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Unerase: How to Recover Erased Files in Windows 10/11

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

Accidentally erasing important files is a common predicament that can cause panic and frustration. But before you resign yourself to the loss, know that there's hope. Here are multiple methods that can help you unerase Windows 10/11 files. This blog will explain the difference between file erasure and deletion, provide detailed steps to recover these lost treasures, and how to avoid such disasters.

Differentiate Between File Erasure and Deletion

In the context of Windows 10/11, there is a distinction between file deletion and file erasure, each with its own implications for data recovery. Here's how they differ:

Data Deletion:

  • 📜 Definition:
  • It refers to deleting files from their original location on the storage device. When a file is removed on Windows 10/11, it is typically moved to the Recycle Bin (unless permanently deleted), where it can be restored easily.
  • 🔎 Visibility:
  • Even if permanently removed, files are still stored on the device but may not be visible in File Explorer view. However, they can be retrieved using specialized software.
  • ☑️ Undelete Potential:
  • Deleted files can often be recovered from the Recycle Bin before they are emptied. Even after emptying or using the Shift + Deleted key to remove them, tools may be able to undelete permanently deleted files in Windows 10 or 11 as long as the sectors containing the data have not been overwritten.

File Erasure:

  • 📰 Definition:
  • It refers to permanently erasing all traces of files from the storage device, which is usually done using an erasing tool or formatting. The latter will also clear all information, including the file system, and restore the storage device to its original state.
  • 🚩 Purpose:
  • The erasure tool is usually used to permanently remove sensitive or confidential information from the device. Formatting is usually used to resolve device performance, compatibility, and malfunctions.
  • 🔰 Unerase Potential:
  • Erased files are much harder to restore than deleted files in Windows 10/11. As for formatting, there is still a high chance of getting the erased data as long as you act quickly. Files properly erased using the safe delete method are difficult to restore using standard data recovery tools, but there is hope.

Understanding the difference between the two is crucial to choosing the proper method to recover erased files in Windows 10/11. Next, check out these practical solutions.

5 Ways to Unerase in Windows 10/11

No matter what caused your files to be erased, you still have a chance to regain them, even if you use a program to shred them. Next, please choose the method that best suits your situation.

Method 1: Previous Versions

The first and easiest way is through previous versions, provided you have "File History" enabled or create a system restore point.

Here are steps to recover erased files in Windows 10/11:

  1. Open the folder or drive where the erased file is located.
  2. Right-click and select "Restore previous versions."

  3. Choose a recent version and click "Restore."

  4. When the progress is completed, open the location where the data disappeared again to check them.

Method 2: File History

It is a PC feature that automatically backs documents, pictures, videos, and more to an external drive or network location. If you set it up before you erase the files, you can easily unerase Windows 10/11.

  1. Connect the external drive or ensure you're connected to the network where your backups are stored.
  2. Press the "Win + R" keys, type "control" and press Enter.
  3. After opening the Control Panel, navigate to "System and Security" > "File History."

  4. Click "Restore personal files" in the left menu.

  5. Select the erased files and click the green button to save them to their original locations.

Method 3: Windows Backup

If you've created a system image backup using Windows Backup, you could unerase files on Windows 10 or 11 from that image. Here is the guide:

  1. Open the "Control Panel" and go to "System and Security."
  2. Click "Restore files from backup" under the "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)" option.

  3. Choose the location where your backup is stored.

  4. Browse the backup folders to locate the lost files.
  5. Select the erased data you wish to recover by checking the checkboxes next to them.
  6. Click the "Restore" button to initiate the Windows 10/11 unerase.

Method 4: Recovery Software

Although the above solutions are 100% guaranteed to help you recover erased files in Windows 10/11, they require a backup. Is it still possible without a backup? Absolutely! But it would help if you used the professional tools. Here are two reliable options to choose from.

Option A: iBeesoft Data Recovery

It is a versatile data recovery tool designed to help users retrieve lost or erased files from various storage devices. Here are some features of iBeesoft Data Recovery:

Best Unerase Software for Windows 11/10

(Trust Score 4.7 by 1695 Users)
  • It offers multiple recovery modes for data loss scenarios, including deletion, formatting, partition loss, Windows update, etc.
  • The software supports the recovery of many file formats, including documents, photos, videos, audio files, emails, and more.
  • It uses advanced scanning algorithms to perform sector-level scanning of storage devices and can reorganize scattered or damaged fragmented files to increase the chance of effectively recovering lost data.
Free Download

Here is a complete guide to unerase in Windows 10/11:

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery on your computer.
  2. Click "Go to Settings" to filter file types after launching it.

  3. Choose the storage device from which you accidentally erase files and click "Scan" for targeted recovery.

  4. Preview the scan results and find the files you wish to recover.

  5. Select them and click "Recover" to choose a location to save the recovered files.

Option B: Windows File Recovery Tool

It is a command-line-based unerase freeware provided by Microsoft for Windows 10 and Windows 11 users to get lost data that has been removed from the system. Here's how it can help you in restoring files after being erased:

  1. Download the Windows File Recovery Tool from the Microsoft website.
  2. Open "Command Prompt" with the administrator to run it effectively.
  3. Type "winfr C: E: /r /n *.xls/n *.ppt" and Enter. You can replace the corresponding parts according to your situation:

    C is the drive where the file was lost.
    F is the drive where the recovered data is saved.
    .xls and .ppt are the suffix name of the erased file
  4. Type "Y" and press Enter to start this process.

Tip: If the above method of unerase in Windows 10/11 fails, you can also try to use a data recovery service, but this process is time-consuming and expensive.

Precautions and Tips


Although retrieving erased files is more challenging than deletion, don't despair. You can still follow the above methods and take quick action to find your precious data. Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Implementing a robust backup strategy will save you from similar panic and ensure that your data remains safe no matter what happens.

Finally, if you have successfully unerased in Windows 10/11 by following these steps or are a reader facing this dilemma, please share your experience. Your insights can be invaluable to someone facing this stressful situation.


  • Unerase, sometimes called 'unformat,' is the process of recovering accidentally erased files. When you typically erase a file or disk, Windows doesn't immediately remove it. Therefore, you can usually use data recovery software to retrieve the process. If you are using the shredding tool, this will become more difficult but still possible.

  • The first thing to do is to stop using your computer. Any activity, including browsing the internet, can overwrite the deleted file. The safest bet is to minimize computer usage and start unerase in Windows 10/11 or Mac as soon as possible.

  • Windows' built-in file history feature can help create backups and restore previous versions of files. However, if you need to recover erased files in Windows 11/10 that are not in a backup, the built-in tools may not be enough. In this case, a third-party app is likely your best solution.

  • Yes, several free tools are available for recovering erased files. Some popular options include iBeesoft Free Data Recovery, TestDisk, and Recuva.

    Remember, while free data recovery software for Windows 10 and 11 are a great starting point, they may not offer all the features or success rates of paid applications.

  • Third-party unerase software can overwrite the lost data if not used correctly, making recovery impossible. It's also vital to download such software from reputable sources to avoid malware or further damage to your system.

  • Recovering erased files in Windows 11/10 can temporarily slow down your computer as it retrieves and moves the data back to its original place. However, this slowdown should be minimal and short-lived.