All it takes to delete a file in Windows is a single button press, and all it takes to delete a file permanently is a single keystroke combination: Shift + Delete. When pulling an all-nighter to finish a school presentation or prepare documents for a business meeting, it’s very easy to make an honest mistake and accidentally delete a file using the Shift + Delete key combination.

how to recover shift deleted files in windows 10

In this article, we explain in detail what Shift + Delete does and provide you with several methods that you can use to recover shift deleted files.

What Does Shift + Delete Do?

To understand what Shift + Delete does, it’s useful to first review what happens when you press the Delete key on its own.

When you select a file and press the Delete key, the selected file is moved to the Recycle Bin, which is a temporary storage area for files that have been deleted by the user but have not yet been permanently erased from the file system.

what does shift delete doWhen you delete a file by pressing Shift + Delete, the file isn’t moved to the Recycle Bin. Instead, Windows simply marks the storage area occupied by the file as being available for use by modifying the file table, a complete list of files with their various attributes.

Is Shift Deleted File Recovery Possible?

As we’ve just explained, shift deleted files don’t go anywhere when they are deleted. If you start recovering shift deleted files before Windows overwrites them with new files, you can get them back. The difficult part is figuring out how to recover shift deleted files on how to recover shift deleted files in windows 10 Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista/XP.

what does shift delete do

In the next section of this article, we present seven ways to recover shift deleted files. Our first stop is Disk Drill, a data recovery software suite for Windows that allows you to recover up to 500 MB of data for free with a simple click of a button.

recovering shift delete files Method 1: Disk Drill

Performing the recovery of shift deleted files using Disk Drill is easy because the software delivers the best results possible with the least amount of effort required from the user. 

To recover shift deleted files:

  1. Download Disk Drill for how to recover shift deleted files in windows 10 Windows.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Open the downloaded file and install Disk Drill.
  3. Launch Disk Drill and click the "Search for lost data" button next to the storage device from which you want to recover shift deleted files.recover shift deleted files
  4. Wait until Disk Drill finishes scanning the storage device.recovering shift delete files
  5. Choose which files you want to recover and optionally change the recovery location.

    Disk Drill allows you to preview files before recovery. Simply right-click on a file and choose Preview from the list of options.

    how to recover shift deleted files
  6. Click the "Recover" button and enjoy your files.what does shift delete do

As you can see, anyone can recover shift deleted files using Disk Drill in just a couple of minutes and without any expert knowledge! That’s because Disk Drill is designed with the average user in mind, unlike many other data recovery software tools, which often seem incomprehensible without a lengthy manual.

recover shift deleted files Method 2: File History

All recent versions of the Windows operating system come with a handy backup feature called File History, which saves copies of your files so you can get them back if they’re lost or damaged. To activate File History:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to "Update & Security > Backup".
  3. Add a backup drive by clicking on the Add a drive to recover shift deleted files
  4. An on/off slider will now appear under a new heading called "Automatically back up my files". Make sure the slider is in the "On" to recover shift deleted files in windows 10

If the “Automatically back up my files” toggle has been in the “On” position for some time, the chances are that your shift deleted files are included in a recent File History backup. In such a case, you can recover them like this: 

  1. Right-click the folder that contained the shift deleted file.
  2. Choose Restore previous version from the context menu. On Windows 11, you need to click Show more options first. restore previous version context menu
  3. Select the version you want to restore and click the Restore button.restore previous version restore

Keep in mind that Windows 10 backs up only the folders in your User folder, and it does so every hour. You can change these settings by clicking on More options right under the on/off slider.

Backup_center_icon Method 3: Backup and Restore

If you’re using an older version of the Windows operating system and have access only to the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) feature to protect your files against data loss, then you can follow these instructions instead to check if the backup feature is enabled:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to "System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7)".
  3. Select an available backup in the Restore section or click the Select another backup to restore files from option if no backup is listed.
    backup and restore select backup

how to recover shift deleted files in windows 10 Method 4: Live File Recovery CD or USB Drive

There are many Linux-based file recovery live CDs and USB drives that you can use to safely recover deleted files from your computer. Because Linux-based file recovery live CDs and USB drives access the storage device with the deleted files only during the actual recovery process, they provide a fairly good chance of successful recovery.

recover shift deleted files

We recommend PhotoRec, which is a media data recovery tool designed to recover lost files including video, documents, and archives from a variety of storage devices. It’s beyond the scope of this article to explain how to recover shift deleted files with PhotoRec, so make sure to read this step-by-step tutorial, which explains how to use PhotoRec in great detail.

how to recover shift deleted files in windows 10 Method 5: AnyRecover

Another data recovery tool that you can use to recover shift deleted files that can’t be found in the Recycle Bin is called AnyRecover. To recover shift deleted files with AnyRecover:

  1. Download AnyRecover software
  2. Open AnyRecover.
  3. Choose "Deleted Files Recovery" to recover shift deleted files
  4. Choose the storage device where you intend to recover your lost data.recovering shift delete files
  5. Select the file extensions of the files you want to recover.
  6. Click the "Scan" button to begin the process of recovery.
  7. Wait for AnyRecover to finish scanning.recover shift deleted files
  8. Select which files you want to recover and specify the recovery location.

    Do not choose to save the files to the location from where they went lost.

  9. Click the "Recover" button to retrieve your files.recovering shift delete files

windows file recovery Method 6: Windows File Recovery

windows file recovery windows 11

Windows File Recovery is a command-line data recovery tool released by Microsoft. The tool is designed to help Windows users recover shift deleted files from internal and external storage devices. Because it doesn’t have a graphical user interface, it’s considerably less user friendly than Disk Drill. This is what its syntax looks like: 

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

For example, this is how it can be used to recover the main Documents folder on drive C to a recovery folder on drive G:

winfr C: G: /regular /n \Users\<username>\Documents\ 

You can enter these and other commands supported by Windows File Recovery into Windows Terminal or Command Prompt.

cloud backups Method 7: Cloud Backups

cloud backup download files

The latest versions of the Windows operating system integrate Microsoft’s cloud backup service, OneDrive. Those who use it to back up their most important files enjoy an additional backup location from which they can recover shift deleted files. 

Of course, many other cloud backup services exist, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Mega, and so on. These services safely store files in remote data centers, and they can keep them in sync across multiple personal devices, protecting you not only from accidental shift delete but also natural disasters, theft, and other common causes of data loss. 

recover shift deleted files Bonus: Professional Data Service

If you don’t feel that you have the skills or time necessary to recover shift deleted files yourself, you can always take advantage of professional data recovery services. However, you should be prepared to pay quite a lot of money to get your files back, and some professional data recovery places don’t even guarantee successful recovery. There’s also the issue of privacy since you wouldn’t be the first person in the world to have his or her personal data stolen by an employee working for a professional data recovery place.

how to recover shift deleted files in windows 10Considering how simple and cost-effective it is to recover shift deleted files with Disk Drill, we highly recommend you give it a try before you spend your hard-earned money on professional data recovery services.


There are several different ways how to recover shift deleted files on how to recover shift deleted files in windows 10 Windows 11/10/8/7/XP, but the one we recommend the most is Disk Drill. This highly intuitive data recovery software solution makes data recovery a matter of a simple mouse click while delivering professional results and featuring several extra free disk tools.


David Morelo

David Morelo is a professional content writer specializing in the technology niche, covering a wide range of topics from consumer products to emerging technologies and their cross-industry applications. His passion for te...

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Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.