Even important files are not always secured enough from accidental deletion. And if they were deleted and your Recycle Bin was wiped clean before you realized they were gone, then the situation may appear so desperate! Thankfully, we have created an amazingly capable app that we are very proud of – Disk Drill, that knows how to recover deleted files and even lost partition.
Quick & Easy Method: How to Recover Deleted Files on Windows 11/10/8/7
The first place to look when you need to recover deleted files on a Windows 11/10/8/7 Computer is the Recycle Bin. It’s a special folder that the operating system uses to temporarily store deleted items so they can be recovered quickly and easily. Follow these directions to restore files from the Recycle Bin on Windows 10/11.
How to recover deleted files on Windows with Recycle Bin:
Open the Recycle Bin by clicking on its icon.
Search for the files you wish to recover.
Right-click on the file or folder you want to recover.
Select the Restore option from the menu to recover the item to its original location. Another method is to drag the files out of the Recycle Bin to the desktop or another storage location.
The Best Ways to Reliably Recover Deleted Files for Free
It’s easy to accidentally delete files and sometimes there is no backup available. Don’t panic. Here are several methods that can be used to restore deleted files on your Windows machine. Use free data recovery software. Benefits of this recommended method include:
Restore up to 500 MB of data for free;
Preview files before performing a recovery;
Recover files in any format;
Obtain free file protection and data backup tools;
Mount scan results as a virtual drive;
Perform S.M.A.R.T. monitoring of your HDD or SSD.
Undeleting lost files even after emptying Recycle Bin is actually quite a possibility, if you have Disk Drill, of course. It offers unique algorithms for deleted files restoration no matter what type of file system you are using or what type of files you want to get back.
As soon as you realize you deleted a file or a whole partition the best thing to do is disconnect the storage and boot from another drive rather than the one with erased data. Try not to use the drive with deleted data until you are ready to perform the deleted files recovery.
5 easy steps
Method 1. How to Recover Deleted Files with File Recovery Software
1. Download and Install Disk Drill for Windows
Download Disk Drill for Windows from our website. After installing the software, run it and then follow the steps below to recover deleted files on your Windows PC. You can recover deleted files for free with Disk Drill for Windows if they are under 500 MB covered by Basic edition of the app or you enabled Recovery Vault on your drive prior to data loss.
Download Disk Drill for Windows
Install the app
Open Disk Drill
2. Select the drive and search for lost files
Choose the drive or partition from which you need to recover deleted files from the list displayed by Disk Drill. Scanning the complete drive produces more complete recovery results. The software can get back lost files from virtually all types of disk-based storage devices. After selecting the recovery location, click the Search for lost data button to start the tool’s sophisticated scanning algorithms which will find your deleted data.
Disk Drill provides users with the ability to preview the files found during the scanning process before performing the actual recovery. This feature can save a lot of time by enabling you to verify that the file you are recovering is really the one that you want. It streamlines and simplifies the recovery process and eliminates extra wear and tear on the affected disk device.
Disk Drill supports the recovery of hundreds of different file types, including
Photos in a wide variety of formats such as JPG, PNG and TIFF files. Pictures can usually not be replaced, so the ability to recover these valuable memories is vitally important in recovery software.
Videos that have been downloaded or created by users can be restored easily with this application. It supports the AVI, DV, MOV, MKV, and MP4 format as well as many others that should be able to get back any video that has been accidentally lost.
RAW camera images are the preferred file format used by many digital cameras. Some of the RAW formats supported by Disk Drill include Nikon NEF, CR2 and CR3 by Cannon, and GoPro GPR among many others.
Music files in the MP3, AIF, and WAV formats are all recoverable by this data recovery tool. It enables users to easily get back those tunes that were inadvertently deleted while they were cleaning their device’s storage.
Documents are created in many formats on your Windows computer and using this recovery software lets you restore deleted files in DOCX, PPTX, and XLSX formats to name just a few of the supported file types.
