How to Recover Overwritten Files on Mac

How to Recover Deleted and Overwritten Files on Mac

Deleted files can be recovered easily. But when a file is overwritten, the hard disk is updated, which is an irreversible process. You can only recover overwritten files in the two methods.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Sep 25, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

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Can you recover overwritten files?

"Hi... A consultant from mine came in to re-install some files today. Unfortunately, she overwrote some files by the same names. Were there any possible ways out there that can recover overwritten files from Mac?"

While clearing files from your system, you deleted one of your important files and continued working on your system. Suddenly you realized the loss of data. But now you are unable to recover it because the file is overwritten. Wondering how to recover overwritten files now?

Here we will guide you with the ways that help you recover overwritten files and also how to recover deleted files with Recoverit data recovery software.

Part 1. What're the Overwritten Files?

You may have heard something like, do not overwrite files if you want the data inside it. Many people do not know what is overwriting and, therefore, cannot prevent it or stop doing it. To overwrite means to write or replace old or deleted data with new data.

When you delete a file, the data is not entirely removed from the hard drive. The system updates the database and then makes the files invisible when they are not required anymore. The file is permanently deleted only when a new file or data is stored in its space. Deleted files can be recovered using data recovery software.

Can Replaced or Overwritten Files Be Recovered?

Now, if you have accidentally overwritten any file or data that you needed, it is not possible to recover it using any data recovery software or any other techniques. Most of the software can recover deleted, corrupt, or formatted data, but it is not possible to recover overwritten data using any such software.

It is possible to restore overwritten files only in one case. If you have a backup of the overwritten files or some previous versions of it, only then you can restore an overwritten file. No other method or technique will work in case of your overwritten files.


Part 2. How to Recover Overwritten Files on Mac

Accidentally saved over a Word document Mac? How do you recover a document you saved over? The section can tell you how to recover overwritten files on Mac in less than no time.

As you read above, it is impossible to recover overwritten data. The only way you can recover overwritten files is by restoring them from a backup or using previous versions. Use the following methods to try and recover overwritten files on your computer.

Method 1. Recover Overwritten Files from Backup

Time Machine is a great recovery and backup tool that is included in macOS. It helps you in taking regular backups and recover them in case you overwrite important files.

If the original file was saved before you made your last backup, there should be a copy of the file present in the Time Machine. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Connect your Time Machine backup disc of your PC.

Step 2: Open the folder containing the files that you want to restore. Now go to Time Machine Menu and select Enter Time Machine.

documents in time machine

Step 3: Look for the files that you need to restore. To find the required files quickly, you can use the timeline and see the files of that particular date and even time, when you have lost your data. If you want to view the file from the Time Machine backup, you can press Space Bar.

Step 4: Click on Restore, once you confirm the file.

The method is useful only if you have previously set up the Time Machine Backup. If you have not done so, then it is better to try out other available methods.

Method 2. Recover a Replaced Word Document on Mac Without Time Machine

macOS has an autosave feature. It saves all the versions of your files. Whenever you open your file, revert, modify, or rename it, or when you save it, every change is saved. So, when any of your files is overwritten, you can try restoring it with these steps:

Step 1: Create a file with the same name and at the same location.

Step 2: Open this file and click on the "File" menu. You can find it at the top of the screen, on the left side. Click on "Revert to" and then on "Browse All Versions."

option to browse all versions

Step 3: Select your target version and click on "Restore." Your overwritten file is recovered.

Step 4: Select the file location and click on Restore.

This will give you access to a previous version of the overwritten file, and you can get some of your desired data back in this way.


Part 3. How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files Easily

Permanently deleted files are still recoverable because deleting the file erases its pointer and makes that space available, which is a very fast process. Permanently deleted files still have their data intact in the storage unless the storage space is overwritten with new data.

Files are permanently deleted from your Mac's storage when you clear the trash, and there is no backup. A file gets deleted when any of the following happens.

  • You delete a file by pressing the Delete key accidentally.
  • When you format a disk drive and do not have any backup of the files.
  • You empty the recycle bin, and all the files in it get deleted
  • You lose some of the data during transfer from an external drive to your PC.
  • An antivirus scan detects and deletes some of your files.

If any of the above happens, there is no need to worry as you can get your data and desired files back in most of the cases.

Here you can use Recoverit Data Recovery for Mac. This Mac data recovery software can recover a variety of files from your Mac or other storage media. With Recoverit, you can restore any type of files like videos, documents, images, audios, etc.

Video Tutorial on Recovering Trashed Files on Mac

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Download and install Recoverit Data Recovery on your Mac. In this guide, we will focus on how to recover deleted files on Mac. If you are working on a PC, you can download the Recoverit Data Recovery Windows version and follow similar steps.

Step 1 Select a Location Where Data Was Not Overwritten

Launch Recoverit Mac Data Recovery. To recover deleted but not replaced or saved-over documents on Mac, you need to select a location where your files were deleted. Click the "Start" button to get started.

recover overwritten files on mac

Step 2 Scan the Drive with Deleted Files

Recoverit File Recovery will start an all-around scan to search the selected Mac hard drive for you deleted but not overwritten files. When the software is working, you can simultaneously filter and find the files you need.

search overwritten files on mac

Step 3 Preview and Recover Removed Files

After the scan, all found files will be listed based on different categories and can be displayed in different views. You can preview your recoverable files and click "Recover" button to get them back.

Note: After recovering lost files on Mac, please do not save recovered files in their original locations, because this would lead to issue with the permanent loss of data.

recover overwritten files from mac

With Recoverit, restoring lost files becomes easy and fast. You can download it for both Mac and Windows.


Part 4. Tips to Avoid Overwritten, Replaced or Saved-over Files

Many people do not know about overwriting and unknowingly do it. When a file is overwritten, the lost data cannot be recovered with software. When you save a new file, it can overwrite data. If you save a file with the same name as an existing file, the new file will overwrite the old file, and that data will be lost. You must be careful so that you don't accidentally overwrite the required files.

Tips and Tricks

As you know, overwritten files are lost and can hardly be restored, so here are some tips you may follow to avoid overwriting or when you lose data.

  • Stop using the device when you lose any of your important files.
  • Do not save the files on the same location from where you have lost the files.
  • Do not use the same PC to search for solutions.
  • Take regular backup with Time Machine and ensure it is synced properly.
  • Any recovered or restored files should be saved at a new location.
  • Don't run the built-in CD/DVD recovery.

These tips may help you to some extent, but the main thing is to stay alert and careful while saving data and new files so that you do not overwrite existing important files. You may lose some vital stuff because of negligence, and that should be avoided.

Closing Words

In the above guide, we discussed everything about overwritten files and how they cannot be restored. You can just restore them from backup or using previous versions. It is vital to stay alert so that you do not lose any data.

We also discussed how to recover deleted files using Recoverit. It is a great software that works efficiently and quickly to recover lost files. So, don't worry if you lose important data, just use Recoverit that is available for both Windows and Mac.

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