By Lora / Last update December 1, 2022

How do you get back an old version of a file?

People create and edit files and folders in their work and life. But unexpected disasters occur from time to time – They might have their documents overwritten by unwanted contents, accidentally delete the files, or meet other data loss issues.

For example, some users want to find previous version of Word documents to get their work back.


Is it possible to recover an old save of a document?


I had a document that was fairly important to me which was several pages long. After being away for a week I found that about 70% of the document was missing. Can I get its previous versions in some ways?


- Question from Openoffice


I accidentally deleted a folder on Win 10 desktop, so many important files are stored in there, and I don’t want to lose them. Is there any way to revert this folder to its previous version, like that of yesterday?


- Question from Tom’sHardware


As we can see in the use cases above, one user had the file overwritten, and the other deleted the file. They both wanted to know if they could revert the file to its earlier status.

If you are going through the same or similar trouble, check this article with a detailed introduction about the Previous Versions feature and how to use it.


What is Previous Version?

As the name reveals, Previous Versions are earlier/old versions of a file or folder. They are basically copies or backups of files/folders generated by Windows Backup or restore points.

According to the description of Previous Versions in a file/folder’s Properties, it said: “Previous versions come from File History or from restore points”. It automatically saves a copy of the files in case you need them one day.


This helpful feature could work in various situations.

When do you need to restore previous file versions?

Following the process of files working, you create a file, then edit, save, re-edit, and share or send it to others. The issue happens at the re-editing stage.

You might have modified some of the contents, but then you regretted it and wanted the changed/overwritten contents back. E.g., you have accidentally saved over a Word document.

You might have accidentally/intentionally deleted a file, or a folder then repented and were eager to recover it.

Previous Versions could help you restore the previously saved file version; regardless of its status, whether overwritten or deleted, it can be recovered using this tool.

But for unsaved files, this tool is not capable of doing so. But you could get some help to recover unsaved Excel files from the tutorial.

In a nutshell, when you have edited/modified/deleted a file, you could restore a previous version, give up the unwanted changes, or get back the deleted contents you need.

How to restore Previous Versions of files and folders?

This section will introduce the prerequisite needed to restore previous file versions and the operation process.

Before you use Previous Versions

This tool does have requirements before use. Check it out.

● The System Protection of the drive (which contains the file you need) has to be enabled.


● File History must be activated.

● Windows backups are available. E.g., Windows backups made by Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

● …

Detailed steps: recover overwritten files or deleted files using Previous Versions

For instance, you might need to restore previous versions of Excel files, or other types of data. In this part, we will take restoring the previous version of a Word document as an example.

 the things you need to do are detailed here. Now follow the instructions below to start restoring a file to a previous version.

If you have deleted a whole folder, please go to its parent folder to restore its previous versions. 
If you have deleted a top folder under a drive, it is suggested not to restore the previous versions of the drive. Please seek help from a professional data recovery tool for Windows in the next part. 
The restored file will overwrite the current file version, which is irreversible.

Step 1. Go to the original location of the files you overwritten or deleted > right-click the file/folder > click Properties. Or directly click Restore Previous Versions.

Step 2. Click Previous Versions > choose one earlier version from the version history.


Step 3. Click the reversed triangle icon > Open/Open in File History. Check if the version is the one you need. If the Open is grayed out, it means this version comes from the Windows backup.


Step 4. Click the triangle icon beside the Restore button > Restore/Restore To… You could recover it to its original location or a place you prefer.


This way, you could restore previous file versions to recover the edited or deleted items. In addition, you could also use it to restore deleted Excel files that are not in the Recycle Bin.

How do I restore a file without a previous version?

Someone may have noticed that “There are no previous versions available”.

According to the requirements mentioned above, it might be because you are restoring files from a drive without System Protection enabled; or you have never used File History or Windows backups.


In this case, if you are trying to revert an old/earlier version of a modified file, then you might be out of luck.

But for users who need to recover a deleted file from the previous versions, there are still good chances. Then, without a backup, how to restore previous versions of files and folders after deleting them?

Previous Versions alternative: recover deleted files effortlessly without backup

A Previous Versions alternative will help you out. When you have deleted/permanently deleted/formatted a file/folder, you could always turn to a professional Windows data rescue tool – MyRecover.

It is specially designed for Windows users, allowing them to scan the hard disks for missing and deleted files in a short time.

With the help of its good features and techs, data recovery will be an easy task.

  • Scan the hard disk for both deleted and missing files.
  • Restore deleted files with original format/name/directory preserved.
  • Recover 200+ types of files from HDD/SSD/USB/SD card.
  • Work perfectly with Windows 11/10/8/7/Server. Windows Server users can also recover deleted files from Windows Server 2016, 2029, 2022, etc.
  • Compatible with NTFS/exFAT/FAT32/ReFS.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

As a versatile tool, it even facilitates you to recover deleted files not in Recycle Bin.

Step 1. Install and run the software > select the affected drive/partition that contains the files you need > Start Scan.


Step 2. While scanning, you could preview the scanned data or just directly find the files you need and restore them.


Step 3. Go to Deleted files > navigate to its original location > choose the files you need > click Recover x files.


If no wanted files are listed, please go to Other missing files > select file types, e.g., Images > select files and restore.

Using this powerful tool, it will also be an effortless task to recover data from formatted hard drives.


The tool Previous Versions info and the usage have been introduced with details. To restore previous versions of files or folders, you could follow this guide and easily get back the modified contents, or also, you could restore files that were deleted.

For convenience, turning to a professional data recovery tool is highly recommended. Just let MyRecover free you from trouble.

In addition, backups are always more helpful when you suffer from data loss than restoring a file to a previous version. Utilizing AOMEI Backupper to guard your precious data will be a good idea.