How to Recover UnSaved/Deleted AutoCAD Files

Home > HowTos > File Recovery Tips Updated by Nancy on May 13, 2024 | Approved by Anthony Spadafora

AutoCAD is one of the most trusted design programs that allows designers to create highly sophisticated technical drawings for various purposes, from engineering to architecture and beyond. Its .dwg file files are crucial for any business or individual in the construction industry. When these items are lost due to unexpected circumstances, it can lead to costly delays and missed deadlines. Reasons for their disappearance may be:

No matter what caused the AutoCAD file to be lost, the first thing you need to do is stop using your computer immediately. Any further operation on the computer will cause data to be overwritten, which may result in the .dwg items being lost forever. And you need to find the right AutoCAD recovery solution to solve the problem as soon as possible, say, recover unsaved AutoCAD file or restore deleted DWG file. For that, read on.

How to Recover Unsaved AutoCAD File

Don't panic if you accidentally close the AutoCAD, as there is still a chance to find the work that had been done, and it doesn't have to be difficult, either. You can quickly locate and recover unsaved AutoCAD files in a few simple ways.

Ways 1. Restore Unsaved CAD Files from Backup

By default, AutoCAD is turned on in the automatic backup function. So when something unexpected happens, you can use Backup to recover unsaved DWG file.

  1. Open the location where the AutoCAD file was stored
  2. Find the bak file with the same file name and change its extension to dwg
  3. Open it in AutoCAD to check your unsaved AutoCAD drawing.

Ways 2. Autocad Recover Unsaved Drawing

Like other large applications, the developers of AutoCAD have added an automatic save function to prevent accidental exit from causing the loss of the project you are working on. It will automatically save every 10 minutes. This way, in the event of a program crash, you can still recover CAD file not saved on Mac or Windows 10/11.

  1. Re-open the AutoCAD program, enter the command "OP," and press the space bar.
  2. In the options window, switch to the "File" tab and scroll down to find "Autosave file location."
  3. Click the "+" in front and copy this path. If your system is macOS, then go to /Users/Username/Documents/Autodesk/Autosave.
  4. Select it and click "Browse" to open this location.
  5. Click "Date Modified" to display the latest .ac$ file.
  6. Change the suffix .ac$ to .dwg and double-click to open it.
  7. Finally, check in AutoCAD if it's your unsaved project.

Tip: You can repeat the above method to open multiple .ac$ files until you recover unsaved AutoCAD files.

Ways 3. Find Unsaved AutoCAD File with Temp

Both Windows and macOS have a temporary folder to save open files. You can recover unsaved cad file in this folder if you are lucky enough.

For Windows PC

  1. Press the Windows+R keys and type %temp% in the opened window.
  2. Find the latest .sv$ file in the opened folder and modify it to .dwg.
  3. Double-click the DWG file to open and inspect it.

For macOS

  1. Open the Terminal App and type open $TMPDIR.
  2. Find the .sv$ or .ac$ files in the opened folder and modify them to .dwg
  3. Finally, open the file with the modified suffix in AutoCAD.

How to Restore Old DWG Files

Accidentally losing an important AutoCAD file can be a dreaded nightmare! If you backed up the drive that saved AutoCAD before the incident. Then you can use the following ways to restore the previous version of the CAD file.

For Windows PC

  1. Open the folder where AutoCAD is saved and right-click on the blank location.
  2. Select Restore Previous Versions.
  3. Select the most recent item in Folder Versions and click Open.
  4. Once you find the desired DWG file, select it and click Restore.

For macOS

  1. Open the window where you want to recover AutoCAD files
  2. Connect the external drive used as a backup to the Mac and open Time Machine.
  3. Use the arrows and timeline to view the backup files
  4. Select the DWG file you need and click Restore.

How to Restire Deleted/Lost AutoCAD Files

If you've lost a critical DWG file, you might feel lost. But don't worry; whether you emptied the recycle bin, deleted using shift, or lost it for other reasons, you can still rely on professional AutoCAD recovery software. Here, you can try iBeesoft Data Recovery. It will scan your whole computer or external hard drive to recover deleted AutoCAD files, letting you preview the items and get needed ones selectively.

Your Safe & Effective AutoCAD File Recovery Software

(Trust Score 4.7 by 1695 Users)
Download for Windows Download for macOS

Steps to Recover AutoCAD Files on Mac/Windows

  1. Click the download button to get the AutoCAD recovery software. Both Mac and Windows versions are available. Please choose the right one that matches your computer operating system. Install the tool on your computer.
  2. You're supposed to select a partition or drive to scan in the first window. If the AutoCAD drawing was saved to an external hard drive, please connect the external hard drive to your computer first. After selecting, click "Scan."
  3. You can see all found files in the result window when it finishes the scanning process. Now, check out the AutoCAD drawing. Find the right one, select it, and click "Recover" to save the AutoCAD file on your computer.

How to Repair Corrupted DWG Files

Many AutoCAD users are all too familiar with the frustration of corrupted DWG files. This can result from file transfer errors, system crashes, or malware. However, don't completely write off a corrupted file yet - there may still be hope! You can try the following methods to repair corrupted AutoCAD files.

By utilizing the above solutions, you can quickly get your damaged AutoCAD drawing back in pristine condition to continue working efficiently with them.

Frequently Asked Questions


AutoCAD is a powerful tool used in a variety of industries. Unfortunately, sometimes drawings can be lost due to unsaved or deleted unexpectedly. Fortunately, this article provides various methods to recover AutoCAD file and offers solutions to fix DWG file errors. Hope they help you.