PC Optimization

How to Retrieve Deleted Files on Windows 10 

Accidentally deleting important files on your Windows 10 computer can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, there’s no need to panic. With the right knowledge and tools, recovering and restoring your deleted files to their original locations is easy. In this article, we will guide you through retrieving deleted files on Windows 10.

Also: Delete These Windows Files and Folders to Free Up Disk Space

Understanding File Deletion on Windows 10

How to Retrieve Deleted Files on Windows 10

Before we delve into the recovery process, it’s essential to understand how file deletion works on Windows 10. It’s important to note that deleting a file from your computer doesn’t necessarily mean it’s completely erased. Instead, Windows 10 moves the file to the Recycle Bin, which temporarily stores deleted files. That means that you have a chance to restore your files from the Recycle Bin without much hassle.

Step 1: Checking the Recycle Bin

The first and easiest step to recover deleted files is to check the Recycle Bin. Follow these simple steps:

  • Find the icon for the Recycle Bin on your desktop.
  • Double-click on the Recycle Bin to open it.
  • Search for the deleted file you want to recover.
  • Right-click on the file and select “Restore.”

Step 2: Utilizing File History

If you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin or deleted the file using “Shift + Delete,” don’t worry; your files may still be recoverable through File History.

  • Open the “Start” menu and go to “Settings.”
  • In the Settings menu, select “Update & Security.”
  • Click “Backup” and then choose “Backup using File History.”
  • To recover the deleted file, locate the folder it was in and click on the “History” button at the bottom.
  • Browse through the different versions of the folder to find your deleted file.
  • Once located, click on the “Restore” button.

Step 3: Previous Versions Feature

Windows 10 also offers a “Previous Versions” feature, which can be incredibly useful for recovering accidentally deleted files. However, this feature needs to be enabled beforehand. Here’s how you can use it:

  • Right-click on the folder that previously contained the deleted file.
  • Select “Restore previous versions.”
  • A list of available previous versions will appear. Choose the version closest to the time you had the file.
  • Click on “Restore” to retrieve the deleted file.

Step 4: Data Recovery Software

Don’t lose hope if the above steps fail to recover your deleted files. There are several reliable data recovery software options available that can significantly increase your chances of success. Some famous data recovery tools include Recuva, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, and MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

  • Download and install your preferred data recovery software.
  • To recover a deleted file, open the software and choose where the file was originally stored.
  • Initiate the scanning process to find deleted files.
  • Once the scan is complete, review the list of recoverable files and select the one you want to retrieve.
  • To recover the file, click on the “Recover” button. Next, choose a secure location to save the file.

Step 5: Recycle Bin Capacity

The Recycle Bin on Windows 10 has a limited storage capacity, and once it reaches its maximum limit, older deleted files will be permanently removed to make space for new deletions. Monitoring the Recycle Bin’s capacity and emptying it regularly is essential to avoid losing recoverable files due to overfilling.

Step 6: Network File Deletion

Please note that the process for deleting files may differ when dealing with files stored on network drives or shared folders. Deleting a file from a network location typically skips the Recycle Bin and is permanently erased. In such cases, checking with your network administrator or the file’s owner for recovery options is advisable.

Step 7: File Deletion on Solid State Drives (S.S.D.s)

Solid State Drives (S.S.D.s) function differently from traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). When a file is deleted from an S.S.D., the drive may use TRIM to erase the data immediately. It means that recovery from an S.S.D. may be more challenging and often requires specialized data recovery techniques.

Step 8: File Shredding

Sometimes, you may need to delete files permanently to ensure no one can recover them. Windows 10 does not provide native file shredding options. Using third-party file-shredding software can overwrite the data multiple times, making it almost impossible to recover.

Step 9: File System and File Allocation

The Windows 10 operating system uses different file systems, such as NTFS (New Technology File System) and FAT32 (File Allocation Table 32). Each file system has its way of handling file deletion and storage allocation, affecting the recoverability of deleted files. Understanding the file system in use can be essential when attempting data recovery.

Step 10: OneDrive and File Deletion

How to Retrieve Deleted Files on Windows 10 

If you have OneDrive configured to sync files with your Windows 10 computer, file deletion on your local system may impact the cloud-stored files as well. Deleted files may be moved to the OneDrive recycle bin online, and you can recover them from there within a limited time frame.

Step 11: Third-Party File Managers

Using third-party file managers or cleaners may lead to unintended file deletion. Some file management tools offer features to clean up disk space by removing unused files, and if not used carefully, they might delete essential files.

Step 12: File Deletion Logs

Windows 10 keeps track of file deletion activities in event logs. Checking these logs can provide insights into when and how a file was deleted, which can be helpful in specific recovery scenarios.

Step 13: Disk Imaging

Creating a disk image or backup of your entire hard drive can effectively preserve data in case of accidental deletion or system failures. Disk imaging creates a snapshot of your entire industry, making it easier to recover data in its original state.

Step 14: Deleting Encrypted Files

Deleting encrypted files using Windows BitLocker or third-party encryption software complicates recovery. Recovering the deleted data with the encryption key might only be possible.

Step 15: Windows File History

Enabling Windows File History allows your system to create important file backups regularly. That feature can serve as an additional layer of protection against accidental deletions.

Understanding how Windows 10 handles file deletion is essential for successfully recovering lost data. By considering these additional steps, you can confidently navigate the intricacies of data recovery and minimize the risk of permanent data loss.

