How to Recover Overwritten Files on Mac or Windows

Connie Wisley
July 21, 2018 Preview 2.3K Preview 0
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You Get Possibilities to Recover Overwritten Files

Can I recover an overwritten file? I'm using Word 2011 for Mac. Yesterday, before closing a document I'd been working with and saving for two days, I unknowingly pasted irrelevant text over the entire document, saved, and quit. Is there any chance that word stores a "revisions" history, similar to GoogleDocs? Or is my work just gone? Many thanks!
How to recover overwritten files on USB drive? I copied many photos and pasted to the USB, but it prompted me to replace some files since they share the same file name, I accepted without noticing I replaced the wrong files.

If you are similar situations and looking for solutions to recover overwritten files, this post can be of some help. 

Why Possible to Recover Overwritten Files?

1st, when a file is overwritten, it means the magnetic domain is re-magnetized, but there are still chances that some residual traces of the magnetization remain and hence allows a partial recovery of the overwritten files.

2nd, nobody is 100% sure about that if the file is truly overwritten, maybe the “overwritten” files is magnetized to another space instead of the original space.

So, there are still possibilities to recover overwritten files. And here we continue to introduce several possible solutions to recover replaced files on mac or windows pc.

tips: It is not 100% guaranteed that the overwritten files can be recovered by following methods, but worth a try.

How to Recover Overwritten Files on Mac?

#1 Recover Overwritten Files on Mac from Time Machine

By default, Time Machine creates backup copies of files on your selected Mac’s local hard drive if turned on. And you can restore the file to its older version. Follow below steps to recover overwritten files on Mac via Time Machine.

  1. Click Time Machine icon in the menu bar, and select “Enter Time Machine”.
  2. Then select a time, and find the overwritten file that you want to recover at that time;
  3. Tap “Restore” button to recover the older versions of overwritten files.recover with time machine

#2 Recover Overwritten Files on Mac via Cisdem Data Recovery

Cisdem Data Recovery is a mac program designed to recover permanently deleted files or overwritten files from Mac internal or external drive, from memory card, video/audio player and so on with several clicks.

And it has won large quantity of users due to its outstanding performance as following:

  • High success rate to recover files;
  • Applicable for different situations: accidental deletion, improper operation, formation, emptied trash, etc;
  • Support to recover a wide range of documents, such as photo, video, audio, etc;
  • Repair corrupted or unplayable videos;
  • Support various storage devices;
  • Preview the recoverable files during scanning process to improve recovery efficiency;
  • Traceable historical scan records to avoid repeated scanning.

Steps to recover overwritten files on mac:

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery on Mac, then run it.
     Free Download
  2. Choose the partition where your overwritten files are located, then click “Search for lost files”.scan overwritten files
  3. Preview the files after scanning and select, then click “Recover” to find back your overwritten files on mac.recover overwritten files

How to Recover Overwritten Files on Windows

#1 Recover Overwritten Files on Windows using System Restore

Windows System Restore allows user to revert to an earlier working state by creating “Restore Point” and restoring to a previous Restore Point. A Restore Point refers to the snapshots of your system files, registry, program files and hard drives. 

By default, System Restore is turned for your system drive (C:) and creates a restore point once per week automatically. So if your files are on the system drive, then you have chance to recover overwritten files. Personal files and documents can also be restored to an older version provide that you have manually enabled the System Restore protection on the drive. Below are the steps to recover overwritten files on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, etc.

  • Step 1. Open Control Panel on your Windows computer, and then tap “System and Security”.
  • Step 2. Choose System on the window, and navigate to the System Protection tab.
  • Step 3. Tap “System Restore…” and click “Next”.recover from windows system
  • Step 4. Then you will see a list of restore points. Select the restore point you want to revert to.
  • Step 5. And tap “Scan for affected programs”, and it will show you details of what will be deleted and might be restored.recover from windows system 02
  • Step 6. At last, click “Next” and confirm it. The restoring process will start. Wait patiently till it ends.

#2 Recover Overwritten Files on Windows from the Previous Version

This method is only works in Windows 7. 

  • 1. Right-click the file that has replaced the one you want and select “Restore previous versions”.
  • 2. Then you will see a list of file versions with Name, Data modified and Location. 
  • 3. Select the version you want to restore and click "Copy" to copy and paste it on another place. You can also click "Restore" to recover overwritten files. recover windows previous

#3 Recover Overwritten Files on Windows via Recuva

Recuva is a piece of free data recovery software that can help recover deleted, lost, formatted and overwritten files from Windows computer, USB drives, SD cards, etc. It can recover photos, audios, documents, videos and many other files. 

  • Step 1. Install and open Recuva on your PC. 
  • Step 2. Choose the file type, then click “Next”.use recuva 01
  • Step 3. Specify the file location, then click “Start” to continue the scanning.
  • Step 4. Once the scanning finished, all the founded files will be displayed in thumbnail select those you want to recover.use recuva 02
  • Step 5. Click “Recover” to find back the overwritten files.


Though it is difficult to recover an overwritten or replaced file, it is still possible. Of course, if you want to save troubles on overwritten files, always have a backup for your important files, and be careful every time you are working on the files. And if you do overswrite some files, try a piece of data recovery software to recover it.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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