Accidentally wrote over a file I really, really need!
June 15, 2006 10:55 AM   Subscribe

I just know I can't be the first person to ever do this, but I haven't been able to find an answer. I religiously back up my files from my local drive to my network every day, but it appears that yesterday, while I was in a hurry, I actually copied the files from my network drive down to my local drive, thus overwriting a very full day of work on one particular file. Is there anyway I can get back the version that was stored on my local drive or am I, as I fear, screwed? Also, when I try to search my local drive for all the files with the same extensions (*.as) in hopes that I actually just saved it in the wrong place, Windows XP tells me I have no files with that extension, even though I can see that I do. Is it possible that my problems are bigger than my own incompetence?
posted by katyjack to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I doubt there's any way to get back the old version of the file. If you'd just deleted it, you might be able to, because the data would still be there, but you've overwritten it.

Windows' search utility is lousy, so either you ran it in the wrong directory (you should run it on the top level of your hard drive, recursively) or it simply screwed up. Either one is possible, but if you can see files with that extension, they're there, of course.
posted by cerebus19 at 11:16 AM on June 15, 2006

if you have the autobackup option set, try looking in that file.
posted by lester at 11:55 AM on June 15, 2006

to prevent this from happening in the future it would probably be a good idea to somehow automate the process of backing up with, say, a windows batch script. then you can just execute the script when you want to back up, saving you the inconvenience of manually copying files and putting an end to the risk of mixing up the process. there's a ton of complete backup solutions available for windows, but even something as simple as the batch script option would be better than the manual method.
posted by (lambda (x) x) at 12:09 PM on June 15, 2006

Is it possible that you were working on an Excel or Word file that autosaved into the temp directory while you were working? There might be a later version than last night's there. I have found autosave files from Microsoft that way. I am not a techie.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:34 PM on June 15, 2006

If you were running the google desktop you might be able to find something in there, I've done that more than once, though usually with text files.
posted by itsjustanalias at 1:07 PM on June 15, 2006

There are articles all over the 'net about how to "fix" the XP search function. (By default, it doesn't show you files of unknown types... so if you don't have the file associated with something, it won't show up.) Here is one example of such an article:

Depending on what program you were using to create your files (and where it stores its temporary files), you might find remnants of your lost data somewhere else on the drive.

There is also a slim chance that the over-written data still exists on the drive somewhere (but you can't see it). Said chance grows slimmer and slimmer with each passing moment that you use the machine, however. And the cost to recover it is probably more than it's worth.
posted by Luciferous at 7:48 PM on June 20, 2006

Oh... and lambda's suggestion is a good one. If you need help setting something like that up, let me know.
posted by Luciferous at 7:49 PM on June 20, 2006

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