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How to Recover Illustrator File After Crash

Lost Illustrator file after Illustrator crash? What will you do to recover Illustrator after a crash? Refer to two optional ways here in this article to save your work on Illustrator and get lost Illustrator files back with ease.

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Table of Contents

"I use Illustrator CC, and now I have a problem. My questions are here. How and where do I recover my Illustrator file after Illustrator CC crashed, which happened when I was working on it? Where can I set up the Autosave options in case that one day I'd lose a file again?"

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Recover Illustrator Files from Backup To recover unsaved Illustrator files from auto-recovery backup: Go to the Illustrator backup location: C:/Users//AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator Settings/en_US*/x64/Adobe Illustrator Prefs.  Select the file you want to recover...Full steps
2. Restore the Illustrator Files with Software To recover deleted or lost Illustrator files, use a professional file recovery tool. Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your computer. Choose the drive where you lost files, start scanning, and then preview and restore data...Full steps

Adobe Illustrator Crash Problem

While working with Illustrator, sometimes, the editor crashes. That's mainly caused by its Autosave feature. You may ask, why? When data recovery is turned on, Illustrator may pause while backing up large or complex files. If the backup went wrong, it makes Illustrator halt, hang, and then crash. In addition to the Autosave feature, there are many other causes that may result in a software crash, like outdated software, incompatibility, third-party plugins, software bugs...

After the software crash, the Illustrator file (AI file) you were editing will be gone, apparently. Most of the time, it takes a quite long time to accomplish a vector design, 3-D rendering, and perspective drawing of an Illustrator file. Nobody would bear the loss without a save. Before presenting you the ways to recover Illustrator files, we will show you how to turn on the Autosave feature in Illustrator. If you have enabled this feature, you can move on to learn how to recover files from the backup files. While if you haven't turned it on yet, follow the steps below to switch it on to avoid further data loss.

Enable Illustrator Autosave to Prevent Data Loss After Illustrator crashes

Although the Autosave feature in Illustrator may cause a software crash, it's necessary to turn it on. With this Autosave on, you can recover your unsaved Illustrator files from the backup file after a crash or an accidental shutdown, closing the software without saving, and more. 

Steps to enable Illustrator Autosave:

Step 1: Go to "Preferences" > "File Handling & Clipboard" > "Data Recovery".

Step 2: Select the checkbox "Automatically Save Recovery Data Every" to turn on data recovery.

Step 3: Set time interval "xx minutes" to automatically save a file. (Setting a short interval will interrupt your work, while a long one increases the chance of data loss. Choose a time interval best suited for you.)

Step 4: Click "Choose" to set a location where Illustrator stores backup files.

Step 5: Select the checkbox "Turn off Data Recovery for complex documents" to prevent your workflow from being interrupted and Illustrator being crashed.

Illustrator data recovery preferences

Whenever Illustrator crashes, the data recovery function will be automatically turned off. Therefore, you should re-enable the Autosave function every time the software crashes to increase the possibility of recovering lost illustrator files.

Method 1. Recover Illustrator Files from Backup

In some cases, when you relaunch the program after its crash, the file you were working on will show up and be marked as "recovered". If you see the recovered file, save it as a new file and continue working on it. However, that doesn't always work. You may either try to recover the lost file from backups or use the Adobe file recovery software to do the recovery. Hope at least one of them would help save your Illustrator artwork.

If you have turned on Illustrator Autosave, Method 1 will work perfectly for you. By default, the location of Illustrator backup files is:

C:/Users//AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator Settings/en_US*/x64/Adobe Illustrator Prefs;

To recover files from the backup files made by the Autosave feature:

Step 1: Go to the location where you store the backup files, be it the default folder or the folder you set manually.

Step 2: Locate all the files the name of which have words like "recovery" or messy code. Select the one you want to recover and rename the file.

Step 3: Double-click the file to open it with Illustrator.

Step 4: Click the "File" menu and select "Save As"'. Type a new name for the file into the Name field, select a folder for the file and click the "Save" button.

Note that you can only recover a previous version of the lost Illustrator file. If the software crash happens between recovery intervals, you might fail to recover your files.

Method 2. Restore Illustrator Files by using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

If there is file loss after the crash and you have no backup available, you can try to recover your lost AI files using the data recovery software -  EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. If you find you have lost Illustrator files or can't locate the backup files while trying method 1, for they are hidden, lost, or deleted, EaseUS file recovery software would quickly find them out in three steps. 

EaseUS Illustrator Data Recovery Tool

  • Recover lost files, documents, photos, audio, music, and emails effectively
  • Restore data after deleting, formatting, virus attack, system crash, and more.
  • Recover emptied Recycle Bin, corrupted hard drive, RAW drive, etc.
  • Support over 1000 types of files like DOC/DOCX, XLS/XLSX, PPT/PPTX, M4A, MP3, JPG/JPEG, AVI, MOV, MP4, and more.
 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
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Step 1. Launch EaseUS file recovery software on your Windows computer. Choose the exact location where you lost the files and click the "Scan" button.

select a location to scan

Step 2. The software will immediately start scanning the drive, and the deleted files will be displayed soon. If you find the files you need during the scan, you can stop the scan. In order to find the target file quickly, you can use the file format filter.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Select files, such as Word, Excel, PDF, photos, videos, or emails and click the "Recover" button. You can browse for a different location to keep the recovered files.

Recover lost data

The software can recover lost files but cannot recover lost content in a file. Thus, if you attempt to restore the content you were working on, using Method 1 instead. If you have no backup available, it's highly likely you can't get your files back anymore.

The Bottom Line

Software crashes or other situations that cause data loss occur almost inevitably when you use the software. Thus, you are highly recommended to turn on the Autosave feature in Illustrator to minimize the chance of losing the progress on the file you are working on. 

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization.

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Approved by Evan Galasso

Evan Galasso is a digital forensics and data recovery engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field. He presents opinions on the current state of storage media, reverse engineering of storage systems and firmware, and electro-mechanical systems of SSDs and HDDs.

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