Windows Data Recovery- Professional

Recover Accidentally Deleted Files in Windows 10

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    Summary: Have you recently deleted some of your important files from your Windows 10 system? Worry not! You can easily get them back. Here we’ve discussed some DIY methods to recover deleted files.

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    Accidental data deletion is often considered one of the most common reasons behind data loss. It can happen anytime. For example, you may delete files or even entire folders while removing unwanted data from your system or while transferring files from your PC to a storage drive.  

    Regardless of ‘How’ and ‘When’ you deleted files, their recovery is possible. In this post, we’ve combined all the possible methods to recover deleted files from Windows 10 and 11. In addition, we’ve included Microsoft’s built-in file recovery features/tools along with our own in-house DIY data recovery solution.

    But before you jump over to the methods, there are a few things you need to understand about file deletion.

    When a file is removed using the ‘Del’ key, it directly reaches Recycle Bin and can be retrieved within 30 days from the deletion date. (After 30 days, the file gets permanently removed from Recycle Bin)

    Are you sure you want to delete files message

    When you mistakenly empty the Recycle Bin or delete any file using the ‘Shift + Del’ key, the file doesn’t reach Recycle Bin and becomes permanently inaccessible.

    What does it mean by ‘permanent deletion’ of a file?

    When a file gets permanently deleted due to Shift + Del key or emptying Recycle Bin, it becomes inaccessible as discussed above. However, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be retrieved. Only the ‘File Pointers’ that specify the beginning and the end of a file is removed in file deletion. Windows makes that space available for new data.

    Hence, it is advised to stop using your system immediately. If you keep using it and adding new data, it may overwrite the files, and the chances of accidentally deleted file recovery will be lesser.

    So, until the removed data is overwritten, you can recover deleted files with the effective methods shared in this post. Now, let’s proceed without delay!

    Quick Methods to Recover Accidentally Deleted Files

    Method 1: Restore Deleted Files from Recycle Bin

    As discussed above, files deleted with the ‘Del’ key go to Recycle Bin unless you customize the Recycle Bin properties, use Shift + Delete keys, or empty the Recycle Bin. To perform file recovery from Recycle Bin, follow the given steps:

    • Go to Recycle Bin on the Desktop and locate the files you removed mistakenly.
    • Select the files you want to retrieve, right-click on them, and click ‘Restore.
    select files to restore from recycle bin
    • This method will restore the deleted file or folder to its original location. Alternatively, you can cut and paste the file at the desired location.

    Method 2: Recover Files with Windows Built-in Backup & Recovery Features

    Windows 10 comes with some backup and recovery utilities, including File History, Backup & Restore, and Previous Versions. We’ve mentioned step-by-step instructions for each utility below. Read them carefully to get back your accidentally deleted files.

    A. Backup & Restore

    If you’ve kept this utility enabled before you lost the file, it will help you retrieve files by providing access to the copies that it creates in the backend. Follow the given steps to restore files with the Backup & Restore utility:

    • Connect an external storage media drive to your Windows 10 PC.
    • Go to Windows Search Box and type Control Panel to open it.
    • Click Backup and Restore (Windows 7).
    backup and restore option
    • Next, click ‘Restore my files’ and follow the on-screen instructions to restore the deleted files.
    select restore my files
    • A list of files will appear on the screen. Select the files that you want to recover.
    • Now, click Browse for files or Browse for folders.
    browse for files and folder to restore
    • Finally, choose the connected storage drive to store the recoverable files.

    Note: If ‘Restore my files’ is not visible, click ‘Select another backup to restore files from’ and follow the restore wizard.

    B. File History

    File History is another Windows built-in feature which, if kept turned on, creates a backup of your system data. In addition, you can restore the deleted files using this feature, as follows:

    • Access File History from Control Panel.
    File history option
    • Click Restore personal files and choose the backup folder from which you want to retrieve the files. Now, select the files and click ‘Restore.’
    select files in File History window

    Select the desired location (external storage drive) to store the recoverable files.

