With over 26 million users, Adobe Illustrator is one of the most popular vector and graphic design programs in the world. It’s a powerful tool that allows vector and graphics design professionals to create and edit vector images, graphics design, logos, and much more with complete control. But what if the designs that you have worked hard to create disappear because of an unforeseen event? Or, perhaps, you accidentally erase an important Adobe Illustrator file? That will sting you for sure. After all, the graphic designs and photos you have spent hours editing are now gone. Luckily, there are multiple ways to recover deleted Adobe Illustrator files.
In this article, we will show you three methods to perform recovery. What’s more, you will learn how to activate the Autosave feature in Adobe Illustrator to backup your precious design and photo files. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. Recover Deleted Adobe Illustrator Files from Backups
Did you turn on the “Autosave” feature in the Adobe Illustrator application? If you did, you could restore any unsaved or deleted files from the app’s local backup folder available on your computer. All you have to do is go to the local backup folder and retrieve the files from it. Here’s how you can do it:
- Open the “File Explorer” program and follow this system path to open the local backup folder of Adobe Illustrator: C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator\Adobe IllustratorSettings\AutoRecover
- Now, browse the files in the folder to find the ones you want to recover. To make the search process easier, focus on the files that have the word “recovery” or “recovered” attached to them. These files are most likely the ones that were deleted from the app.
- Next, rename the file you want to recover and double-click on it. The file will open on the Adobe Illustrator application.
- Once the file opens, navigate to Files → Save As.
- Rename the file once again and save it to a folder of your choice.
It’s done—you have restored the deleted or unsaved Adobe Illustrator file.
2. Run Diagnostics to Retrieve Unsaved Illustrator Files
If the Adobe Illustrator app is crashing frequently within very short intervals, you should run the diagnostics to figure out what the problem is. If the application crashes again after running diagnostics, you will get a list of data informing the real reasons for the sudden crashes. This way, you can get to the root of the difficulty and fix it to recover Adobe Illustrator and the files in it. Here’s how you can do it:
- Once Adobe Illustrator crashes, launch it immediately on your computer. A new dialog box will show up asking if you would like to initiate the diagnostics program. Here, click on the “Run Diagnostics” button.
- Next, Adobe Illustrator will be relaunched on your computer in “Safe” mode. Once the app opens, it will create a list of all possible reasons for previous crashes. Usually, the most common causes of crashes are corrupted files, plug-in issues, or outdated driver concerns.
- Now, the diagnostics program will point out a few recommended solutions to fix the crashing problems. After you apply the recommended fixes, you should be able to recover the Adobe Illustrator app and the unsaved files in it.
Pro Tip: The diagnostics program typically takes a few minutes to diagnose the possible difficulties. Please wait patiently until the program completely scans the application. While the program is running, do not open any other program on your computer.
3. Use Data Recovery Software to Recover Erased Adobe Illustrator Files
Had no luck with the earlier methods? Don’t worry. You can still recover the deleted Adobe Illustrator files using a professional data recovery application. These applications scan your hard disk drive and extract the data deleted from your computer as long as the corresponding files weren’t overwritten. However, before you pick a data recovery app, you need to make sure that the application you choose meets two pivotal conditions:
- It must be developed and released by a reputable data recovery company.
- It needs to have a lot of positive reviews from the consumers. If it gets high ratings from professional data recovery experts, it’s even better.
As long as the application of your choice meets these conditions, you can install it on your computer and recover the deleted Adobe Illustrator files. Here’s how you can do it:
- Download and install the data recovery application of your choice on your computer.
- Next, launch the application and select the drive (or folder) which held the Adobe Illustrator files before their deletion.
- Click on the “Search for lost data” or “Scan” button to start the scanning process. This process will take a few minutes to complete, so wait patiently.
- Once the scanning process is complete, the application will show you a list of recoverable files. Browse the list and select the Adobe Illustrator files you want to restore.
- Now, click on the “Recover” option.
- Select a folder to store the chosen files and click on the “OK” button. The files will be downloaded to the folder you picked.
Bonus: Turning on Illustrator Autosave to Prevent Data Loss
The Autosave feature of Adobe Illustrator allows you to keep your unsaved files (except for the complex files such as 3-D model rendering) safe and prevent data loss in most cases. However, you need to turn on this feature before it can do its work. Here’s how you can enable Illustrator’s Autosave feature and prevent data loss:
- Launch Adobe Illustrator on your computer and go to the “Preferences” section.
- Click on the “File Handling/Clipboard” option and then go to the “Data Recovery” section.
- Now, check the box beside the text “Automatically Save Recovery Data,” and select a proper time interval for the “Autosave” feature to kick in.
- Select a location to save the backup files and click on the “OK” button to confirm the updated settings.
That’s it. Now, the autosave feature will activate in regular intervals according to the timer set by you. We recommend you set the time interval to 2 minutes to ensure Adobe Illustrator can backup as many files as possible. This will increase the chances of file recovery from the backup folder in case of an unforeseen accident.