How To Recover Deleted Files on Windows PC

Recover Deleted Files

In spite of the advancement in technology, digital files are still susceptible to data corruption, loss, etc. Although frequent and multiple backups are highly recommended, it is unfortunately not enough to prevent disasters caused by complete data loss.

A lot of things can happen while you’re working on your computer. The files can accidentally get deleted, or the files suddenly get corrupted, or maybe a power outage occurs while you’re working on your digital files and you lose all of it because you don’t have any backups.

Personally, I’ve dealt with these types of issues multiple times. Once, I lost all the files that I had stored in the memory card used as external storage for my cellphone. The memory card just stopped working and it couldn’t be recognized by the computer so the files inside it couldn’t be accessed or retrieved. Thankfully, I had backups for those files stored on my computer so I was able to recover the lost files without any issues.

Another time, I lost all the photos I took with my cellphone when I accidentally deleted the original files. I was transferring the photos from my cellphone to a USB thumb drive via USB OTG cable. I thought I already copied and transferred the photos to the thumb drive so I went ahead and deleted the original copies on my phone to clear up some space. It was too late when I realized that I had made a mistake (the photos weren’t transferred to the laptop) and the majority of the photos were already deleted.

Unlike the first experience where I had a backup of the files, this time I didn’t have any backups since I was in the process of backing up the original copies and transferring them when the files got lost. This time, I was able to recover the files thanks to the help of a file recovery software that helps users recover deleted files. If it weren’t for that piece of software, I would’ve lost all the photos and memories from our family trip.

Today, I’m going to share with you a few tips on how to recover deleted files on Windows PC.


Recycle Bin

Before you panic and call tech support, make sure that you check the Recycle Bin and see if the file/s you’re looking for are there. As a safety measure, the Windows operating system stores deleted files in the Recycle Bin.

If the Recycle Bin hasn’t been emptied, you should be able to locate your lost or deleted files there. Once you’ve located them, just right-click and select Restore.

Recover Older Versions of Deleted Files

In case the Recycle Bin because has been emptied and the files are no longer available, you can try to recover the deleted file/s using the built-in backup and restore feature available on Windows 7 and later versions.

Windows 7

  • Look for the folder where the deleted file was previously stored in.
  • Right-click on the folder and click Restore Previous Versions.
  • It will list down previous versions of the file.
  • Select the file version that you want and click Restore.

Windows 8, 8.1 or 10

  • Go to the folder where the deleted file was previously stored in.
  • Click on Home menu (upper left corner) then select History.
  • File History will show all available backups for that folder.
  • Select the file/s you want to recover and click the Restore icon (green circle button).



As I mentioned earlier in the post, having frequent and multiple backups are highly recommended. Purchase an ample-sized external hard drive to store all your important files – documents, photos, videos, etc. If you don’t have the budget to purchase a new one, you can recycle hard drives from your old desktop or laptop computer by reformatting them and purchasing a hard drive enclosure to convert it into an external hard drive.

Another backup option is to use free cloud storage services. There is a lot of good and reliable cloud storage available for free like – Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, MEGA, MediaFire, OneDrive just to mention a few. The services offer between 5GB to 50GB and even though they are limited, they still provide a good and secure way of creating backups of your important files. You can use cloud storage services to store smaller files like HTML, Word documents, PDFs, etc.

If you perform regular backups, then you will most likely have a working copy of the file that you lost and be able to use that to finish your work.


Disk Drill

Having multiple backups on your external drives and the cloud is great but what if the only copies you have are on the device and they accidentally got deleted? Sometimes important files get mistakenly deleted from the computer and end up on the Recycle Bin. You can still recover files that are sent to the Recycle Bin but what if those copies were also deleted?

With the help of a file recovery software like Disk Drill, you can recover files even those deleted from the Recycle Bin as long as the low-level file system information doesn’t get overwritten.

You can download a free version of Disk Drill file recovery software from their official website.


If you accidentally delete files on your Windows PC, make sure that you stop using it. Do not do anything on your computer except for the tips listed above. By doing so, you will prevent the low-level file system information from being overwritten and improving your chance of recovering the lost files.

Hope that these few simple tips can help you recover deleted files from your Windows PC and avoid a disaster at home, school, or work.

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1 Comment

  1. This is a nice article, prevention is better than cure so backing up files is very much important. I do product photography a lot and I’m doing a backup everytime I finish a shoot and then do a monthly back up to store files on another location to be sure. I use recuva software just in case for retrieving deleted files

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