How to Recover Older Versions of an Existing File in Windows 10?

Have you ever been in this situation? - you made some changes to an important Word file on your Windows 10 PC and saved that. But after some time, you wanted an earlier version of that file existed two days before. You tried to undo the changes using Ctrl + Z. Nothing happened. What can you do for getting an older version of that file?

Here’s the answer.

From Windows Vista, Microsoft has included a feature in file management called “Previous Versions”. You can find out this feature by right-clicking on a file.


recover older versions of existing file windows 10


Can you see any previous versions here? No, certainly no. why?

Previous versions of a file are created either from file history or from system restore points. So, you can’t use this feature if there aren’t any restore points older versions of your file.

You can prevent this kind of a situation in the future by following one of these two options.
  1. Using auto-generated Restore Points created during Windows Update.
  2. Backup from File history

But, you can’t completely rely on the first option – These restore points could save file backups, but quite rarely. Creating restore points manually will not maintain file backups.

Anyway, you can use the second option if you have an external drive to save file backups. Here’re the steps.


Select Backup from PC Settings and choose “Add a drive” option.

recover older versions of existing file windows 10


Select your external drive, add files/directories to backup and click “Back up now

recover older versions of existing file windows 10


Your backup is ready now. Now try to make some changes to the file you’ve backed up and go to the previous version of that file.

recover older versions of existing file windows 10


Open the file and click Restore button to get the older version of that file.

recover older versions of existing file windows 10


You can also depend on cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive for maintaining previous versions of your personal files. But sometimes, network unavailability may create accessibility issues. If you aren’t troubled by such an issue, you can try these cloud services also.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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