How To Restore Previous Versions Of Your Files In Windows


So you have created a file and have made several changes to it. Now you feel that it was better earlier and might want to go back to the previous version. But unfortunately, you have made several edits and now the current file looks totally different from that particular previous version which you want. What can you do now?

The water has run under the bridge and now you have to live with what you have!

Well certainly no! While you may not turn back time and go back to one of the earlier versions which you liked. However, you can restore the earlier version if you followed the right steps in time and have ensured that you have the previous versions of the files available to you.

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So how do we do this? Let’s find out!


Windows 7 has the ‘Previous Versions’ feature which enables you to easily restore one of the previous versions of your files. Restoring the previous versions of your files is just a matter of few clicks. All you need to do is to right-click on a particular file and click on ‘Properties’. Once you have clicked on it, click on the Previous Versions tab of the dialogue box which opens once you have clicked on the ‘Properties’.

The earlier versions of the files can be stored if you have created backups using the Windows Backup option and the automatic System Restore option. System Restore work effectively in case a file was closed abruptly or the system got shut down suddenly. It helps with immediate restoring of the previous versions of the files. It is however advisable that you enable the Windows Backup option for you to be able to easily restore the older versions of your files.


The feature of ‘Previous Versions’ which was available in Windows 7 has been discontinued in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 versions. Windows 8 and 8.1 have ‘File History’ options. You are needed to either point Windows to a network drive or connect an external drive for setting up File History on that specific location. Windows will take automatic backups of the files and you can restore the older versions of your files by right clicking on the file and clicking on the ‘Properties’ option. A dialogue box will open and you are needed to click on the ‘File History’ tab.

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Windows 8 and 8.1 do not automatically save previous versions of the files and therefore this option needs to be setup by you if you want to save the older file versions. Unlike Windows 7 it does not happen by default. However, once you have setup this option, the previous versions of your files will be saved automatically.