Deleted file recovery: how to recover deleted or lost files on Windows for free

Follow this ultimate guides to successfully get back your photos, videos, documents, music, audio and emails from Windows Recycle Bin or through Windows incorporated backup features. If neither of those works, free download iBoysoft Data Recovery to effectively restore your files from PC hard drive, USB flash drives, SD cards and external hard drives.

By Jessica | Posted to Data Recovery on May 27th, 2019 |

Let us make a long story short. Recovering deleted files could be incredibly possible.

If you deleted your important files by accident recently or you regret emptying Recycle Bin, I am glad to tell you that you've come to the right place to bring them back.

This article will help you retrieve your deleted photos, videos, documents, music, audio and emails on Windows successfully step by step.

Table of contents
1. Scenarios in deleting or losing your files
2. Why you can recover permanently or recently deleted files
3. How to recover deleted files without software
4. How to recover deleted files with free software
5. Conclusion

How did you delete or lose your files?

There is no surprise that people accidentally delete their important files when they are tired or not aware of what those files are right away.

It happens to EVERYONE and ANYTIME. Take it easy and don't blame yourself too much.

A number of scenarios in deleting and losing files:

1. Deleting files by right-clicking the files and choosing Delete. This is the most common way to delete your files in Windows. The deleted files will be moved into Recycle Bin.

Note: Files you deleted from USB drives, SD cards, memory cards, smartphones, and external hard drives will not be placed into Recycle Bin. Very large files deleted in Windows will skip Recycle Bin too.

2. Deleting files by pressing the key shortcut Shift + Delete. If you delete your files in this way, files will be removed without being placed into Recycle Bin.

3. Emptying Recycle Bin. You right-click Recycle Bin and hit Empty Recycle Bin. Or you open Recycle Bin and choose Empty Recycle Bin under Manage on tool bar. All photos, videos, document, music etc. you have moved in there are temporarily gone by now.

4. The Delete files that have been in the recycle bin for 30 days under Settings is on. Your deleted files have been emptied from Recycle Bin automatically, because they have been there over 30 days.

5. Losing files because of Windows update bugs. This is a relatively rare situation in which you could lose your files, but in fact it did happen when users went through Windows 10 update in October 2018. Many users reported to Microsoft that some of their personal files disappeared due to the update. Microsoft responded that they fixed the bug and asked users to contact their support team to recover those files in a good state.

6. Losing your data due to sudden power off or a malfunction of software when you are editing or transferring files like cutting, pasting or replacing.

7. Losing your personal data as a result of virus attack. Common people even don't have the awareness that they have downloaded malware onto their computers or external hard drives.

In a hurry to regain your important files? take a look at this infographic to recover deleted or lost files:

how to recover deleted files for free

Can you recover permanently or recently deleted files?

In most everyday cases, yes. That is because after you hit Delete or Empty Recycle Bin, in fact, you just deleted the information containing file size, file name, file type and so on. Your real contents of the files are still in their original locations.

But there still are two scenarios that files could be permanently erased and never be found back:

1. Data is deleted and overwritten.

After files are deleted, the operating system will mark the sections are available for new data to write on. Therefore, if you continue to do "write heavy" moves with your computer and external storage devices, the original files could possibly be overwritten by new data. If files are overwritten, it is impossible to recover them.

So remember: stop using your computer or external storage devices as soon as you are aware of data loss. The faster you perform data recovery actions, the better you can restore your lost files.

2. You are using SSDs (solid-state drives) with TRIM enabled.

You can recover deleted files from various types of devices like internal hard drives, pen drives, memory cards and external hard drives. However, with TRIM technology enabled, every time your data is deleted on an SSD, it will be erased (trimmed) completely. It is impossible to undelete your photos, videos etc. with any methods we will mention below.

To sum up, if your deleted files are not overwritten and you are not using an SSD with TRIM enabled, you can get back your recently deleted or lost files from USB drives, internal hard drives, SD cards, and other external hard drives effectively. Even old file recovery is possible too.

Recovering deleted files on Mac can be achieved for the same reason.

Most people are not techies.

It is totally fine if you know none of the reasons why your deleted or lost files can show up again. After all, it won't hurt you even a little bit if you are going to conduct file recovery actions or use data recovery software.

Let's dive right in how to recover deleted files on Windows:

Solution 1: Recover your deleted files without software in Windows 10/8/7

Method 1: Restore deleted files from Recycle Bin (If you didn't empty it)

Find the Recycle Bin on your desktop, double click it or right-click it and select Open, you will see all files that are placed in Recycle Bin. You can do one of the followings:

  1. 1. The fastest way to undelete all your files is to find Manage on tool bar and click Restore all items. However, you probably will get a lot of files you don't want to be restored by doing so.
  2. 2. You can right-click the file you want to restore and hit Restore.
  3. 3. Several files can be restored at one time by selecting them together and hit Restore the selected items under Manage on tool bar.

Items in Recycle Bin will be restored to their original folders before they are deleted.