A status bar shows the progress of the scan which can be paused at any point by the user. You will get the best results by allowing the scan to complete, but you may be able to save time by searching to see if the files you need have already been identified by the application. Check the box to the left of a file to choose it for recovery. You always have a choice to either restore the whole drive or recover deleted partition.
4.1 Use "filters" for a faster search or to select a specific file type
You can narrow down your search to specific types of files that have been identified as recoverable by the software for recovering deleted data. The application presents users with windows that contain files in the following categories: Pictures, Video, Audio, Documents, Archives, and other files. This feature makes it much easier to locate the precise files you want to recover without having to sort through the complete scan results.
4.2 Search for files
Use the search bar at the top of the app’s window to locate files with standard search terms like *.jpg or filename.*. You can also perform a full scan and search for the specific files you want to restore by opening the appropriate window containing their file type. Inside the window will be a list naming the files that have been found along with reconstructed files whose names could not be determined by the application. Check the boxes next to the files you wish to restore or click the Recover all button to get back all of the data.
4.3 Check the Reconstruction section
The Reconstruction section of each window contains files that can be recovered by Disk Drill but do not have sufficient metadata available to provide a file name. The deep scanning algorithms can reconstruct lost data based on their file signatures. While their names may not be evident, you can preview the files to determine if they are what you want before you recover them.
5. Recover the deleted files
After making the selection of the files you want to restore, simply click the Recover button. At this point, you are prompted to choose a storage location where the recovered data will be stored. You should not use the same device that experienced data loss to avoid further corruption or overwriting files before they can be recovered. Click OK when you have chosen the storage location.
Not only deleted files recovery - Free Real-time File Protection
Did you know that if you protect yourself in advance you can recover deleted files for free? Disk Drill for Windows Basic edition offers amazing feature called Recovery Vault. This feature is a simple genius keeping track of all deleted files and saving data about each of them. Whenever you realize you need to recover deleted files they will be undeleted in no time!
4 OTHER EASY METHODS
Other Methods to Recover Deleted Files on Windows
Here are some other methods that you can use to attempt the recovery of deleted data on your Windows computer.
Recover deleted data with Recycle Bin
The Recycle Bin is where files that have recently been deleted are stored temporarily by the Windows operating system. You can recover files until you empty the bin or until the files roll-off due to time or capacity constraints.
To Recover Deleted Files on PC Windows 11/10/8/7 with the Recycle Bin follow these steps:
Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking its icon.
Locate the files you want to recover and select them by checking the box to the left of their name.
Check the column displaying the original location of the file so you can find it easily after recovery.
Right-click on the selection and choose Restore.
Let the process complete and then verify that the files have been recovered to their original location.
Restore Deleted Files from the Previous Version (if you have enabled System Restore)
If you have enabled the Windows System Restore facility, you may be able to recover a previous version of the file using this native operating system feature. Here’s how to do it.
To restore a deleted file from a previous version, you need to:
Open My Computer.
Navigate to the folder that previously contained the file or files you want to recover.
Right-click and select Restore previous versions.
Windows will display a list of previous versions of the files that were created with Windows backup or saved as restore points.
Double-click the previous version of the file that you want to recover.
Drag the file to a new storage location where it will be saved and available for further use.
Restore from a Manual Backup
Backups are a great way to protect your valuable files and will come in very handy if you are faced with a data loss situation. If you have followed best practices and are making backups of your data regularly, you may be able to recover your lost files by using the backup media.
This implies that backups were made in the time between when the files were introduced to your computer and when they were deleted. Here are the general steps to use when using a backup to recover your lost data.
Find the storage device that contains your backups and attach it to your machine.
Launch File Explorer and locate the delete files on the backup storage device.
Copy (not move!) the files you want to recover from the backup storage device back to the original device
Use the File History Feature
The Windows operating system comes with an incremental backup feature called File History. When enabled, File History automatically creates backups of files in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders on your computer.
Best of all, File History keeps multiple backup copies of the same files, so you can recover, for example, older versions of documents. To restore files and folders using File History:
Open the Start menu and type "Restore your files with File History" in the search bar.
