How to Recover Unsaved Photoshop Files

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful professional photo editing program that many people use to edit and process photos in numerous ways. Editing can be a time-consuming and tedious process that involves a lot of hard work and patience.

photoshop file recovery

All of the hard work that goes into the editing process within Photoshop can be of no use if a file is unintentionally lost. In the unfortunate event that you forget to save a file and lose all of the editing and processing time you’ve put into it, don’t panic.

It may seem like a big disaster but this article is going to look at how to recover an unsaved Photoshop file if this situation ever happens to you.

How to Recover Unsaved Photoshop Files

There are several different ways to do so and we’ll introduce each of them, step by step.

1. Recover from Recent Files

The first method to attempt to recover any lost unsaved files is to go to recent files in the main menu of Photoshop and look for the file there. This can be an easy first attempt at recovery and if it works, your file will be restored quickly.

To recover unsaved files from recent files:

  • Restart the Photoshop program
  • Go to File at the upper left-hand corner of the window
  • Scoll down to Open Recent from the drop-down menu
  • Click on Open Recent
  • Look for the name of your unsaved file in this menu and click on it to open if found

2. Use Autosave to Recover Unsaved Photoshop Files

Another method to recover any unsaved Photoshop files is by using the Autosave feature that is built directly into the software.

This is a great feature that automatically occurs on current versions of the program and it will save the files that you are working on at timely intervals without you saving the files manually. The program will make a backup file that you can then access at any point if you lose an unsaved file.

If your version of Adobe Photoshop is equipped with the Autosave feature you can turn it on through the following steps:

  • Open Adobe Photoshop
  • Click Edit from the top menu
  • Then select Preferences from the drop-down menu
  • Click on File Handling
  • Click checkbox next to Automatic Save Recovery Information Every
  • Set the time interval to automatically save your files (1-3 minutes recommended)

Once you have turned on the Autosave feature you can use it to recover any unsaved files by following these steps:

  • Find your Autorecover folder. It is typically in the format of C:/Users/ your username here/AppData/Roaming/Adobe Photoshop (CS6 or CC)/AutoRecover.
  • Note that the ‘your username here’ above should be your actual user name used on your computer and not the literal words listed here.
  • Find the files that were unsaved for whatever reason
  • Open the file
  • Save the file

3. Using 3rd Party Software

If you want or need an additional way to recover any lost or unsaved Photoshop files, you can use a 3rd party data recovery software to assist you with the task.

There are several different recovery software programs that you can use to help you out, as we reviewed some for Windows and macOS.

Each of these 3rd party software programs has its own process for how to recover and locate unsaved files so we won’t go into exact details in this post.

Just know that the process is straightforward and easy to figure out once the program is up and running. Within a few clicks and several steps, you can locate and recover any lost unsaved files you might have.

How Do Photoshop Files Get Lost?

There are a few different ways that this can happen and it’s somewhat common for it to occur without you knowing. They say that prevention is the best medicine, right? Well, this advice applies to computers as well as humans.

The most common ways in which an unsaved file within Photoshop can get lost are through a power interruption, a computer error or crash, user error, or software error.

A power interruption can occur if your computer’s battery dies or if it is unexpectedly unplugged from its power source. A larger power outage can also cause this to occur.

A computer error or crash can happen unexpectedly for a variety of reasons. You may be running too many actions on your computer at once or running multiple programs and this can lead to an error or crash. They can also happen unexpectedly for unknown reasons so are hard to predict and avoid.

User error is another common issue and this can be caused when you, the user, accidentally perform an action or command that leads to the loss of a file. It can be as simple as hitting the wrong button or accidentally closing out of the program before saving. While this can obviously leave anyone feeling frustrated and upset, it’s common so don’t worry if it happens to you.

A software error can also occur and lead to an unsaved file becoming lost. This can be when the program is being used under high demand but can also happen seemingly randomly just as with a computer crash or error. Unfortunately, software errors are also hard to predict and can happen at inopportune moments.

Final Thoughts

Losing files in Photoshop can be a definite cause for concern and lead to plenty of frustration. Luckily, if you follow the above steps, you should be able to locate and recover your lost files in no time.

If the first two methods do not work, you can try installing a 3rd party Photoshop recovery software to help you further.

Have you ever lost an important unsaved file in Photoshop? Do you know what caused the loss? Let us know in the comments below.

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