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Recovery of an overwritten file?

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I've been working on a very complex graphic image with over 20 layers, and have put many hours into it over the past few weeks. Well, last night before taking a break I mistakenly saved a similar file on top of it. I didn't realize what I had done until an hour later when I started working on the graphic again.  Talk about being jaw-droppingly dismayed!  


The newest backup I have of the file is 10 days old, and while it's definitely better than starting over from scratch, it is still quite a setback. Does anyone know how one might recover an overwritten file? I know that deleted files can be recovered because the file isn't actually deleted (it's in the recycle bin), but is this possible for an overwritten file? Yes, I know it won't be in the recycle bin, but I'm aware that the operating system may just have marked the overwritten image as gone in some way, but the actual bytes might still be there and potentially recoverable? Or does Paint.net take great pains to re-use the space that the overwritten image occupied? The overwritten file is much larger than the one overwriting it, by the way.


Actually, I'm almost certain this is going to be impossible. I've already investigated online, and there's a Win10 feature of recovering an earlier version of a file, but this only works if "Windows Backup" service was active. If not, this feature can't be used to roll back to another version of a document. Add of course "Windows Backup" was not active. Perhaps I should activate it now! Like locking the barn door after the horses have escaped.

Edited by Cyberherbalist
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21 minutes ago, ardneh said:

There's a slim chance that you could recover it from a Volume Shadow Copy.


Thanks! Looks interesting, and I might try this in the future, but someone not on the board clued me in to an application called Recuva. I installed and tried it just a few minutes ago, and Recuva reported that the file in question was in poor condition and had been partially overwritten by a Steam file. It was basically unrecoverable. 


But it turns out that I had forgotten about my backup software (Acronis) that has been working in the background. In the last backup, taken four days ago, there was a somewhat newer version than the 10 day old copy I had saved on my archive disk.  So I'll be able to recover that version and won't have quite so much work to catch up on.


This screwup is a definite reminder to keep backups!  I have 17 TB of external drives, most of which is free space, why am I not backing up every day? Or hour?


This actually gives me an idea for a new Paint.net feature. I seem to recall that some software (word processor I think) I've used in the past had the option of creating backups of files as they were opened. Or maybe I'm imagining it.



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