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9 Methods to Recover Deleted Files in Windows 10

Updated to Home > HowTos > File Recovery Tips in Windows by Robert on May 13, 2024 | Approved by Nancy

In the digital age, data is one of our most valuable assets. Whether it's cherished personal photos, critical work documents, or a project you've spent hours on, losing files can be a distressing experience. However, Windows 10 users can breathe a sigh of relief—most of the time, removed files can be recovered. Thankfully, several methods are available to recover deleted files in Windows 10. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you retrieve what you thought was lost.

Understanding File Deletion Before We Begin

Before we launch into undelete files Windows 10 methods, it's worth understanding how file deletion works. When you remove a file on Windows 10, the data is not deleted immediately, even if you empty the Recycle Bin, use Shift + Delete, or delete it from an external drive. Instead, the system marks the space occupied by the file as "available," meaning that new data can overwrite it. Until that happens, the file remains recoverable.

Remember: The quicker you take action to restore deleted files in Windows 10, the higher the chance of success. Once a file is overwritten, it becomes significantly harder, if not impossible, to recover.

How to Recover Deleted Files in Windows 10

For the recovery file for Windows 10, multiple methods exist to retrieve your data, including built-in features and third-party software. Next, let us take a look!

Method 1: Undoing a File Deletion

Imagine you just pressed 'Delete' and realized seconds later that you didn't mean to. Windows 10 provides a shortcut for this situation: Press 'Ctrl + Z' or 'Ctrl + Y' immediately to undo the last deletion.

This simple key combination can save the day if your file was recently deleted from a built-in disk or partition. However, if it is from an external drive or you perform other operations, this undelete Windows 10 mode will not work.

Method 2: Check the Recycle Bin

The second place to look for a deleted file is the Recycle Bin. Most removed items should be located here unless you have configured your system to bypass it. Here's how to recover a deleted file in Windows 10 from Recycle Bin:

  1. Double-click the 'Recycle Bin' icon on your desktop to open it.
  2. Browse the list of deleted items and find what you want.
  3. Right-click the file and select 'Restore' from the context menu.

  4. Open its original location to check it.

If the deleted files not showing in Recycle Bin, don't panic. There are additional options for recovery.

Method 3: Use Windows PowerShell

This method of recovering deleted files from Windows 10 is only effective under specific circumstances. But you can try it following the guide below.

  1. Right-click the 'Start' icon in the lower-left corner of the screen.
  2. Choose 'Windows PowerShell (Admin)' in the menu.
  3. Type 'chkdsk #: /f' (replace # with which drive the file is missing from) and press Enter.

  4. Open its original location to check it.
  5. (Optional) If the system detects that the hard drive is in use, you must enter 'Y' to unmount it.
  6. After completing the scan, type 'attrib -h -r -s /s /d #:*.*' and press Enter.

  7. Go to the target where the file disappeared to view them.

Method 4: By File History

It is a useful feature in Windows 10 and later versions that provides a straightforward way to regularly save copies of personal files stored in libraries, desktops, favorites, and contacts folders. If you have enabled it, you can restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 by the following guide:

  1. Access the folder where your file was located.
  2. Click on the 'Home' tab in File Explorer.
  3. Click on 'History' in the left-hand pane.

  4. Locate the file you deleted using the arrows at the bottom.
  5. Once you find the file, click the 'Restore' button in the center.

Method 5: From Previous Versions

The above method is invalid if you didn't set up File History in advance or synchronized time point misses the accidentally deleted file. Nevertheless, there's still a chance to find previous versions of a file:

  1. Right-click on the deleted file's folder and select 'Properties.'
  2. Go to the 'Previous Versions' tab.

  3. Select the version you want, and click 'Restore.'

Method 6: Use Backup and Restore

It is mainly used to create system and disk images. If you backed up this drive before the files were lost, you can use this option to undelete permanently deleted files in Windows 10. You can do this:

  1. Open 'Control Panel.'
  2. Navigate to 'System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).'
  3. Click 'Restore my files' and follow the wizard to select files or folders from your backup to restore.

Method 7: Use Recovery Software

Third-party data recovery tools may be the solution when the above methods are unsuccessful, or you're dealing with a more complicated data loss situation. Here, you can try iBeesoft Data Recovery, a comprehensive software designed to help users resume lost, deleted, or formatted items from various storage devices. Whether you've encountered data loss due to accidental deletion, disk formatting, system crashes, or virus attacks, it provides a reliable solution to retrieve your valuable data.

