How To Recover Deleted Files On Windows

In this article, we will explore the process of recovering deleted files on Windows. Whether you mistakenly deleted an important document or lost all your files due to a system crash, fret not! We’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide on how to retrieve lost files from your Windows computer.

With easy-to-follow instructions and helpful tips, you’ll be able to restore your deleted files in no time. So, let’s get started on this journey to recover your precious data!

Using the Recycle Bin

The Recycle Bin is a built-in feature of the Windows operating system that serves as a temporary storage for deleted files. When you delete a file, it is moved to the Recycle Bin instead of being permanently deleted from your computer. This provides an extra layer of protection, ensuring that you can easily restore any mistakenly deleted files.

Opening the Recycle Bin

To open the Recycle Bin, simply locate its icon on your desktop and double-click on it. Alternatively, you can also access it by navigating to the desktop and pressing the “Windows key” + “R” to open the Run dialog box. Type in “recycle bin” and hit Enter.

Once you have accessed the Recycle Bin, you will see a list of all the recently deleted files. The files are sorted by the date they were deleted, with the most recent ones appearing at the top.

Restoring files from the Recycle Bin

To restore a file from the Recycle Bin, you can either right-click on the file and select “Restore” or select the file and click on the “Restore the selected items” button located on the toolbar. This will restore the deleted file to its original location.

If you have accidentally deleted multiple files and want to restore them all at once, you can select multiple files by holding down the “Ctrl” key and clicking on each file. After selecting all the files you want to restore, right-click on any of the selected files and choose “Restore” or click on the “Restore the selected items” button.

Emptying the Recycle Bin

If you no longer need the files in the Recycle Bin or want to free up disk space, you can empty the Recycle Bin. To do this, right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and select “Empty Recycle Bin” from the context menu. A confirmation dialog will appear asking if you are sure you want to permanently delete the files. Click on “Yes” to continue and all the files in the Recycle Bin will be permanently deleted.

It is important to note that once the Recycle Bin is emptied, the deleted files cannot be recovered through this method. Therefore, it is advisable to double-check the contents of the Recycle Bin before emptying it.

Using File History

File History is another useful feature in Windows that allows you to automatically back up your files to an external storage device. It creates a copy of all your important files at regular intervals, ensuring that you have a backup available in case of accidental deletion or system failure.

Enabling File History

To enable File History, first, connect an external storage device such as an external hard drive or a USB flash drive to your computer. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” app by pressing the “Windows key” + “I” and click on “Update & Security.”
  2. In the left sidebar, select “Backup” and click on the “Add a drive” button under “Back up using File History.”
  3. Choose the external storage device you connected earlier and File History will be enabled.

Accessing File History

To access File History and view your backed-up files, follow these steps:

  1. Open any folder on your computer.
  2. Click on the “History” button located on the toolbar at the top of the folder window.
  3. A new window will open with the File History interface, showing the different versions of your files.

Restoring files from File History

To restore a file from File History, follow these steps:

  1. Open the File History interface as described in the previous section.
  2. Browse the available versions of the file you want to restore.
  3. Once you have found the desired version, select it and click on the “Restore” button.
  4. The file will be restored to its original location.

It’s worth noting that File History only keeps versions of your files for a certain period of time or until the external storage device runs out of space. Therefore, it is important to regularly check the File History settings to ensure that your files are being properly backed up.

READ  Troubleshooting Intermittent Internet Connection

Using System Restore

System Restore is a feature in Windows that allows you to restore your computer to a previous state, effectively undoing any changes made since that restore point was created. This can be particularly useful in situations where files have been accidentally deleted or system errors have occurred.

Accessing System Restore

To access System Restore, follow these steps:

  1. Press the “Windows key” + “R” to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type in “rstrui” and hit Enter.
  3. The System Restore window will open.

Choosing a restore point

In the System Restore window, you will see a list of available restore points. These restore points are automatically created by Windows or can be manually created by you.

To choose a restore point, follow these steps:

  1. Select the restore point that was created before the files were deleted or the system error occurred.
  2. Click on the “Scan for affected programs” button to see a list of programs and drivers that will be affected by the restore.
  3. Review the list and make sure there are no critical programs or files that will be negatively affected.
  4. Click on “Next” and then “Finish” to begin the restoration process.

