How to Restore Previous Versions of Files in Windows 10

System Restore System Protection 256 Icon

In this article, we will see how to use the Windows 10 feature to Restore Previous Versions of files. It allows the user to access a back-dated version of a file or folder which was modified over time.

In Windows 10, this feature utilizes the Shadow copy service to get a previous version when requested by the user. When System Restore is enabled, it can be used as the source for a previous version of your file too. In addition, the OS can utilize File History or Windows Backup, the built-in backup solution first introduced in Windows 7.

The Restore Previous Versions feature is a useful tool when you have accidentally deleted some important file or folder, or its contents was overwritten by a virus. It increases the reliability of your data and can save you time you would have spent on restoring your data with third-party tools.

To restore previous versions of files in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the file or folder whose previous version you would like to restore. In this article, I will operate on my Desktop folder located at C:\Users\Winaero\Desktop.
  3. Right click the folder and select Previous Versions from the context menu. Alternatively, you can open the item's properties and go to the Previous Versions tab.Tip: See how to open the file properties window quickly.
  4. In the "File versions" list, select a version you would like to restore. Click the "Open" button to check out the contents.
  5. To quickly restore the previous version, click on the Restore button. You will be prompted to overwrite the existing file version if it exists in the same location.

That's it.

Note: In case you are using File History, it will be possible to open the appropriate File History entry right from the Previous Versions tab. Check out the drop down list of the Open button (if available). It will give you which source Windows 10 is currently using to provide you access to previous versions of your files and folders.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

6 thoughts on “How to Restore Previous Versions of Files in Windows 10”

  1. This is useless… I got stuck on step 3 because neither way of opening this “previous versions” file exists. You need to review this help page.

  2. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!!! you saved me ! I’m working on a school project that I have to turn in soon and by accident I replaced a huge important part and couldn’t undo the change in the editor . THIS SAVED ME , thank you again ^_^

  3. This is wrong.
    Previous Versions has been replaced with File History in Windows 10.
    It relied on System Protection which is often disabled in W10.
    If you have previously switched on System Protection(or was on anyway) W10 does make shadow copies.
    You can use install something like Shadow Explorer to open the relevant shadow copy and restore your file/s

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