    C. Previous Version

    This utility helps you restore the different versions of the file you mistakenly deleted. You can choose the version you want to retrieve. However, those versions may not contain the complete file data. But there are good chances you’ll be able to recover the most recent one with the latest changes to the file. To do so, follow the given steps:

    • Locate the folder from where you deleted the file.
    • Right-click on the folder and choose ‘Restore previous versions.’
    Restore from previous version option
    • A list of previous versions will show up on the screen with Name and Date Modified on the next prompt.
    list of previous version files
    • From the available versions, select the version you want to retrieve.
    • Click ‘Restore’ or drag & drop the version at a desired location on your Windows 10 system.

    Method 3: Use Windows File Recovery Tool

    If you lack data backup and have deleted the files permanently, you can use Microsoft’s Windows File Recovery tool. It is a free command-line tool that supports many file types, including photos, videos, documents, etc. It can retrieve data from the Windows system and external storage media drives, such as hard drives, USB drives, and SD Cards. This tool comes with three different modes of operation, i.e., Default, Segment, and Signature.

    Though the tool primarily works with NTFS hard drives, it also supports recovery from hard drives with files systems, including FAT, exFAT, and ReFS. To retrieve files from NTFS hard drives, you’d need to choose Default and Segment modes. However, for file recovery from hard drives with other discussed file systems, you’d need to switch to Signature mode.

    Microsoft Windows file Recovery Tool

    Limitations with Windows File Recovery tool

    • It is a free file recovery tool but comes with a command-line interface that requires you to run different commands and syntaxes to recover various file types, making it a bit complicated for non-technical users.
    • You can run this tool only on Windows 10 version 2004 and above. It doesn’t work or support previous versions.
    • Moreover, the recovery results may be incomplete or corrupted.

    Method 4: Recover deleted files with Stellar Data Recovery Professional

    Stellar Data Recovery Professional is a good alternative to the Windows File Recovery tool for accidentally deleted file recovery. It is an easy-to-use, DIY (do-it-yourself) professional data recovery software. You can recover all file types, including documents, excel files, emails, Word files, PDFs, photos, videos, audio files more. In addition, the software comes with dual scanning modes – Quick Scan and Deep Scan. With these robust scanning engines, the software efficiently finds permanently lost or deleted files and helps you recover them quickly.

    It supports recovery from all Windows systems and external storage drives such as HDDs, SSDs, USB drives, SD Cards, Micro-SD cards, etc. This software can retrieve files lost due to accidental deletion, drive formatting, corruption, malware attack, etc. To recover deleted files in Windows 10 with this software, follow the given steps:

    • Connect an external storage media to your Windows system and download Stellar Data Recovery Professional.
    • Run the software, select ‘All Data’ or type of data you wish to recover and click ‘Next.’
    Select What to Recover Under Stellar Data Recovery Profession for Windows
    • Select the drive or folder location and click ‘Scan’ on the next prompt.
    Choose Drive Under Stellar Data Recovery Profession for Windows
    • Locate the desired files from the scan results and click ‘Recover’.
    Preview files Under Stellar Data Recovery Profession for Windows
    • Next, click Browse to choose the location where you want to save the files and then click Start-Saving to save the recoverable data.
    Start file saving process Under Stellar Data Recovery Profession for Windows

    Note: Always choose the external storage drive as the desired location when performing file recovery. It will prevent data overwriting and keep your data safe.

    Best Practices to Follow to Avoid Permanent Data Loss

    Here are some best practices you can follow to prevent permanent data loss in the future: Set Recycle Bin properties:

    1.Set Recycle Bin Properties

    If not, by default, configure your Recycle Bin properties so that the accidentally deleted files are moved to Recycle Bin and don’t get permanently deleted.

    • To do so, you need to go to Recycle Bin and open its Properties.
    Recycle bin properties
    • Next, select Custom size > ‘Display delete confirmation dialog’ > OK.
    display delete confirmation box setting recycle bin

    2. Maintain data backup

    Method 2 was based on recovering deleted files in Windows 10 using backup. If you have a complete backup, you won’t need any other way to regain access to the lost or deleted data. As a best practice, build and maintain at least three copies of your backup at the different storage locations, such as Cloud-based platforms, External Storage drives, or Network Server. It increases your odds of pulling off a file recovery task.

    3. Don’t Add New Data After File Deletion

    Continued use of the system and adding new data to the location from where you deleted or lost the file can dramatically reduce the chances of recovering the file because Windows might overwrite it.


    1.How can I recover deleted files for free?

