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How to Recover Files Deleted from the Recycle Bin

Accidentally deleting important files can cause serious problems. The Windows Recycle Bin is designed to protect you from losing data, but what can you do if you have emptied the Bin and your files are gone? We are going to show you several ways to perform a Recycle Bin recovery. We recommend Disk Drill as the best option to recover files deleted from the Recycle Bin.
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Is Recycle Bin Recovery Possible?

In a word, yes. When the Windows operating system deletes an item, it does not physically remove it from your storage media. Though you can’t see or access the data, it can be recovered even after you empty the Recycle Bin. The key is to recover files deleted from the Recycle Bin before they are overwritten by new data. To accomplish this goal, you should stop using your computer until after you are finished restoring your lost files. We will present several methods to recover files that have been deleted from the Recycle Bin if you act quickly.

How to Recover Deleted Files From the Recycle Bin

There is no need to panic if you have deleted important files from your Recycle Bin. You can use one of these methods to get your valuable data back.

5 Easy Steps

Recover Deleted Files from the Recycle Bin After Emptying (with software)

Here are the steps necessary to recover files from an empty Recycle Bin using reliable data recovery software. Disk Drill is a professional-grade application that offers average users access to sophisticated data recovery tools. Remember to act quickly before your operating system overwrites your valuable data with new information.

Step 1. Download Disk Drill and install it

Download and install Disk Drill on an external storage device since you will be recovering from the Recycle Bin which lives on your main hard drive. Installing the software on your main drive may overwrite the data you wish to recover.
  • how to recover deleted files from recycle bin
    Download Disk Drill for Windows
  • recover files deleted from recycle bin
    Install the app
  • recover recycle bin
    Open Disk Drill

Step 2. Launch Disk Drill and analyze storage device

Launch Disk Drill and select the drive for recovery from the disk list. To recover files from an emptied Recycle Bin, choose your computer’s main hard drive.
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Step 3. Search for lost files

Click the Search for lost data button to start scanning the disk for deleted files. You can choose a quick or deep scan or let the software run all its scanning algorithms in an optimized way.
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Step 4. Preview the found files

Preview the files that are available for recovery. You can filter scan results so you only see the types of files you are interested in recovering. Choose a new storage location that is not on the disk that contains the Recycle Bin to avoid file corruption or data being overwritten.
how to recover deleted files from recycle bin after empty

Step 5. Restore deleted files from Recycle Bin

Click the Recover button to restore the selected items. When the process is complete, you will have your lost files back and can start using your computer again without worrying about overwriting the deleted data.
can you recover files deleted from recycle bin

Protecting Files From Accidentally Emptying the Recycle Bin

The best free Recycle Bin recovery method is protecting your files in advance with Disk Drill for Windows. It offers a simple genius Recovery Vault method so that you never lose any files again. This method works on FAT32 and NTFS. With Recovery Vault enabled all your deleted files are thoroughly tracked and whenever you see the important file is missing, just go to "Undelete Protected Data" option of Disk Drill.
restore recycle bin

Other Methods to Restore Deleted Files from the Recycle Bin

Recover directly from the Recycle Bin

If you have not emptied it, you can perform a restoration from the Recycle Bin with this procedure.

Step 1. Open the Recycle Bin by clicking its icon.

Step 2. Locate the files you wish to restore. They will be recovered to their original location which is displayed in the Recycle Bin.

Step 3. Click on the Restore button to recover the files.

recycle bin recovery

Restore Files Deleted From the Recycle Bin With Previous Versions

Windows saves previous versions of a file when it creates a restore point. Try these steps to attempt this type of recovery.

Step 1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder that contained the lost files before they were sent to the Recycle Bin.

Step 2. Right-click on the item you would like to recover and select Restore previous versions.

Step 3. Choose the version of the file you would like to recover and click the Restore button.

how to recover deleted files from recycle bin

Recover Files Deleted From the Recycle Bin With the Command Prompt

You may be able to recover deleted files by using the command line on your system. Try these steps:

Step 1. Open a Command Prompt on your Windows machine.

Step 2. Type chkdsk "drive letter": /f and press Enter:

chkdsk D: /f

Step 3. Press Y until the command line reappears.

Step 4. Type the drive letter and hit Enter.

Step 5. Enter this command:

ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D D:*.*


These commands display hidden folders that may contain your lost data. Filenames will be displayed in generic form, making it hard to determine if the files you wanted have been recovered.
recover files deleted from recycle bin

Use Backup Media to Recover Files Deleted From the Recycle Bin

Depending on the Windows version you are running, different methods are used with the native backup and restore capabilities built into the OS.
  • recover recycle bin

    Windows 10

    Step 1. Open the folder containing the items you want to restore.

    Step 2. Click the Home tab.

    Step 3. Click the History button to start the File History program.

    Step 4. Choose the items and versions you want to restore.

    Step 5. Click the Restore button and select how to handle naming conflicts.

  • recycle bin recovery free

    Earlier Windows versions

    Step 1. Open Backup and Restore.

