Tips Tuesday: Previous Versions Saves the Day

Ever accidentally wrote over a template or deleted a document out of a folder that you didn’t want to delete? Ever wanted to check what documents were in a folder on a previous date? Allow me to introduce you to the “Previous Versions” function in Windows Explorer.

The Scenario

You’re working in a folder with a bunch of disclosure documents in it. You’re working on reviewing them and deleting documents that you don’t need at the same time. In doing so, you delete a very important document that you didn’t intend to delete. This document was a PDF that was hundreds of pages, was highlighted, contained comments as well as bookmarks to key portions of the document. Needless to say, this was a very important working document on the file, and it’s not a document that is easily recreated. Panic begins to set in. You know IT can likely access a back-up of the folder, but you don’t want to hassle them or admit to anyone that you’ve deleted the document.

The Previous Versions Fix

You’re working in a folder called “Disclosure” and this was where your important document was. This “Disclosure” folder was a sub-folder in the larger client folder, let’s say that it’s “Client X”. If you are currently in the “Disclosure” folder, go back one folder level so that you are now in the “Client X” folder and can see the “Disclosure” folder in the list.  

Right-click on the “Disclosure” folder and click on “Properties”. When you do this you’ll see 5 tabs across the top of the pop-up, in this order: General, Sharing, Security, Previous Versions, Customize

Go to the “Previous Versions” tab and listed there, you should see several versions of this folder (for sake of example, I’ve used “The Scheffette” folder on my computer).

From here, you can select any of the previous versions listed and open a previous version of this folder. Doing so will show you what was in the folder as at that date and time, and then if that version of the folder has what you desired, you can:

a) Copy and paste that document out of that previous version of the folder into your current version of that folder (or any other folder on your computer); OR

b) Restore that entire version of that folder so that it overrides the current version.

Some caveats to this are that the number of previous versions varies, and sometimes depending on the folder there may not be any previous versions. However, if you do get lucky enough that you are able to find what you need, the wave of relief is unlike any other.

Good luck!

-Charlene Scheffelmair (@cscheffy11)


Start the discussion!

Leave a Reply

(Your email address will not be published or distributed)