How to restore a file that was overwritten?

Posted on 2006-05-02
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
How do you restore a file that was overwritten?
Question by:wirelessadmin
    LVL 23

    Accepted Solution

    Fetch it from your backup.  I'm serious.  Keep backups of your crucial data.
    You can back up to a second hard disk, a network storage server, or even to your .Mac iDisk.
    In a pinch, you can back up your data to another directory on your disk, but that doesn't protect it from catastrophic disk failure.

    Once you overwrite the bits of a file with different bits, it becomes extremely difficult to recover the data.  That is how Mac OS X Secure Delete works - it overwrites the data multiple times before deleting the file.

    Note that many applications actually don't overwrite existing files.  They write out to a new file, flush the data to disk, then delete the original, and finally rename the new file to the old name.  This is a safety measure; if the program crashes while writing out the data, there will be at least one intact version of the file on disk [barring disk cache issues].  In this tempfile/delete/rename scenario, you might be saved; because your disaster resembles the more traditional "accidently deleted file" problem.  There are several utilities available to help your recover deleted files.  Simply google "Mac OS X recover deleted file".
    LVL 5

    Author Comment

    I have a backup, but its 12hrs behind
    the problem is this happened before the midnight backup
    I opened the wrong database file on the server which overwrote the old one
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    Good, recreating 12 hours worth of work is easier than recreating 12 months worth of work.
    LVL 4

    Assisted Solution

    It's overwritten in the directory of the drive but it might still exist. don't use the machine anymore, and try recovery software. Chances are small, though. There is no garantee.

    Datarescue offers you a working demo here:

    good luck

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