6 Ways to Recover Unsaved, Overwritten or Deleted Excel Files

How to recover unsaved, overwritten, or deleted Excel files? This detailed tutorial offers you 6 methods to recover Excel files, even no previous version.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Can an overwritten files be recovered?


My sister was working on an Excel sheet this morning and the program froze. I believe she somehow ended up overwriting the old file with a new version that doesn’t include all the information of the original. Is there any way to recover overwritten Excel files?

-A user from Excel Forum 


Overwriting Excel files is very common in the field of computing, and fortunately, there are several ways to recover overwritten Excel files in  Windows 10 or 11, such as previous versions, auto-recovery folder, etc. At the same time, many users forget to save their Excel files or delete them accidentally and want to get them back. Anyway, keep reading this article.

Part 1: How to recover overwritten Excel files

If you’re desperate to recover overwritten Excel files, please don’t be in a panic because several built-in features provided by Microsoft can trait and store your edited version.

This part shares two methods to restore previous version of Excel files with you. Please note its corresponding premise.

Solution 1. Restore Previous Version of Excel file

To restore the previous versions of Excel files, you need to be sure the System Restore or File History is enabled. If not, you cannot get a history recording of your files.

If you need, open Control Panel > System and Security to activate File History. Or turn on the System Protection of the local disk that contains your needed Excel files.   
Win7 users cannot use the File History feature because it made its debut in Win8.0 operating system.

Step 1. Press “Win + E” to open Windows File Explorer.


Step 2. Locate the folder that includes your desired Excel files before overwriting. Then right-click on it and click the “Properties” option.


Step 3. Browse and select an Excel file version according to the time and its importance. Then “Restore” and store it to your destination saved path.


Solution 2. Recover overwritten Excel file with no previous version

If you have saved your Excel files in OneDrive or a SharePoint Online library, you can also recover overwritten Excel files by restoring an earlier/previous version. Please note this is the online version of the web page.

Step 1. Start your Excel program, and click the title. Then click the “Version History” option.


Step 2. In the Version History list, select your needed Excel file and click the “Open version” to check.


Step 3. Click “Restore” to restore the previous version of Excel files online.


Part 2. How to recover unsaved Excel files

Another situation is to recover unsaved Excel files and there are two feasible solutions for your preferences.

Solution 1. Recover unsaved Excel files with AutoSave

How to recover Unsaved Excel files? You can take advantage of the AutoSave featureto recover Excel files because this built-in feature can automatically save the modified files at default or customized time intervals.

Step 1. Open your Excel, then click “File” > “Info” on the left menu.

Step 2. In the Manage Versions section, you can see all the recently auto-saved Excel file versions.  It may also display as Manage Workbook. Then you can select an Excel file version to restore.


Solution 2. Recover unsaved Excel files from temporary files

Microsoft will create a temporary version of the files as a backup if you forget to save it. It will not overwrite your previous files.  So you can try to recover unsaved Excel files from it.

Step 1. Be sure you’ve turned on the AutoRecover feature. Then, go to the temporary folder in the following path:

  • Windows 7: C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Micrsoft\Excel\
  • Windows 8, 10 and 11: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

Step 2. Select and open the Excel file, and click the “Save as” button to recover unsaved Excel files.

Recover Unsaved Excel Files

Part 3. How to recover deleted Excel files 

If you accidentally deleted Excel files or lost them due to formatting, virus infection, power cut, etc, try to restore them from backup. If you don't have an available backup, using highly-praised data recovery tool, MyRecover, will be the best choice. 

Solution 1: Restore deleted files from File History 

If you enabled the File History feature, check if there are any available backup and restore from it using the following steps.

Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security and click File History.


Step 2. Select Restore personal files. It will open file history recovery window.


Step 3. Click the left arrow to locate your deleted files, and click the Restore to original location icon to restore deleted Excel files.


Solution 2: Recover deleted Excel files with software

If there is no available backup, try to recover deleted Excel files using highly-praised data recovery tool, MyRecover. Let’s have a closer look at its fascinating features.

High-Praised Data Recovery Software
  • Two advanced scanning methods: Quick Scan and Deep Scan. It will scan your disk for Excel files quickly and deeply and display& them.
  • Recover deleted or lost Excel files and more than 200+ file formts.
  • Recover deleted files from hard drive, SSD, USB, SD cards, and other storage devices, regardless of file system (e.g.: NTFS, FAT32, exFAT,& ReFS, etc.).
  • Filter and locate Excel files from their filename, original path, data modified, and size.
  • Support Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Windows Server.

Steps to recover deleted Excel files with MyRecover

Step 1. After running the tool, hover the mouse over the partition/disk that includes your desired Excel files before overwriting. Then click Scan.

 Select Disk

Step 2. During scanning, you can enter filenames in the search bar to find your targeted Excel files. Or you can see all the deleted files and other missing files after scanning.

 Filter and Preview Excel Files

Step 3. Go to the Deleted files folder, and select the Excel files you want. Then click “Recover x files” and select a new location to store them. 

 Recover Excel File

Bonus tips: How to prevent Excel file loss or deletion

If you don't want to experience unsaved, overwritten, or deleted Excel files in the future, you can then take some precaution measures below. 

Enable the AutoRecover feature. 

Open Excel files, then click File > Save. Then tick Save AutoRecover information every x minutes > Keep the last AutoRecovered version if I close without saving > OK.

Enable AutoSave and AutoRecover Feature

Turn on the real-time AutoSave feature. It will save your changes every few seconds as you work.  Launch Excel and tap on the "File" Menu. Then turn on the AutoSave button at the top-left corner.

✅ Make regular backups via Windows features or freeware, AOMEI Backupper.

Download and install AOMEI Backupper Standard from the given link. Then, launch it, and select "File Backup" > Excel files or a folder containing Excel files and a path to save them. Optionally, click Schedule Backup and set a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. to backup them automatically. Finally, click Start Backup

File Backup

Scan your storage device regularly with antivirus software. It helps to prevent any unwanted deletion due to virus attacks or malware.


1.  Does overwritten means deleted?

No, overwritten just replace the previous version of files with changes. If you want to restore a previous version of your files, be sure the System Restore or File History is enabled.

2. Why are there no previous versions of my Excel file?

If there is no previous version of the Excel file, you may not enable the System Restore or File History feature.

3. Where is file version history in Excel?

You can click the title of your Excel file and select Version History if you enabled OneDrive or SharePoint. It will list a list of the file versions. You can then select a version and restore it.

4.  How long does Excel keep version history?

By default, Excel will keep your change for 30 days. If you are worried about losing them, try to backup it regularly, such as, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

5. How to recover overwritten Excel file in Windows 11?

If you overwritten your Excel file, please check the previous versions or AutoSave feature. They will save a copy of your Excel files.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.