Do you know how to recover deleted files on Windows 10 or Windows 11? Accidental deletion is one of the biggest reasons behind data loss. We sometimes tend to overlook the files we are about to delete and simply wipe them off our computers.
The problem arises when we realize we have deleted an important file and thus get anxious. In such a scenario, backups provide immediate assistance in restoring accidentally deleted files.
However, there are times when even the backups fail. This is where you are stressed out and start to panic. If you have accidentally deleted some files from your Windows 10/11 computer, worry not as there are methods you can use to recover deleted files in no time.
Reasons Behind Files Going Missing
From losing track of the file location to malware attacks and accidental deletion, there are numerous reasons why files go missing from a computer. Listed below are some of those –
- Malware attack
- Accidental deletion
- File/data corruption
- Misplaced files
- Hidden files
- Logged into the temporary account
Methods: How to Recover Deleted Files on WindowsPC
In this section, we will look at five simple methods you can use to recover deleted files easily.
Method 1: Perform System-Wide Search
Sometimes, we misplace or relocate the file/s and forget the new location. When we are unable to find the files, we panic. If this is you, don’t worry, as you might not have deleted the files in the first place. In this situation, you should perform a system-wide search. To do so,
Launch the File Explorer and use it to search for the missing files.
You can search for the files by typing their exact name. If you know the file types, you can search for them by entering the asterisk (*) symbol followed by the file type and pressing the Enter key. E.g. -*pdf.
You could have also accidentally hidden the files you are looking for now. You can unhide them from the File Explorer ribbon.
Method 2: Look for the Accidentally Deleted Files in the Recycle Bin
If your search for the missing files takes you nowhere, the files are probably deleted. For this, the first location you should check is the Recycle Bin. Deleted files first go into the Recycle Bin. However, you will not find the deleted files if you have emptied the Recycle Bin or used the SHIFT + DELETE key combination.
Note – Deleted files stay in the Recycle Bin for 30 days before they are automatically deleted from there.
If you find the required files in the Recycle Bin, restore them, and they will go back to the location from where they were accidentally deleted.
Method 3: Use Data Backup to Recover Deleted Files
If you are unable to locate the files on the Recycle Bin, use the backup created on cloud or an external storage drive to recover the accidentally deleted files. Regularly maintained backups on a storage media like HDD, SSD, or cloud really come in handy in such situations.
Method 4: Use the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) Feature to Recover Deleted Files
The Backup and Restore feature on Windows 11 and 10 is a great addition by Microsoft, allowing users to automatically create data backups on an external drive. However, this feature should be enabled well in advance. If you have enabled this feature, use it to recover accidentally deleted files on your Windows PC. Here’s what to do –
- Open Control Panel.
- Click on Backup and restore (Windows 7).
- Connect the external drive with system recovery files on it.
- Click on Select another backup to restore files from and select the source device’s location.
- Follow the instructions as prompted by the wizard to restore your deleted files.
Method 5: Use File History to Restore Folder
File History is another useful feature that comes with every copy of Windows OS. If this feature is enabled, you can use it to restore the file folder to its previous state to recover deleted files. To use this feature to recover accidentally deleted files –
- Open File Explorer.
- Navigate to the folder from where the files got deleted.
- Right-click on it and select Restore previous versions.
- Select the version you wish to restore in the Folder Properties
- Click on Open to check the version.
- Click on Restore and then OK.
Additional Tips to Avoid Data Loss
Now that we have discussed the methods you can use to recover deleted files on Windows 11/10 computers, let’s take a look at some ways to avoid data loss –
- Cross-check the files before deleting them.
- Using the 3-2-1 data backup strategy to create regular data backups.
- Enable the File History and Backup and Restore (Windows 7) features as soon as you buy a new computer.
- Always use a reliable antivirus to keep viruses & threats at bay.
- Using multiple locations/storage devices to create backups copies.
- Always keep a powerful data recovery software handy as a contingency plan.
- Avoid saving files on the Desktop.
From important documents to photos and more, we create & store all sorts of files on our computers. We are deleting unnecessary files all the time, and while doing so, we tend to accidentally delete some important files, which we later realize and panic.
However, there is no need to worry, as the methods discussed in this post will help you recover the files you accidentally deleted.
PS.- You can also check your e-mail if you have created a backup of files or sent/received the accidentally deleted files using it. This method is overlooked but can help you recover the deleted files quickly.