How to Recover Deleted Files in Windows 10

Accidentally deleted important files on your Windows 10 computer and wondering how to get them back? Well, there are several ways to recover the accidentally deleted files and we will discuss them all in this article. Keep reading and utilize each method to recover deleted photos, videos, audios, documents, emails, etc. in Windows 10 PC without any effort. Before perform the file recovery in Windows 10, you should immediately stop using the computer to prevent data overwriting.

Part 1. Why Deleted Files Can Be Recovered in Windows 10?

Why it is possible to recover deleted files in Windows 10? To understand this, you should first learn how the file system works. When you save a file in Windows 10, the system records the relevant information regarding the file including its name, location, file size and fie type. The information is stored in a different place from its file contents.

When you access the file, the Windows 10 operating system reads the file’s information band then searches for the contents of the file in the storage device. This type of searching is necessary since the file takes up a certain amount of storage space, often called sectors or blocks. This information is crucial in allowing the system to easily locate the file and display it to the user.

When you delete the file from your system, Windows 10 doesn’t actually delete the file. Instead, the system information about the file is deleted, but the actual contents of the file remain intact. The system marks the sectors or blocks once occupied by the file as free sectors so that new data can be stored there.

Unless new data occupies the blocks or sectors, the old file contents remain there. Data recovery tools can then be used to gain access to these sectors and recover the missing data. But we must point out that this is only possible if the data hasn’t been overwritten.

Part 2. Important Tips for Recovering Data in Windows 10

Now that you know why you can restore deleted files in Windows 10, there are several things that you need to keep in mind to improve your chances of recovery. They include the following:

  • Deleted files can only be recovered if they haven’t been overwritten by new data. This means that you need to protect the deleted data from being overwritten if you want to improve your chances of recovery. Do not save any new files to the storage device, install new software, edit or download files as well as stream any videos or music. Even the best data recovery program will not be able to recover a file that has been overwritten.

  • You’re able to recover deleted files from various storage devices including hard disks, virtual disks, USB drives, memory cards, flash drives and more. But you can’t recover data from SSDs (Solid State Drives) that use TRIM technology. Once the files are deleted on an SSD, the command tells the drive the block doesn’t contain information any more. Deleted data from these types of drives is completely removed from the system much faster which makes write speeds faster, but excludes the possibility of data recovery.

  • If the deleted files were saved in the disk’s system partition or a directory such as the desktop, then you should turn off the system and recover the data in WinPE environment or connect the hard disk to another computer. Or the file recovery will become impossible since the system can still inadvertently overwrite the files when it writes data for its own purposes, such as doing a Windows update.

  • Try data recovery programs before purchasing the premium version. Most data recovery programs will offer a free trial version which is the best way to test if the program is effective before spending money on it.

Part 3. How to Recover Deleted Files in Windows 10

3.1 Recover Deleted Files from Recycle Bin in Windows 10

When you delete a file or folder in Windows 10, it will go to the Recycle Bin before permanently erased. Unless you manually delete the file from the Recycle Bin or empty the Recycle Bin, you can easily recover the deleted files. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Recycle Bin folder on your Windows 10 PC. You can do that by double-clicking on its desktop icon.

  2. Find the deleted files and the select them. If there are a lot of files in the Recycle Bin, you can use filters like Name, Date Deleted, Size and more to locate the file or you can use the Search function.

  3. Right-click on the selected files and then choose Restore. You can also click on Restore the selected items in the top menu and all the files will be restored to their original location.

recover deleted files from recycle bin

3.2 Recover Deleted Files from a Windows Backup

If you can’t find the missing files in the Recycle Bin, then it is possible that you may already have permanently deleted them. In this case, you have the option to recover the delete files from a Windows Backup. But this method will only work if you have created a Window backup before. Follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Start Menu and find the Windows System section, then select Control Panel from the options presented. If you don’t see Control Panel from the options, use the search function to find it.

  2. Click on Backup and Restore (Windows 7) in the Control Panel window that opens.

  3. Scroll down to find the Restore section in the next window and then click on Restore my files.

  4. Follow the on-screen wizard to restore the deleted files from the backup.

recover deleted files from windows backup

3.3 Recover Deleted Files from Previous Versions

If you don’t have a backup of the Windows files, you might be able to restore Windows 10 files from previous versions. These are shadow copies of the files and folders that the operating system creates as part of its system restore points. Here’s how you can recover the delete files from previous versions:

  1. Open File Explorer on your computer and find the folder that used to contain the deleted or lost files.

  2. Right-click on that folder and then select Restore previous versions.

  3. You should see a list of the previous versions available. Choose the version that you would like to restore and click Restore.

restore previous versions

3.4 Recover Deleted Files in Windows 10 with Data Recovery

If you haven’t created a Windows backup or restore points, your only option is to use a third-party data recovery tool. Provided you have protected the data from being overwritten as we described above, a data recovery tool like FoneGeek Data Recovery is strongly recommended when it comes to the file recovery in Windows 10. This professional data recovery software can help you recover various types of data from your PC’s hard disk, emptied Recycle Bin, USB drives, SD cards, etc.


Here’s how to recover accidentally deleted files from Windows 10:

Step 1: Download FoneGeek Windows 10 Recovery and install it on to your computer. Launch the program and in the main window, select the drive where you have accidentally deleted files.

select location

Keep in mind that the data recovery software should be installed on another disk to avoid overwriting of the deleted files.

Step 2: Click on Start and the program will begin scanning the selected storage location for the missing files. If you see the deleted files during the scan, you can pause or stop the scanning process.

start scan

Step 3: All the files found on that drive will be displayed by categories. Click on the files to preview them and select your desired files, then click Recover to restore them back.

recover deleted files

It is important to avoid storing the recovered files in the same location where the data was lost in the first place.


Now you’ve learned the ways to recover deleted files in Windows 10. First go to the Recycle Bin to check if your deleted files are still there. If not, you can restore deleted files from a Windows backup or previous versions. After all, you can always rely on third-party data recovery software to recover deleted files in Windows 10. We recommend you performing regular backups to avoid data loss in the future.

Carol J. Lee
Sunday on Aug 23, 2020, 15:36:46 GMT / Post By Carol J. Lee to Windows Data Recovery

Carol is a technical blogger with rich experience in writing data recovery tips and tutorials. She has over 7-year experience in data recovery technology.

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