How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 10


recover deleted files in windows 10 via Disk Drill

So, is it Possible to Recover Permanently Deleted Files on Windows 10?

Yes. Due to the method in which the Windows operating system handles the deletion of data, it is possible to recover files that were thought to be permanently deleted from your Windows 10 machine. You are often able to get back files that are no longer logically available to the system due to the fact that they are still physically present on their storage media. Until Windows reuses the storage, the files are not truly lost and could be recovered.

recover deleted files in windows 10 by Disk Drill

Logically deleted files can remain resident on their hard drive for an extended period of time, based on your computer usage. Windows logically deletes files and marks their previous storage as available for reuse. The file is still physically available until the time that Windows actually overwrites it with new data, even though you can no longer access it through Windows Explorer. This makes it possible to recover permanently deleted files on Windows 10 computers.

restore deleted files in windows 10 with Disk Drill

There are many reasons that data such as documents or videos can be lost. Human error can be the culprit as it is easy to accidentally delete an important file during the course of a normal workday. Software upgrades can sometimes inadvertently delete files from your machine. Infection with malware or a virus can also lead to data loss. Suddenly files that were on your desktop have disappeared!

When faced with a data loss scenario, there are several methods that can be used in an attempt to undelete or retrieve the lost information.

Your first action when a data loss is discovered should be to stop using the affected storage device as soon as possible. This will minimize the chance that Windows will overwrite the files before recovery can be performed.

Let’s look at three common methods used to restore deleted files on Windows 10.

#1: Check the Recycle Bin or Try to Restore Previous File Versions

This method should be the first one you employ when you need to recover deleted files on Windows 10 computers. If the file in question was deleted recently, it may be in the Recycle Bin where it is easily retrieved.

To do so, follow these simple steps.

  1. Double-click on the Recycle Bin to open it.
  2. Find and see the files to be recovered. You can use the Ctrl and Shift keys to choose multiple items at once.
  3. Right-click on the selection and choose Restore. This will restore the file to its original location. You can also drag the file out of the Recycle Bin and drop it on a new location where it will be stored.
  4. Verify the files have indeed been restored to their original or new location.recover deleted files in windows 10 via Recycle Bin

#2: Recover Deleted Files on Windows 10 Using Data Recovery Software

Using file recovery software may be necessary in order to undo the effects of a data loss event. We recommend CleverFiles’ Disk Drill for Windows as your data recovery tool of choice. It is a comprehensive data recovery application which makes use of advanced algorithms to scan any storage media for deleted files that can be recovered. Its deep scanning mode will scavenge your disk for fragments of files that can be reconstructed long after they have been deleted from the storage device.

Disk Drill can be downloaded for free and can be used to recover up to 500MB of data and view all files that are available for recovery without any financial investment. Larger restores will necessitate the purchase of the Pro version of the tool.

Here are the steps to employ when recovering lost data with Disk Drill.

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.

    It is strongly recommended that you do not use the disk that will be used for the recovery. Installing on that disk can lead to corruption or overwritten files before you get the chance to recover them.

  2. Launch the application.
  3. Select the disk or partition where the files were located from the list presented in the application’s window.
  4. Click the Search for lost data button to initiate Disk Drill’s scanning algorithms. As it processes, you will be presented with a list of the files that can be recovered.recover deleted files in windows 10
  5. Select the files you wish to restore and a new location where you will store them.

    Don’t use files original location as this can lead to file corruption during the restore.

    restore deleted files in windows 10

  6. Click Recover to perform the data recovery.recover permanently deleted files in windows 10
  7. Navigate to the new location and verify that the files are fully recovered and usable by your applications.recover permanently deleted files in windows 10 with Disk Drill

Disk Drill is an essential tool for data recovery. Download it for free and see how easy it is to use and how it can help protect and recover your data.

#3: Restore Accidentally Deleted Files on Windows 10 From a File History Backup

One of the most important tasks for all computer users is the protection of the data that reside on the machine. The best way to accomplish this is to perform a regular system backup using the backup tool of your choice. Windows 10 offers a built-in backup and recovery tool called File History that can be instrumental in allowing you to restore deleted items. Windows users should take the time to set it up to protect the data on their laptop or PC.

Here are the steps to recover deleted files from a File History Backup.

  1. Click on the File Explorer icon and open the folder that contained the items that you want to recover.
  2. Click the Home tab and then the History button.
  3. Select the files or folder that you wish to restore.
  4. Navigate through time with the arrows to search for the version you want to recover.
  5. Click the Restore button to restore the file to its original location. 
  6. Address any naming conflicts by replacing the original file with the restored version, skipping the file, or keeping both for your review.restore deleted files in windows 10 via file history

Why You Should Use Recovery Software

Recovery software may be the only option to recover files which have been deleted by mistake. You should consider installing and becoming familiar with a quality data recovery product to address these specific situations.

  • Lack of File History backups – Unless you take backups constantly, there is a chance that recently created files that have been deleted were never backed up. To recover them, you will need to use data recovery software.
  • Emptied Recycle Bin – You might find that after deleting a number of files as part of a cleanup operation, the Recycle Bin has been emptied. Now when you discover that a file you need is not recycled but permanently deleted, a data recovery tool will be required to recover your lost data.
  • Unexplained data loss – Faulty upgrades or malware can result in large scale data losses with files disappearing without making a stop at the Recycle Bin.

The ability to unerase data previously stored on your hard drive can be critical to the success of a business or personal project. It is well worth some time spent on learning how to use your data recovery software. Check out how it functions before the stress of recovering during an actual data loss event.

recover permanently deleted files in windows 10


Q: Is it possible to recover permanently deleted data without using any software?

Yes. As we have illustrated above, you can potentially bring back deleted files from the Recycle Bin or from an old backup of the file in question.

Q: Can I recover a deleted folder on Windows 10?

Yes. Deleted folders are dealt with in the same manner as files and can be recovered through the methods we have previously discussed.

Q: Can I recover deleted files that are too big for the recycle bin?

Yes, through the use of backups or data recovery software.

How to Prevent Accidentally Deleting Data on Windows 10

Preventing the accidental deletion of data from your computer is certainly preferred over spending time recovering from data loss events. Here are some tips that may help you protect your valuable information and enable you to access it at any time.

Tip #1

Minimize human interaction – Human error is the primary cause of data loss. Controlling access to a computer and its data can go a long way in protecting it from unexpected data loss. Training in correct procedures can help minimize mistakes, but as long as people are interacting with computers the chance of an accident that wipes out some data will continue to exist.

recover deleted files in windows 10

Tip #2

Take regular backups – Backing up your computer is critically important if you value the data that it contains. At a minimum, you should be using the internal File History method of backing up a Windows 10 machine to an external storage device. You should also consider cloud backups to maintain copies of important data in an alternate location to protect against physical disasters such as fire or flooding.

restore deleted files in windows 10

Tip #3

Keep system software up to date – Installing the latest system updates can help prevent data loss. These updates often address bugs and security flaws that could increase your chances of losing data.

recover deleted files in windows 10 system up to date

It is impossible to totally guard against data loss. Most experienced Windows users have had to recover lost files and folders at one time or another. Using the methods outlined above will give you a great chance of recovering all of your lost data. Remember to get those backups set up, and good luck with your recovery efforts.

Jeff Cochin is a data management and recovery professional, who has been with Pandorarecovery for nine years and has always been an essential part of the team. Jeff also works as a technical writer at Macgasm, being a first hand in testing, trying and writing about big and small tech software.