Autocad Autosave Files

Like many applications, Autocad creates autosave files from time to time and stores these in a temporary location in case they need to be recovered. Also in common with many applications, these files aren’t always easy to locate or work with. This blog post covers where and when these files are created and what you can do with them.

Autocad creates two types of autosave file – *.bak (backup) files and *.sv$ (save) files. Backup files are created when you modify and save a drawing and contain an unmodified copy of the drawing. If you open the drawing and modify and save it again, then the first backup file will be overwritten. Basically it’s like a versioning system that always allows you to roll back one version, so if you click ‘Save’ and then regret it, you can recover the previous version of the drawing. Autocad backup files are created in the same location as the drawing file.


Autosave files are created on a schedule, with the intention that should your computer crash or you inadvertently don’t save the drawing, you will be able to recover a relatively recent copy of your work. Microsoft Office does the same thing. You can change the save interval and the location from Options > Files and Options > Open and save. The default autosave interval is 10 minutes and the default location is the user’s temporary folder. (An easy way to find the temporary folder is to enter ‘%temp%’ in the address bar of explorer. )


So what can you do with these files once you’ve found them? It turns out that these files are actually full copies of the Autocad drawing file at a point in time. This means that you can simply change the file extension to *.dwg and then open the drawing in Autocad. By default Windows hides the file extensions from you, so if you can’t find any *.bak or *.sv$ files, try this.

Hope this helps someone!

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