    Step 2. Click Restore my files.

    Step 3. Locate the files you want in the Restore Files dialog box.

    Step 4. Select the location where the files will be restored and how to handle duplicates files.

    Step 5. Click the link to View Restored files and Finish to close the dialog box.

Tips for Making Better Use of the Recycle Bin

These tips will help you use the Recycle Bin more effectively and reduce the need to recover deleted files from it.
  • Enable deletion confirmation

    Enable deletion confirmation

    Have Windows confirm file deletions with these steps:

    Step 1. Right-click on the Recycle Bin and select properties.

    Step 2. Open the General Tab.

    Step 3. Check the box next to Display delete confirmation dialog.

  • Show and hide the Recycle Bin

    Show and hide the Recycle Bin

    Check or uncheck the Recycle Bin checkbox to show it or hide it with these steps:

    Step 1. Select the Start button, then select Settings.

    Step 2. Select Personalization > Themes > Desktop icon settings.

    Step 3. Select the Recycle Bin checkbox > Apply.

  • Increase the size of the Recycle Bin

    Increase the size of the
    Recycle Bin

    Increasing the Recycle Bin’s size allows it to hold more data before automatically rolling off the oldest items as it fills up. Use this procedure:

    Step 1. Right-click on the Recycle Bin and select Properties.

    Step 2. Modify the value in the Custom size field to the size you prefer.

    Step 3. Click Apply.

  • Change how long items remain in the Recycle Bin

    Change how long items remain in the Recycle Bin

    By default, Windows keeps files in the Recycle Bin for 30 days or until its space is exceeded. You can modify this setting by opening System -> Storage and clicking on the Change how we free up space automatically link. Set the number of days to your desired length of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

To recover a file from the Recycle Bin use these steps:

  1. Open the Recycle Bin;
  2. Locate the items you want to recover;
  3. Click the Restore button to retrieve your selections.

Use these steps to recover data from an empty Recycle Bin:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Launch the app and select the disk that contains the Recycle Bin.
  3. Click the Search for lost data button to start scanning.
  4. Preview found files and choose those to be recovered.
  5. Click Recover to restore the files.

Recover deleted files from the Windows 10 Recycle Bin with these steps:

  1. Open the Recycle Bin by clicking its icon.
  2. Locate the items you wish to recover.
  3. Select the files or folders for recovery by highlighting their checkbox.
  4. Right-click and choose Restore to recover the data to its original location.

Without software, you need a backup copy of the data to restore it after it has been deleted from the Recycle Bin. Recovery software repairs the deleted logical connection while restoring from a backup creates a new connection to a physical copy of the data. This is why taking backups is important.

Items may not appear in the Recycle Bin for several reasons. The system may be set up to skip the bin and permanently delete data. In this case, you need to enable the Recycle Bin by right-clicking on its icon and selecting Properties. You might need to add space to the Bin so it can handle large files.

Yes, you can. The free trial version of Disk Drill enables you to recover up to 500 MB of data before upgrading to the pro version of the software. This is the best way to discover the power and intuitive ease of operation of the tool by performing a real data recovery without any financial commitment.

Yes you can, with Disk Drill data recovery software. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Download, install, and launch the free version of Disk Drill.
  2. Select the disk that contained the Recycle Bin from the app’s list of available devices.
  3. Click the Search for lost data button to start the scanning algorithms.
  4. Preview the recoverable data and select the files you want to restore.
  5. Click the Recover button to perform the recovery. The free Windows version of Disk Drill lets you restore up to 500 MB for free.
When files are emptied from the Recycle Bin they still physically exist on your hard drive. They remain there until the space they occupied is overwritten by new data. Once they are overwritten, the only recovery method is using backup storage media.
To undo the process of emptying the Recycle Bin you will need to use data recovery software or a backup of the deleted items. As long as the data has not been overwritten, it can be recovered with software like Disk Drill.

You cannot delete the Recycle Bin but you can delete its icon. If your Recycle Bin is corrupted, it may disappear from your desktop. Use this procedure to get it back:

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings.
  2. Select Personalization > Themes > Desktop icon settings.
  3. Select the Recycle Bin check box > Apply.

Use this procedure to change the space allocated to the Recycle Bin.

  1. Right-click on the Recycle Bin and select Properties.
  2. Modify the value in the Custom size field to the amount of space you prefer.
  3. Click Apply.

Use these steps to show or unhide the Recycle Bin Icon.

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings.
  2. Select Personalization > Themes > Desktop icon settings.
  3. Select the Recycle Bin check box > Apply.

You can stop Windows from instantly deleting files by activating the deletion confirmation dialog box. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the Recycle Bin and select properties.
  2. Open the General Tab.
  3. Check the box next to Display delete confirmation dialog.
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    Marom Haion
    I really didn't believe it could work, BUT IT DID !! I got my accidentally deleted document back along with all of the trash bin's content ! Thank you so much, you just saved my life !!
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