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.
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)
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.
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!
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:
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.
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:
Note: If ‘Restore my files’ is not visible, click ‘Select another backup to restore files from’ and follow the restore wizard.
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:
Select the desired location (external storage drive) to store the recoverable files.
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:
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.
Limitations with Windows File Recovery tool
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) data retrieval 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.