Losing a file on a computer is a huge deal for any business or individual. Although many Windows OS users rely on the Recycle Bin to recover deleted files, this tool has some requirements, such as being only applicable for recently deleted files. However, there are some hidden ways you can recover lost files on Windows, and in this guide, we will show you the procedure to take.
Before You Recover Lost Files on Windows
There are several ways to recover lost files and data on your Windows-enabled computers. However, before you go ahead, here are a few things that can help you.
Where do deleted files go
Before knowing how to recover lost and deleted files, you should understand where permanently deleted files go. Permanently deleting a file on Windows does not mean it is gone, as the OS does not completely erase it. Instead, the OS labels the disk space as free even though the files are present. However, when you receive or write new files, the new files take up the free space, i.e., replace the “deleted/lost” files.
Note: Permanently deleting a file means it will no longer be in the Recycle Bin.
Do Not Use Your Computer
Using your computer after deleting or losing a file can lead to the creation/receiving of new files, which will overwrite the “free space.” As a result, this will reduce the chance of recovering the lost file.
This is important for recovering files used for Method 2: Using the Windows File Recovery Tool. Depending on the storage device, there are several file systems on the Windows OS. Each has a peculiarity in the type of recovery mode they are compatible with. You can check the file system of your storage device by following the steps below:
- Open the File Explorer
- Right-click on the drive you want to check
- Select Properties.
Method 1: Check Your Recycle Bin
The Recycle Bin is a Windows feature that accommodates deleted files with a size lesser than 5% of the original disk space for not more than 30 days. As a result, recovering lost files from the Recycle Bin is possible if you didn’t permanently delete the file and it is within the 30 days limits.
Follow the steps below on how to restore files from the Recycle Bin on the Windows 11
Search Recycle Bin on the Start Menu
Click on Open
Click on Sort and choose Date Deleted
Right-click on the lost file and click on Restore
After restoring, the file will be back in the folder where it previously was. You can search using the search bar/start menu if you don’t know the location.
Method 2: Use the Microsoft Windows File Recovery Tool
Microsoft has a command-line utility tool called Windows File Recovery then you can use to recover lost files on a hard drive, SSD, memory card, or thumb drive. The tool is available on the Microsoft Store and supports a computer running the Windows 10 May 2020 Update to Windows 11.
Navigate to Settings > System > About
Check whether you are running Windows 10 May 2020 update or higher (Update if you are not)
Open the Microsoft Store and download Windows File Recovery
Launch Windows File Recovery
Use the command below to search for and recover the lost file.
winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]
|Source-drive:||Use this for the storage device where the files were lost. It must be different from the destination-drive.||All|
|Destination-drive:||Use this to specify the storage device and folder to put the recovered files. It must be different from the source-drive.||All|
|/regular||Regular mode, suitable for working with non-corrupted NTFS drives||Regular|
|/extensive||Extensive mode, suitable for all file systems corrupted and non-corrupted||Extensive|
|/n filter||Scans for a specific file using the file name, path, type, or wildcards. Examples include:||All|
|/?||Summary of syntax and switches for general users||All|
There are two modes: regular and extensive
Regular Mode: The regular recovery mode is suitable for recovering recently deleted files on only NTFS drives. The recovery process is fast. However, it is not reliable.
Extensive mode: This mode is suitable for recovering lost (even after a long period) and corrupted files on any file system or after formatting a disk. It takes longer, but it is more reliable than the regular mode.
If successful the lost file will be placed in a folder name Recovery_
Type Y to view it.
Method 3: Use a Third-Party Application
There are several third-party recovery tools that you can use for your lost files. They have numerous advantages over the Microsoft Windows Recovery Tool due to better user experience and the lack of commands. However, they are costly. Examples include EaseUS, Disk Drill, and Stellar Recovery.
Method 4: Hire a Data Recovery Service
If the methods above don’t work, you might need to hire a data recovery service to help recover lost data. This is recommended for big businesses with large data files spanning a network. There are several data recovery services you can use. However, you can narrow down the best using the steps below;
- Research on Google or get a “tested” recommendation from other businesses
- Compare the cost of hiring and their capabilities
- Choose based on the lost file size and sophistication
V2 Cloud As An Online Backup?
Local storage of files often leads to lost files. As a result, having an online backup is a perfect solution. V2 Cloud is a cloud desktop infrastructure allowing you to access your data and manage files based on permission. It is preferable for businesses and individuals that desire a simple and stable cloud computing server with excellent performance and user experience.