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Sun, Jul 29, 2018 8:26 pm

Recovering a file on a Windows system from a shadow copy

After editing a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel on a Microsoft Windows Server 2012 system, I intended to save the modified version under a new file name, but inadvertently chose "Save" rather than "Save As." Fortunately, Windows systems running the Volume Snapshot Service, aka Shadow Copy, provide an easy mechanism to recover lost data by reverting to a prior "shadow copy" version of a file. To revert to the prior version, you can take the following steps:
  1. In the Windows File Explorer, click on the file to select it, then choose "Properties" from the ribbon of options at the top of the File Explorer window or right-click on the file and choose "Properties." Or, you can click on the file to select it and then hit the Alt and Enter keys simultaneously to bring up the Properties window for that file.
  2. Then click on the Previous Versions tab.
  3. Click on the prior version of the file to select it and then click on the Restore button at the bottom of the window.
  4. You will see a window asking "Are you sure you want to restore the previous version of" followed by the file name and the timestamp on the prior version of the file. The window also warns you that "This will replace the current version of this file on your computer and cannot be undone." Click on the Restore button on that window.
  5. You should then see a window stating "The file has been successfully restored to the previous version." Click on the OK button to close that window. If you click on the General tab at this point, the Modified date will still reflect the timestamp before you restored the file, but if you close the Properties window and reopen it, you should then see the Modified date and time reflect the timestamp of the prior version that was restored to the system.

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