Restoring files using System Restore

When you perform a System Restore, it restores your computer to a previous state, including the files and settings that were present at that time. This means that any files deleted after the chosen restore point will be restored, along with the system files and settings.

It is important to note that System Restore does not affect personal files such as documents, photos, or videos. However, it is always a good practice to back up your important files before performing a System Restore, just to be safe.

Using Previous Versions

Previous Versions is a feature in Windows that allows you to view and restore earlier versions of files or folders. It works by taking snapshots of files at regular intervals, allowing you to revert to a previous version if needed.

Accessing Previous Versions

To access Previous Versions, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the file or folder that you want to restore to a previous version.
  2. Select “Properties” from the context menu.
  3. In the Properties window, go to the “Previous Versions” tab.

Restoring files from Previous Versions

In the Previous Versions tab, you will see a list of available snapshots of the file or folder. Each snapshot represents a previous version of the file or folder.

To restore a previous version, follow these steps:

  1. Select the snapshot that contains the version you want to restore.
  2. Click on the “Restore” button.
  3. The file or folder will be restored to its previous state.

It is important to note that the availability of previous versions depends on the system settings and whether the files were set to be automatically backed up. Therefore, it is recommended to enable the File History feature or create regular backups to have access to previous versions of your files.

Using File Recovery Software

 Recover Deleted Files On Windows

Source: Pexels.com

In situations where the Recycle Bin, File History, System Restore, or Previous Versions do not help in recovering deleted files, you may need to turn to file recovery software. These software programs are specifically designed to scan your computer’s storage and recover deleted files.

Choosing reliable file recovery software

When choosing file recovery software, it is essential to select a reliable and trustworthy program. Look for software that has positive reviews and a good track record of recovering files. Additionally, ensure that the software supports the file types and storage devices you need to recover from.

Installation and setup

After selecting a file recovery software, download and install it on your computer following the provided instructions. Once installed, launch the program and familiarize yourself with its interface and options.

Scanning for deleted files

Most file recovery software programs will offer different scanning options, such as a quick scan or a deep scan. Start with a quick scan, which will search for recently deleted files. If the quick scan does not yield the desired results, you can then perform a deep scan, which thoroughly searches the storage for all recoverable files.

Recovering deleted files

Once the scanning process is complete, the file recovery software will present you with a list of recoverable files. Look through the list and select the files you want to recover. Choose a location where you want the recovered files to be saved and initiate the recovery process.

It is important to note that the success of file recovery using software depends on various factors, such as the time since the files were deleted and the condition of the storage device. Therefore, it is advisable to perform the recovery process as soon as possible after the deletion and avoid using the affected storage device until the recovery is complete.

Using Backup and Restore

Backup and Restore is a built-in feature in Windows that allows you to create backups of your important files and restore them when needed. It provides a convenient way to safeguard your files against accidental deletion, system failures, or hardware issues.

Creating a backup

To create a backup using Backup and Restore, follow these steps:

  1. Press the “Windows key” + “S” to open the search bar.
  2. Type in “backup and restore” and click on the “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” result.
  3. In the Backup and Restore window, click on “Set up backup.”
  4. Choose the storage location where you want to save the backup files, such as an external hard drive or a network location.
  5. Select the files and folders you want to back up or choose the recommended settings.
  6. Click on “Next” and then “Save settings and run backup.”
READ  How To Convert A File format Using Online Tools?

Restoring files from a backup

To restore files from a backup using Backup and Restore, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Backup and Restore window as described in the previous section.
  2. Click on “Restore my files” or “Restore all users’ files” depending on your preference.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to select the backup location and the files you want to restore.
  4. Click on “Next” and then “Finish” to initiate the restoration process.

It is important to regularly schedule backups and ensure that the backup location is accessible and reliable. Additionally, it is recommended to test the restoration process periodically to ensure that the backups are working correctly.

Using Data Recovery Services

For situations where the above methods fail to recover deleted files or when the data loss is critical, professional data recovery services can provide a solution. These services specialize in retrieving data from damaged or inaccessible storage devices.