Select the Restore your files with File History option.
Navigate to the location where the deleted folder or file was located.
Select the folder or file you want to restore.
Click the green Restore button to restore the selected folder or file back to its original location.
Use the Legacy Backup and Restore (Windows 7) Feature
All versions of Windows since Windows 7 come with a feature called Backup and Restore. By default, this feature backs up data saved in libraries, on the desktop, and in default Windows folders, but you can also manually choose exactly what you want to back up.
If you've created a backup using the Backup and Restore feature, then restoring your deleted files from it should be painless:
Open the Start menu and type "Control Panel" in the search bar.
Select the Control Panel app from the list of results.
Navigate to System and Security > Backup and Restore.
Click the Select another backup to restore files from option.
Select your backup and click Next.
Specify what you want to restore and click Next.
Decide if you want to restore the backup to a different location.
Click Restore to start the process.
Recover Your Lost Files from OneDrive
Recent versions of Windows integrate Microsoft's cloud backup service, OneDrive, to provide users with a simple way to safely back up up to 5 GB of data for free. If you've been using the service to protect important files, then you should be able to recover them in no time:
If all other methods fail, you may need to engage the assistance of a professional data recovery service. This can prove to be expensive and is not the most convenient method of getting your files back. You will need to get your device to the recovery service and will be without it for the time needed to perform the recovery. These services often require access to the device before quoting a price for the restoration operation.
Use these steps if you are considering a professional data recovery service:
Make your selection and follow the vendor’s guidelines to send them your storage device.
Ship or deliver the device to the company and obtain a price for the recovery.
Complete the financial transaction with the recovery service and let them recover your files.
Pick up the device and start using your files again.
How to Recover deleted files on different platforms
One of the most effective ways of recovering deleted data on Windows 10/11 machines is with the built-in backup facility provided by the operating system.
Follow these steps to recover deleted files on Windows 10/11:
Step 1. Open the File Explorer and navigate to the folder containing the files you want to recover.
Step 2. Click the Home tab. Step 3. Click the History button which starts the File History program. Step 4. Select the files and versions you want to recover. Step 5. Click the Restore button and choose how duplicate file names will be handled.
There are many methods with which to recover deleted files on a Windows 8/8.1/7 system. The first one you should try is to recover your files from the Windows Recycle Bin with the following steps:
Step 1. Click the Recycle Bin icon to open it. Step 2. Locate the files you want to recover. Note their original location as that is where they will be found after the process completes. Step 3. Click the Restore button to perform the recovery.
One of the most reliable and effective ways to recover deleted data from a macOS system is with Disk Drill.
Follow these simple steps to recover deleted files on Mac:
Step 1. Download and install Disk Drill for Mac. Step 2. Launch the program and select the disk with the deleted files. Step 3. Click the Recover button to begin scanning for lost data. Step 4. Preview the files that Disk Drill has found and select the items you want to restore. Step 5. Press Recover a second time to perform the recovery.
PhotoRec and TestDisk are versatile freeware data recovery tools that support a variety of operating systems including Linux. Here are the required steps to use this software to recover lost files on your Linux machine:
Step 1. Enter the command: sudo apt -y install testdisk Step 2. Navigate to the directory that contained the deleted data. Step 3. Enter the command: sudo photorec Step 4. Select the hard drive for recovery and hit Enter. Step 5. Choose the partition and file type that you wish to recover. Step 6. Specify the partition type and if you want to tool to scan free sectors or the entire drive. Step 7. Change folders if necessary with command-line navigation. Step 8. Press C when ready to recover your files. They will be restored to the recup_dir folder. Filenames are not restored so you need to preview and rename the recovered files.
If you accidentally delete a file on Ubuntu with file manager, it is moved to the operating system’s Trash. Here are the steps you can use to get the file back:
Step 1. Open the Activities overview and start typing the word Files. Step 2. Click on Files to open the file manager. Step 3. Click on Trash in the sidebar. Press the Menu button and select Sidebar if it is not visible. Step 4. Locate the deleted file. Step 5. Click on the file and select Restore. It will be recovered to its original folder.