Tips for File Recovery and Preventing Data Loss

Tip 1: Act Immediately

Acting quickly is crucial if you realize you accidentally deleted an important file. Recovering the file sooner increases the likelihood of success. That is because the deleted data may get overwritten by new data as time passes, making recovery more complex.

Tip 2: Regular Backups

Prevention is better than cure. To avoid the stress of file recovery, make it a habit to create regular backups of your essential files. You can use external hard drives, cloud storage, or Windows 10’s built-in backup options. Regular backups ensure you’ll have a recent copy to restore even if you accidentally delete a file.

Tip 3: Check Recycle Bin Before Emptying

Before you empty the Recycle Bin, double-check its contents to ensure you have correctly included essential files. The files are permanently deleted once you open the Recycle Bin, making the recovery process more complex.

Tip 4: Use “Delete” with Caution

Exercise caution when using the “Delete” key or the “Shift + Delete” shortcut. Remember to verify the files you delete, especially if they are crucial documents, photos, or videos.

Tip 5: Keep Your System Updated

It’s important to regularly update your Windows 10 operating system to stay up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. That can help prevent data loss due to system vulnerabilities or software bugs.

Tip 6: Avoid Installing Software on the Same Drive

When using data recovery software, it’s better to install it on a separate drive than the one from which you are trying to recover data. Installing recovery software for the same purpose may lead to overwriting the deleted data, reducing the chances of successful recovery.

Tip 7: Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried all the methods mentioned in this article and still cannot retrieve your deleted files, it might be time to seek professional data recovery services. Data recovery experts have specialized tools and knowledge to deal with complex data loss situations.

Tip 8: Use Cloud Storage Services

Cloud storage services like Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox offer a secure and convenient way to store your files off-site. By syncing your essential data to the cloud, you can access it from any device and ensure a backup is readily available in case of accidental deletion or hardware failure.

Tip 9: Enable System Restore Points

Windows 10 has a built-in System Restore feature that allows you to create restore points. These restore points act as snapshots of your system, capturing its state at a specific time. If you face any issues, including accidental file deletion, you can use System Restore to revert your computer to a previous stable state.

Tip 10: Invest in an Uninterruptible Power Supply (U.P.S.)

Power outages or sudden disruptions can lead to data loss if your computer shuts down unexpectedly while working on important files. Investing in a U.P.S. can protect your computer from premature power failures, giving you enough time to save your work and prevent data loss.

Tip 11: Educate Users and Set File Permissions

In a multi-user environment, educate all users about the importance of data safety and file management. Setting appropriate file permissions can help prevent unauthorized users’ accidental deletions or modifications of critical files.

Tip 12: Use Reliable Antivirus Software

Malware and viruses can cause data loss or corruption in your system. To safeguard your computer against potential threats resulting in data loss, it is important to install trustworthy antivirus software and ensure it is regularly updated.

Tip 13: Regularly Check Disk Health

Monitor the health of your hard drives regularly using tools like C.H.K.D.S.K. (Check Disk) or S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology). Detecting and fixing any disk errors promptly is important to avoid losing important data due to a failing hard drive.

Tip 14: Secure Your System with Passwords

To improve the security of your information, it’s important to use strong passwords and enable encryption for sensitive files. That will add protection and help prevent unauthorized access or data theft.

Tip 15: Be Cautious with Third-Party Software

It is important to exercise caution when downloading and installing software from the internet. It is recommended only to use reputable sources. Some software may contain malware that can lead to data loss or compromise your system’s security.


Losing essential files on Windows 10 can be distressing, but you can often recover them successfully with the right approach. The key is to act quickly, check the Recycle Bin, use File History and Previous Versions, and employ reliable data recovery software if needed. Moreover, implementing preventive measures such as regular backups, cloud storage, and maintaining a healthy system can significantly reduce the risk of future data loss.

By following the outlined steps and taking precautionary measures, you can safeguard your valuable data and have peace of mind, knowing that your files are protected from accidental deletion or system failures. Embrace the power of technology while being mindful of data safety, and you’ll enjoy a seamless and worry-free computing experience.


Can I recover files deleted by other users on the same computer?

In most cases, you can only recover deleted files from your user account. Other user accounts deleted files are typically stored in their respective Recycle Bins.

Can I recover files from a formatted drive?

If you have accidentally formatted a drive and need to recover files, data recovery software can help. Remember that this process’s success rate may vary depending on how much data has been overwritten.

Are all data recovery software options free?

No, while some data recovery software comes with free versions, they may limit the amount of data you can recover. Premium versions often offer more extensive features and higher recovery capacities.

What should I do if my data recovery attempts fail?

If your data recovery attempts fail, stop using the affected drive immediately to avoid further overwriting. Consider seeking professional data recovery services for advanced recovery options.

How can I prevent data loss due to hardware failure?

Regularly back up your files to an external storage device or the cloud to prevent data loss from hardware failure. Additionally, consider using reliable and well-maintained hardware components.

With these comprehensive steps and tips, you can successfully retrieve deleted files on Windows 10. Remember that acting quickly, being cautious with file deletion, and creating regular backups are essential practices to minimize the impact of accidental data loss. While data recovery software can work wonders, it’s always best to prevent data loss in the first place. Safeguard your valuable files and memories by proactively protecting your digital assets. Happy computing!

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