Windows Data Recovery - Standard

How Can I Recover Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 10

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    Summary: Whether you've shift-deleted files or mistakenly emptied your Recycle bin, you can recover permanently deleted files using DIY data recovery software—Stellar Data Recovery for Windows. Read more to learn other organic ways to restore your files.

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    When you delete a file, you can simply go to the Recycle Bin and recover it instantly. However, when you use the Shift + Delete command or empty the Recycle Bin, the file is permanently deleted.

    But there’s more to what meets the eye!

    The above actions will only delete the file pointers – the starting and ending points of the file. Your data will remain in an inaccessible state until overwritten by new data. You can recover this data using specialized data recovery software and other recovery methods. However, once overwritten, there’s no way you’ll be able to restore those permanently deleted files, even with the software. So prompt action is the key to restore your lost files swiftly.

    Keep reading to learn how to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10 and take preventive measures to avoid such unexpected data loss in the future.

    Methods to Recover Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 10

    The following methods to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10 apply to all deletion scenarios, including accidental formatting. Follow these methods carefully and restore your permanently deleted files in no time.

    Let’s start with the smartest solution first!

    #1 Use Stellar Data Recovery for Windows 

    Stellar Data Recovery is a DIY (Do-it-Yourself) data recovery software that recovers files, folders, and other data from Windows and supports storage drives, such as HDDs, SSDs, USB drives, and more. The software efficiently restores deleted or lost data, whether files are deleted accidentally or purposefully. The software can also securely recover files from corrupted, formatted, or logically damaged computers. Follow the steps given below to recover data:

    • Download, launch, and run your Windows system’s Stellar Data Recovery software
    • On the ‘Select What to Recover’ screen, click ‘All Data’ and select Next.
    click All Data and click Next
    • You’ll see the ‘Recover from‘ screen. Choose the drive or location where the
      data is deleted, and click Scan.
    select location or drive and click Scan
    • Once the scanning is completed, the software will show you the results in three panes, i.e., File Tree, Tree View, and Deleted Items
    • Select the files you wish to retrieve. Turn on the Preview files option to ensure the quality of your restored content, and click Recover
    select files to Recover
    • Further, click Browse the location where you want to store the selected files. (Always choose a different drive partition or an external drive as a preferred storage location.)
    • Finally, click Start-Saving to save the files on the chosen storage location.
    Click Browse to find the location and click Start Saving

    The selected files will be restored to the chosen storage location.

    #2 Use Windows Backup Utilities

    You can also recover your permanently deleted files in Windows 10 using backup. If you’ve taken a backup of your data using Windows’ built-in backup utilities, such as File History, you can easily restore the files. 

    Recover Files with File History

    If you’ve taken your system’s file backup on an external drive through File History, connect the drive to the system and follow the below-mentioned steps:

    • Open Backup Settings from Windows Search (Windows + S).
    open backup settings from Windows search
    • Select More options under the ‘Back up using File History’ option.
    click More options under Backup using File History
    • Scroll down the page and click Restore files from a current backup.
    Restore files from a current backup
    • You’ll see your backup with the date and time mentioned. 
    • Select the files/folders from the backup drive to retrieve them. 
    • Once selected, click Restore. You can additionally use a left arrow or right arrow buttons to browse different versions of the files by date.
    Select files and click Restore option

    If there are further prompts, proceed with them and complete the process to recover permanently deleted files.

    Restore files with Previous Versions Utility. 

    The previous version automatically saves copies of files and folders as part of a restore point, also called shadow copies. So, if you’ve enabled the creation of a restore point, you can follow the below steps to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 or restore files or folders to a previous state:

    • Go to Start and select Computer from the available options. 
    • Next, navigate to the folder containing the files, right-click on it, and select Restore previous versions
    • The screen will show a list of previous versions of the file/folder that are available. The list will include files saved on a backup and restore points if both types are available. 
    • Select the files you want to retrieve and click Restore > OK
    • The permanently deleted files will be restored to the desired location.
    Select Previous Versions of the files folders and click OK 1

    The permanently deleted files will be restored to the desired location.


    • The backup stored on an external drive can corrupt over time for logical and physical reasons, such as hardware/software failure, bad sectors, device damage, etc.
    • Any interruption while taking a data backup could result in an incomplete backup, which may not help you perform a complete and successful file recovery. 

    #3 Use Windows File Recovery Tool

    Microsoft’s Windows File Recovery Tool is a command-line tool for restoring deleted files. This software offers three modes: default, Segment, and Signature. The Default and Segment modes support NTFS-formatted drives, while the Signature mode supports recovery from ReFS, FAT, exFAT, and NTFS-formatted hard drives. 

    Microsoft WIndows File Recovery Tool

    However, the software has some limitations, such as:

    • You’d need to run different syntaxes and commands to recover photos, videos, documents, and other file formats.
    • Even switching between the modes of operations requires different commands.
    • The software only runs on Windows 10 build 10941 or later versions; you can’t run this utility on prior Windows versions.

    Which is the best way to recover Permanently Deleted Files?

    All methods discussed in this blog effectively retrieve your lost or deleted files. However, some techniques like restoring from backup and using the Windows File Recovery tool, have certain limitations. Where backup can be incomplete or corrupt, novice users may find the Windows File Recovery tool intimidating with its multiple syntaxes and commands.

    Therefore, we recommend you choose Stellar Data Recovery software. This is the easiest and most secure solution to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10. It comes with a user-friendly GUI allowing users to navigate the features easily. Additionally, it offers unlimited data recovery in all data loss scenarios.

    Preventive Measures for Data Loss in Windows 10

    In addition to restoring permanently deleted files in Windows 10, follow the given measures to prevent data loss in the future:

    • Keep your system clean from any dirt and dust.
    • Back up your data regularly and follow the 3-2-1 backup policy.
    • Download only compatible software from authorized websites.
    • Keep antivirus or antimalware software activated on your system to prevent virus infection.
    • Don’t open any suspicious emails and attachments.
    • Don’t use any third-party tool to delete files from your system.

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    About The Author

    Isha Rikhi

    Isha is a technical blogger and data recovery expert. She has experience in Windows data recovery. She writes about technical tips and tutorials.


    1. Thanks for sharing such valuable information in this article. Through this article, I learned that it is very important to keep a backup of all the critical files. Thanks for sharing.

    2. I had given my mini desktop PC to a technician to replace the old hard drive with SSD hard drive. He had done that and given back my old hard drive with USD adapter saying all the data is safe and this can be used as an external hard drive as well. I also verified and found that all the data was safe. However, I also had some desktop files which were deleted by my son the previous day when he was playing on my computer. This was not on the old drive (now made into an external hard drive). Where will the data in the recycle bin be in such a case and how can I get it back.

      1. Hello Jai, you can download the stellar data recovery on your pc and attach your external hard drive with this pc. Now run the software and choose the deep scan option. If you see lost desktop files in preview then you can recover them easily after activation of the software. Thanks

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