There are many online backup services available that eliminate the need for users to have additional storage devices on which to store their backups. Using one offers protection against accidentally deleting your files with backups that are always available.
Use updated anti-virus software
Many file loss scenarios are initiated by infection from viruses and malware. Using an anti-virus application that is kept updated with the latest virus signatures can protect you from this type of data loss.
Stop using your computer
As soon as you suspect that you have lost data, you should immediately stop using the affected computer or device. This will prevent the permanent loss of the files by having them overwritten by the operating system.
Save a few versions of a file every time you stop working
Enabling System Restore and saving copies of your files after you have finished working on them will save them in Windows restore points. The previous versions can then be recovered using native operating system functionality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated on by Disk Drill Team
How to recover permanently deleted files on Windows for free?
To recover deleted files from the Recycle Bin on Windows:
Open the Recycle Bin by right-clicking its icon.
Select "Open" from the menu to view deleted files.
Locate the files you want to recover.
Check the box next to the files and names you want to restore
Right-click on a selected file and choose ‘Restore’ to recover deleted file or folder to its original location. You can also drag out the files from Recycle Bin for restoring.
How do I recover permanently deleted files?
To recover lost or deleted files on Windows follow these steps:
Navigate and right-click on the folder that contained the permanently deleted folders or files.
Select ‘Restore previous versions’.
Windows will display a list of previous versions of the files that were created with Windows backup.
Double-click the previous version of the file or folder that you want to recover.
Click ‘Restore’ or drag & drop the file to a new storage location.
Connect the pendrive to your computer and start the app.
Click Search for lost data to start scanning the pendrive for deleted files.
Preview the data that the software can recover and select the files that you want to restore.
Click Recover to restore your files to a safe location that you will be prompted to select.
How to recover deleted files on PC?
If you've been taking advantage of the File History backup feature, then you can recover deleted files in a few simple steps:
Right-click the folder where your files were located.
Select Show more options (Windows 11 only) and click the Restore previous versions option.
Choose the most recent backup of the folder and click Open.
Select the files you want to recover.
Click the green restore button.
Are deleted files gone forever?
No, they are not, at least in most cases (TRIM-enabled SSDs are a notable exception). When you delete a file, it first goes to a special folder called the Recycle Bin. It then stays there until the Recycle Bin is emptied. When that happens, the storage space occupied by the files that were located inside the Recycle Bin is marked as empty, making it possible for new files to be stored there. Until that happens, the original files can still be recovered.
Where are permanently deleted files stored?
In most cases, permanently deleted files remain stored in their original locations until they are overwritten by new files. That can happen almost immediately, or it can take days, weeks, or even months. Until then, you can recover them using file recovery software applications.
How do I recover permanently deleted files on Windows 11?
If you’ve permanently deleted files from your Windows-based computer, you can use File History to restore the files. However, this will work only if you had this feature enabled before deleting the files.
Here’s how to recover permanently deleted files on Windows 11 via File History:
Click the Start icon on the taskbar. Type file history in the search field and hit Enter.
Choose Restore your files with File History.
Click History. Use the arrows to navigate through different file versions to find the deleted file.
Select the files that you wish to restore and click Restore.
How can I recover permanently deleted files without backup?
You can use the Attrib command to recover files that appear to be permanently deleted because their file attributes have been changed:
Open Windows Terminal with administrator privileges.
Copy & paste the following command into the terminal window: attrib-h-r-s /s /d X:*.* (make sure to replace "X" with the actual drive letter assigned to your storage device)
Press Enter and check if any files have been revealed.
Can System Restore recover deleted files?
Unfortunately, no. System Restore can only help to recover accidentally deleted important Windows system files. So if you want to recover personal files (photos, videos, documents, etc.), this tool will not be an option.