How to Recover an Overwritten Text File

By Stephen Lilley

If you've accidentally written over a text file on your computer, "file recovery" software isn't going to help you. File recovery software is good for files that have been deleted--though the original text has been deleted, the file itself still remains. You have exactly one shot to recover your overwritten text file--the Windows operating system often maintains "hidden" files that include information from previous versions of a file in the same directory as the most current version.

Step 1

Open the folder on your computer that contains the overwritten text file.

Step 2

Click "Tools">"Folder options."

Step 3

Click the "View" tab. Select the option that tells Windows Explorer to display hidden files and directories. Once you've done this, click "Apply." Return to the directory that contains the overwritten text file.

Step 4

Open the hidden files in this same directory, one by one. One of these files will contain an exact copy of the previous version of the file, before you accidentally saved over it.