office 365 users

For those of you who use Office 365, the actual problem of overwritten files can actually be solved easily. We can take advantage of the AutoSave feature in Office so that our work documents are automatically saved to OneDrive every time there is a change.

We can use this method to restore Excel, Word, or Power Point files that have been overwritten. So we already have a backup file on Ondrive which is updated regularly as long as we work, and if the file on our local hard disk is deleted or overwritten, we just need to take the backup file from OneDrive.

To activate this feature, all we have to do is click the AutoSave button in the upper left corner:

how to restore excel and word files from microsoft office

Select the OneDrive account that is connected to our Windows, if there isn’t one, connect it first. After that name the document > Ok.

how to restore overwritten excel and word files on windows 10

The document file will be uploaded to Onedrive. Then we can work as usual. To save a copy of the document to our local hard disk, just select File > Save a Copy.

If we continue to work from local files, don’t forget to turn on the AutoSave option again so that a copy is also stored in OneDrive. So later on in OneDrive there will be versions of the document from time to time which can be useful as a backup (you’ll figure it out for yourself once you try it).

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