How to Recover Overwritten Word Documents

There are two ways to recover overwritten Microsoft Word documents. One is to revert to an already saved previous version of the document, and the other is to use the Backup and Restore Wizard. Instead of renaming often edited documents, saving files as versions may prove useful when collaborating on a specific project in the initial stages of its development. Additionally, if a file has been altered and renamed several times, it could become a chore to locate the one you need. On the contrary, it is much easier to find if it is accessed through that specific document's user interface. And best of all, when frequently modified documents are saved as versions, there is no need to re-save the save, through File, Save As. Using the Backup and Restore Wizard to retrieve a backup of a document will work only if the file has been backed up previously. Both methods require preplanning before the accident happens.

Save your file as a different version before it is has a chance to be overwritten. Select "File" and then "Versions" from the toolbar menu.

Place a check beside "Automatically save version on close" and then press "Save Now."

Type in some brief comments describing the version and then press "OK."

Make any modifications to the document and when finished, select "File" and then "Versions." Follow through by repeating Steps 2 and 3 above.

Recover the overwritten document by selecting "File" and then "Versions" from the toolbar menu.

Select the version that was overwritten and click "Open."

Click on the "Control Panel" accessible from the Start menu and then pick "Performance and Maintenance."

Select "Back up Your Data" and then "Backup and Restore Wizard" and click "Next."

Choose "Back up files and settings."

Choose "Let me choose what to back up" and then click "Next."

Place a check next to the folders or files chosen for backup and press "Next."

After picking your backup destination press "Next."

Press "Finish" and then click "Close" when prompted.

Pick "Control Panel" accessible from the Start menu and then select "Performance and Maintenance."

Pick "Backup Your Data."

Pick "Restore Files and Settings" and then press "Next."

Place a check in the desired boxes located in the "Items to Restore" list and then press "Close."


To ensure that a backup copy is always being saved, select "Tools" from the toolbar menu. Next, select "Options" and then go to the Save tab. Under Save Options, check "Always create a backup copy." Click "OK" to exit.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word software - Version 2003 or later.
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About the Author

Nina Nixon has more than 30 years of professional writing experience. She enjoys writing about business and technology. Her articles have appeared on Chron, eHow Business & Personal Finance, Techwalla, and other digital content publishing websites.