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How to Recover Illustrator File After Crash

Updated on Jul 10, 2019 by Jean to Resource


It's almost inevitable that Abobe Illustrator may crash when you use it at one time or another. Given the necessity to get back your AI files, here we provide two ways for you to recover lost Illustrator files after crashing, either with the Illustrator Autosave feature or with reliable data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

"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?"

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 In addition to the Autosave feature, there are many other causes that may result in a software crash, like outdated software, incompatibility, third-party plugins, software bugs...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 quite long 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 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 other similar situations like accidental shutdown, closing the software without saving, and more. 

  • 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

Recover AI Files via Illustrator Autosave or EaseUS File Recovery Software

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. Fortunately, there are other ways to retrieve a lost Illustrator file after the crash. You may either try to recover the lost file from backups or use the best Adobe file recovery software do the recovery. Hope at least one of them would help save your work on Illustrator with success.

Method 1. Restore Illustrator file from backup files

If you have turned on Illustrator Autosave, method 1 will work perfectly for you. By default, the backup files are usually stored in Windows "C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator [your version of Adobe Illustrator] Settings\en_US\AIPrefs;". 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, as Illustrator Data Recovery is not absolute. There could be a loss of data if a crash happens between recovery intervals.

Method 2. Restore the Illustrator file by using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

If there are file loss after the crash and you have no backup available, you can try to recover your lost AI files using the free data recovery software -  EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. If you find you have lost precious 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 by three steps. 

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.

Step 1. Connect your device to PC.

If you lost files on an external storage device, connect the storage device to your computer firstly.

Step 2. Run this software and scan the lost file.

Run EaseUS file recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard on your PC, specify the location where you lost files and click "Scan" to scan those lost files.

Run data recovery software.

Step 3. Preview and restore file.

After the scanning, you can find and double-click to preview your lost files here:

  • Delete Files: All your deleted files are listed here.
  • Drive (with your device name): It loads all lost files here.
  • Lost Partition Files: Check first if your hard drive is formatted or partition gets deleted.
  • Extra Files: All files that lost names or paths on your drive can be found here.
Scan and find lost files.

Step 4. Choose and restore files.

Finally, select the found files, click "Recover" and navigate to save them to a secure location on your PC or another external storage device.

Restore lost files.

The Bottom Line

Software crash or other situations that cause data loss occurs 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.