Please help me get my Excel data back.
May 16, 2012 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Earlier this morning, I accidentally deleted some columns of data on an Excel spreadsheet and then saved it. Is there a way to get those columns back?

I'm using Excel 2007 if that helps.

Thank you!
posted by soundproof to Technology (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
i take it you've already tried "undo," right? (Control Z). It won't work if you've already closed the document, though.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:21 AM on May 16, 2012

Yes, it has already been closed...
posted by soundproof at 11:22 AM on May 16, 2012

Not on Windows 7 so I don't know if this is an automatically-turned-on feature or not -

Previous Versions in Windows 7

If there is subsequent work you wanted to save on the document obviously make sure you don't overwrite the current version with the recovered version.

If this doesn't apply, and if you're at work you could double check with your IT if there is any other sort of granular back-up going on of your files.

If neither of these apply I think you're out of luck. There is no inherent previous version function in pre-Windows 2007 Excel.
posted by nanojath at 11:33 AM on May 16, 2012

Yes, most likely but it could be difficult.

1) Excel keeps temporary files somewhere on the disk, with weird almost random looking filenames, which normally are hidden from being seen in Windows Explorer. They can be examined file by file to find the one version you want - the date/time of the file might narrow down which files to look at. The temp files can be in various places on the disk depending how Excel and Windows was set up, and a whole disk search by file date/time might find them to examine.

2) The actual previous file was not overwritten when you saved the new version, the old version was simply deleted, with the new version being written somewhere else on the disk. An undelete program might find the previous saved version. This also is tricky as simple undelete programs usually won't show or try to undelete a filename that matches a current filename.

3) Depending how much more you used the computer, the temp or previous file(s) might have been overwritten anyway, by other files or Windows actions, but this is very unlikely in just 1 day.

Finding and recovering the file is best done on a different computer, meaning taking your hard drive out, taking it to a geek, and having him (or her) find the file using a different computer. But I'd say there is a 98% chance the file is recoverable if you act right away, if it is that important.
posted by caclwmr4 at 3:54 PM on May 16, 2012

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