    If you have a backup, you can restore your files and store them on an external storage drive. However, if you lack backup, you can use Microsoft’s Windows File Recovery tool. But it is a bit complicated for non-technical users, and the results could be corrupted, so we’d suggest you opt for Stellar Data Recovery Professional.

    2. Is there any free version of Stellar Data Recovery Software available?

    Yes, Stellar Data Recovery – Free Edition is available to recover all types of files and folders in case of deletion, drive formatting, corruption, or malware attack. It can even recover data from BitLocker-encrypted drives. You can restore data up to 1 GB using this version.

    3. Can performing System Restore help recover deleted data?

    System Restore, when enabled, creates ‘Restore Points’ on your system. So, whenever your system faces any BSOD error or other system issue, you can restore to its default configurations or chosen restore point to get it back in a functional state. However, it doesn’t help you recover deleted personal files, such as photos, emails, videos, etc.

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    About The Author

    Satyeshu Kumar linkdin

    Satyeshu is a Windows blogger and data recovery expert. He is having good technical knowledge and experience in Windows data recovery. He writes about latest technical tips, Windows issues and tutorials.


    1. Thanks stellar for such amazing software. No method worked except the last one, i.e., Stellar data recovery software. It recovered and restored my 85 GB of data with so ease. I was looking for this data and even tried multiple software but no use. Stellar worked. Thanks a lot for this blog and your software. Appreciated.

    2. Hello Sir, I copy 11.4 gb file and after I paste into another drive and suddenly I press ctrl z with my mistakes so how to get that file and it’s not shows in recycle bin so how to get that folder files back and please help me and thank you.

      1. Hi Raghavendra, You have copied the file not cut. So you can find the files from where you copied them. If not present there then you can try stellar data recovery professional and run on your machine. If you see lost data in preview, you can recover it easily. Thanks

    3. i deleted all my folders from jupyter notebook i dont know that it will permanently remove the, from my pc please help me

      1. You might find them in Recycle Bin. Check it. If not, you can scan the Folder or drive location by using the Stellar Data Recovery software. Before Scan, add the .ipynb file format in Add Header option under Settings of the software. Then run a Deep Scan to find all Jupyter notebook files. To know more on how to add new file type, follow this KB: Read More

    4. I accidentally deleted my documents file on my computer loosing quite a bit work. Thank you soooooooo much I can’t believe I Was so stupid I never licked in the bin file

      1. hello Yogi,
        Unfortunately, if the drive is physically damaged, you can’t recover’data. However, if the drive is logically damaged and recognized in Disk Management tool, you can follow this guide to restore your data: Read More

    5. Hello.
      I have accidentally formatted my external hard drive and so is there any way to recover these files. Please do help

      1. Hi Sanjay,
        You don’t need to worry. You can try Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Windows to recover your formatted external hard drive. It is a DIY software that is easy to use and recover. Thanks

    6. Hi,
      I was facing “The document is locked for editing by another user” error when I was trying to open the documents in word. Then I searched on the internet and apply some manual steps:
      1. Quit all instances of Word.
      2. Start Windows Explorer, and then browse to the folder that contains the document file that you tried to open when you received the error message
      3. Delete the owner file.
      4. Start Word. If Word asks you whether you want to load the changes that were made to the Global or Normal template, click No
      I followed these instructions and now my file was completely deleted – not in recycle folder and cannot restore previous versions. Any help? Thanks

      1. Hello Samantha,
        We would recommend you to perform deep scan by our data recovery software and check the results. If you still do not get data then you may also perform can’t find drive process in our software in which software will search deleted or lost partitions and recovers the data from those partitions.

    7. Hello, In my laptop windows 10 is install and usually windows 10 comes with built in backup features. So I did not take backup but some error occurred and I had to face problem. Then I used Stellar Windows Data Recovery Software and got my files. Thanks for this.!!!

      1. Hello Wayne,
        It’s good to know that Stellar Data Recovery Software helped you to recover your data. Thanks.

    8. I was transferring photos from my laptop to phone via bluetooth. At 80% transfer rate, i accidentally clicked on cancel button and the photos are not found in laptop as well in mobile. Please help me restore it.

      1. Connect the Pen Drive to your PC and Download Stellar Data Recovery Professional Software. Make sure to choose Pen Drive as the install location while installing the software in order to prevent overwriting of the data. The software will help you recover your lost photos.

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