Tips: Can't find your Recycle Bin on desktop?

1. Right-click on the desktop or choose Settings and select Personalization.

2. Click Themes in the Personalization window and then select Desktop icon settings.

3. Check Recycle Bin to appear on desktop.

Method 2:Recover deleted files through Windows backup options

If you are luckily one of those who have developed a habit of backing up files on Windows regularly, you can bring deleted files back through three incorporated file backup tools on Windows easily: Backup and Restore (Windows 10/8/7), Previous Version (Windows 10/8/7) and File History (Windows 10/8.1/8).

Follow the guide:

1. Recover files through Backup and Restore in Windows 10/8/7

  1. Step 1: Click the Start button, select Control Panel in Windows System (you can type "Control Panel" in search section in order to find it quickly).
  2. Step 2: Select Backup and Restore.
  3. Step 3: If you are asked to set up backup, it is very likely you didn't do backups in Windows. If you did backup your deleted files, then hit Restore my files and follow the instructions on the wizard.

recover deleted files through Windows backup

2. Recover files through Previous Versions (referred to as Shadow Copies) in Windows 10/8/7

  1. Step 1: Find the folder or computer partition which contains the files you deleted.
  2. Step 2: Right-click on the folder or computer partition, and select Restore previous versions.
  3. Step 3: View the list of available previous versions, choose the version you want to restore and click Restore.

recover deleted files to previous versions

To be honest, if you want to restore your erased files in this way, what I have to say is good luck with it. Of course you also have to make sure that you have set up restore point ahead of time following the guide above in Backup and Restore.

3. Recover files through File History in Windows 10/8.1/8

If you have turned File History on and set up a drive to back up the copies of your files before, don't hesitate to try:

  1. Step 1: Type "File History" in search section and open it.
  2. Step 2: Click on Restore personal files at left menu and all file backups will be displayed according to backup time.
  3. Step 3: Select files you deleted by mistake by right-clicking the green button and restore them to their original locations. You can restore them to a new location too.

recover deleted files through file history

Note: Backup and Restore is re-incorporated in Windows 10 now. You can find both File History and Backup and Restore in Control Panel window.

Approaches above work very well if you have backups of your deleted or lost files. It helps most when you want to bring back your deleted or lost files of older versions.

Solution2: Restore lost files with data recovery freeware (Effective)

Good for you. You have reached the easiest way to solve the missing files problem.

If none of solutions above helps you undelete files from PC partitions or external storage devices, you need professional data recovery software to help you out.

iBoysoft Data Recovery - professional and intuitive software for recovering various types of data from your PC hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, and external hard drives, with support for FAT32, NTFS and exFAT file systems. Thus file data recovery is no longer an issue in Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP. It is a powerful data recovery tool to rescue your deleted or lost documents, photos, videos, music, audio and emails fast and effectively. iBoysoft Data Recovery also provides other more advanced data recovery functions such as restoring deleted files from a formatted drive/partition or recovering deleted data from a BitLocker encrypted drive/partition.

Free deleted files recovery software - iBoysoft Data Recovery

  • Recover files from formatted partitions/drives
  • Recover files from RAW partitions and inaccessible drives
  • Recover files from lost/deleted/missing/disappeared partitions
  • Recover files from BitLocker encrypted partitions
  • Other data recovery
  • Work with Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003

Read-only & risk-free

Here is how exactly to undelete your files with iBoysoft Data Recovery:

Step 1: Free download, install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery on your PC.

Note: You need to download and install this free data recovery software onto another disk or partition to avoid data overwriting.

Step 2: Select one drive or a partition where you have deleted or lost your files and click Next.

Recover deleted files with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 3: Preview the files that are found through file directory at the left menu by double-clicking the file, after scanning is completed.

It may take a while for the program to scan for files if the drive or the partition contains a lot of data.

Recover deleted files with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Note: This software provides two modes - Quick Scan (default) and Deep scan. If you don't see your deleted or lost files after Quick scan, click Back to the home window and check "Deep scan". It will restart the scanning process. It usually takes longer time to do this, but it is worth waiting.

Step 4: Select what you want to recover and click Recover button.

It is strongly suggested that this time you save those recovered files into another location, in order to avoid potential data loss.

Conclusion

It is common for people to delete their important files by accident or without awareness. However, modern data recovery tools can enable you to retrieve them effectively by yourself.

Recycle Bin is supposed to be the first place you should take a look at.

Additionally, the built-in backup features in Windows including Backup and Restore, Shadow Copies and File History can be good approaches for you to back up your personal files on a regular basis and restore deleted files as needed.

Start to back up your files today!

A green hand of data recovery on Windows? Don't want to try complicated methods to get important files back? With iBoysoft Data Recovery, your accidentally deleted files are just a few clicks away. Most importantly, your lost important files will show up safe and sound.

Jessica

Jessica, a data recovery expert @iBoysoft, loves to share free and useful data recovery solutions with people to help them get their important files back on Windows and Mac.

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