How to Restore Previous Version of a File or Folder

Question: I accidentally made major changes to the contents of a file and I can’t undo it due to closing the file. How do I restore previous version of the file?

Answer: Windows makes it very easy to restore previous version of a file. Previous versions are basically copies of the original file which Windows automatically saves as part of a routine backup. So, whether you have accidentally deleted a file, made major changes, the file was corrupted or damaged, fear not, you can revert back to a previous version of the file by following few simple steps.

How to Restore Previous Version of a File

A file will have previous versions if changes were made to the file in the recent past. Also, files created within the same day may not have a previous version.

  • Open Windows Explorer.
  • Navigate to the folder which contains the file.
  • Right click on the file and select Properties.
  • Click on Previous Versions tab. A list of previous versions of the file will be displayed.
  • Click on the version you wish to restore.
  • Click on Restore button.
  • The previous version of the file will now be restored.

How to restore previous version of a file or folder

Note: The previous version of the file will replace the current version of the file. If you also need the current version, you may want to copy the file and paste it in a separate location.

How to Restore Previous Version of a File if the File was Accidentally Deleted

If you accidentally deleted a file and it no longer appears in the recycling bin, you can still restore a previous version of the file by using the above method. However, instead of navigating to the folder which contains the file, you will perform the step on the folder itself.

  • Open Windows Explorer.
  • Navigate to the folder which contained the deleted file.
  • Right click on the folder and select Properties.
  • Click on Previous Versions tab.
  • Click on the version of the folder before the file was deleted.
  • Click on Open.
  • Check to see that the file you deleted exists in this version of the folder. If not, open an earlier version.
  • Once the file has been located, right click on the file and click copy. Paste it to a folder of your choice. You may alternatively open the file and save it.

How to Restore Previous Version of a Folder

  • Open Windows Explorer.
  • Navigate to the parent folder which contains the folder to be restored.
  • Right click on the folder and select Properties.
  • Click on Previous Versions tab.
  • Click on the version of the folder to be restored.
  • Click on Restore button.
  • The previous version of the folder will now be restored.

Note: Restoring the previous version of a folder will replace everything in the current version, including all the files. You may want to copy the contents of the current folder and keep them at a separate location in case you need them.

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