Researching and selecting reliable data recovery services

When selecting a data recovery service, it is crucial to do thorough research and choose a reputable and experienced provider. Look for services with a proven track record in recovering data from a variety of storage devices and technologies. Online reviews and recommendations can also help in making an informed decision.

Submitting the drive for recovery

After selecting a data recovery service, you will typically need to send or drop off the affected storage device to their facility. Follow their instructions for packaging and shipping the device securely to minimize any further damage.

Retrieving recovered files

Once the data recovery service receives the storage device, their experts will work on retrieving the deleted files. The process may involve advanced techniques and specialized equipment to recover data from the damaged or inaccessible storage.

After the recovery process is complete, the data recovery service will typically provide you with a list of recovered files. Review the list and specify the files you want to retrieve. Depending on the service, the recovered files can be provided on a new storage device or transferred to a secure location.

It is worth noting that professional data recovery services can be quite expensive, depending on the complexity of the recovery and the level of damage to the storage device. Therefore, it is advisable to weigh the importance of the data against the cost of recovery before opting for this method.

Using Shadow Copies

Shadow Copies is a feature in Windows that creates snapshots or copies of files and folders on your computer at regular intervals. These shadow copies can be used to restore previous versions of files or retrieve files that have been mistakenly deleted.

Enabling Shadow Copies

To enable Shadow Copies for a drive, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the drive you want to enable Shadow Copies on and select “Properties.”
  2. Go to the “Shadow Copies” tab in the Properties window.
  3. Click on the “Enable” button.
  4. If prompted, choose the drive where the shadow copies should be stored and click on “Enable.”

Restoring files from Shadow Copies

To restore a file from a shadow copy, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the folder where the file you want to restore is located.
  2. Right-click on the file and select “Properties.”
  3. In the Properties window, go to the “Previous Versions” tab.
  4. If there are any available shadow copies of the file, they will be listed here.
  5. Select the desired shadow copy and click on the “Restore” button.

Shadow Copies can be a valuable tool for recovering deleted files or retrieving previous versions of files. However, it is important to note that not all drives or file systems support Shadow Copies. Additionally, the availability of shadow copies depends on the system settings and the frequency of the shadow copy creation.

 Recover Deleted Files On Windows

Source: TheTechBrain AI

Using Command Prompt

Using Command Prompt can be a more advanced method of recovering deleted files, but it can be useful in certain situations or for users comfortable with using the command line interface.

Accessing Command Prompt

To access Command Prompt, follow these steps:

  1. Press the “Windows key” + “R” to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type in “cmd” and hit Enter.
  3. The Command Prompt window will open.

Navigating to the deleted files location

To navigate to the location of the deleted files using Command Prompt, follow these steps:

  1. Use the “cd” command to change the directory to the desired location. For example, to navigate to the desktop, type in: cd C:\Users\YourUsername\Desktop
  2. Use the “dir” command to view the contents of the current directory and locate the deleted files.

Restoring files using Command Prompt

To restore a deleted file using Command Prompt, follow these steps:

  1. Use the “copy” command followed by the file’s path and the destination path to restore the file. For example, to restore a file “example.txt” from the Desktop to the Documents folder, type in: copy C:\Users\YourUsername\Desktop\example.txt C:\Users\YourUsername\Documents

The success of using Command Prompt to restore deleted files depends on various factors, such as the location of the deleted file and the condition of the storage device. It is recommended to use this method cautiously and have a backup of the files whenever possible.

Conclusion

Losing important files can be a frustrating experience, but with the various methods available in Windows, you have several options to recover your deleted files. The Recycle Bin, File History, System Restore, Previous Versions, and Shadow Copies provide built-in features that can help restore deleted files to their original state or previous versions.

In case these methods fail, file recovery software can be used to scan and recover deleted files. For critical data loss or complex situations, professional data recovery services can provide expert assistance. And for more advanced users, Command Prompt can be utilized to navigate and restore deleted files from specific locations. By understanding and utilizing these methods, you can increase the chances of recovering your important files and minimize the impact of accidental deletion or data loss.