Here are steps to recover deleted files on Windows 10:

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery on your computer.
  2. Launch it and choose the location where your lost files were stored.
  3. Click 'Scan' to begin searching for deleted files.

  4. Once the scan is complete, browse the found data and preview them to check their integrity.

  5. Select the lost files and click 'Recover' to save them.

Method 8: Try Windows File Recovery

It is a command-line software application developed by Microsoft, designed to help users retrieve permanently deleted files in Windows 10 and above. Here is the guide:

  1. Search for "Windows File Recovery" in the Microsoft Store and install the application.
  2. Launch the Command Prompt with administrator rights.
  3. Type 'winfr C: D: /x /y:*.jpg' and Enter. (C is the target drive, D is the drive where the recoverable files are saved, and jpg is the suffix of your lost file.)

During the deleted file recovery process, the tool might prompt you for additional inputs. Follow any instructions provided to complete them.

Method 9: Use a Data Recovery Service

This service can help when you can not retrieve permanently deleted files in Windows 10, such as through the operating system or standard data recovery software tools. Here's the process of how it works:

  1. The process usually begins with an initial consultation; you must provide details about the device and the data loss circumstances.
  2. The service provider may then evaluate the potential for data recovery.
  3. Based on the evaluation, they will offer a quotation that outlines the cost and estimated time required for the recovery process.
  4. If the terms are accepted, the service provider proceeds with the file recovery effort. This can involve a combination of specialized hardware and software tools to extract the lost data. Recovery may occur in a clean room environment for physically damaged devices to prevent further dust or static electricity damage.
  5. Once the data is recovered, it's typically verified with the client to ensure the recovery meets their expectations. The data is returned to the client on a new storage device or via secure electronic transfer.

If you wish to rescue your precious data through this service, you only have to search for it.

While these methods can provide a lifeline in dire situations, you can check out the following enhancements to avoid disaster from happening again.

Preventing Future Data Loss

While knowing how to recover deleted files in Windows 10 is essential, preventing data loss in the first place is even more critical. Here are some precautions you can take:

Conclusion

Losing files can be frustrating, but we provide multiple avenues for file recovery on Windows 10. Starting with simple solutions like the undoing option and moving to more advanced methods involving recovery software or Windows File Recovery, the chances of retrieving your lost data are high. Remember that the sooner you attempt to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10, the better your chances, as continued computer use can overwrite the data you're trying to retrieve. As a precautionary measure, consider setting up File History or creating regular backups to minimize data loss in the future.

FAQs

  • The duration you can recover a deleted file in Windows 10 varies, but as a rule of thumb, you have a better chance if you act quickly. The longer you wait, the greater the possibility that the file's space will be overwritten with new data, making recovery more difficult or impossible. Quick action can mean the difference between a quick file restoration and a loss that's more challenging to recover from.

  • In general, it's a wise idea to minimize the use of your computer after you've realized that you lost files. Continued use can result in new data being written to your hard drive, potentially overwriting the files you want to restore.

  • Yes, you can. When you delete a file, it is usually put in the Recycle Bin, where you can easily find it. However, the file still isn't lost forever if you've emptied the Recycle Bin or used the 'Shift + Delete' command. The system just marks the space the file took up as free, meaning the data is still there until it's overwritten with new data. This is where third-party recovery software can help to retrieve your 'permanently' deleted files.

  • It is strongly recommended that recoverable files be saved to a different drive to minimize the risk of the original data becoming unrecoverable.

  • Yes, just like permanently deleted files, formatting a drive does not erase the data but makes it inaccessible in the file system. Unerase software can scan the drive and locate the data, allowing you to return it.

  • Here are a few reliable options for free data recovery software for Windows 10:

    1. iBeesoft Free Data Recovery: With a modern interface and advanced scanning options, it is an excellent choice for in-depth recovery.
    2. Recuva: A popular choice known for its user-friendly interface and strong file recovery capabilities.
    3. Free Undelete: This unerase Windows 10 solution offers a straightforward recovery process and a wide range of supported file types.

    Remember, free tools often limit the amount of data you can recover. For a more comprehensive recovery, consider purchasing a subscription to the software.