There is no doubt that recovering accidentally deleted files is not impossible, as Windows automatically puts them in the Recycle Bin, so you can easily restore them with a few clicks, but if you delete files permanently, you will not be able to restore them from the Recycle Bin.
Recover Deleted Files on Windows
In the world of computers, things don’t go away forever, there are other ways to catch up.
In this report, we list ways to recover deleted files on Windows devices, specifically those compatible with Windows 10/11, quoting from the Singaporean Make Tech Easier website :
1. From the Recycle Bin
The easiest way to recover any deleted files if you ever need it or realize you’ve deleted them by mistake:
Click on the Recycle Bin icon on the screen.
Find the file you want to restore and right-click on it.
You will find an option to “restore” the file to the original folder.
Alternatively, double click on the file, and it will open in its original location or you can drag the file to the desired folder.
For example, if you delete a file from the Pictures folder, you can open the folder and drag the file from the Recycle Bin to that folder to restore it. If you drag a file from the Recycle Bin to a folder that contains a file with the same name, the device will ask if you want to replace that file.
If you are recovering a number of files, the above method will be cumbersome.
So, you can choose the files by pressing and holding the Ctrl button from the control panel and then clicking on “Restore All Items”.
In Windows 11, the Recycle Bin has a “Restore All Files” button that doesn’t even ask you to select files beforehand.
2. Restore previous versions of the file
When you delete or move a file or folder, Windows keeps the old version of that file and stores it in the Recycle Bin.
Those older versions appear in the File History window and you can use them to restore old files or even restore your entire storage disk to its previous state.
Understanding how to restore old versions of files from the Recycle Bin can help you recover files if you accidentally deleted them. You can also use this method to repair a file that was damaged or to view the contents of a file several days ago.
To restore previous versions of the file, open File Explorer and locate the original folder of the deleted files.
Right-click on the folder and select “Restore Previous Versions”.
In Windows 11, once you right-click on the folder, you will need to select “Show more options” to be able to get to the menu where the “Restore previous versions” option is available.
These two methods are the most primitive methods for recovering files on Windows devices.
For more advanced methods, you will need to use Command Prompt to recover files, as we will explain below.
3. Using Command Prompt
You can perform several rescue tasks from the Command Prompt, including recovering deleted files , even if you permanently delete them from the Recycle Bin on a Windows PC.
On a computer, click the search bar at the bottom.
Type “Command Prompt” and click on the “Run as Administrator” option.
Once the Command Prompt window opens, type the following command and hit Enter. And don’t forget to change the “Hard Disk Partition Letter” and write the letter of the hard disk partition you want to restore deleted files to.
chkdsk “hard disk partition letter”: /f
Now, type “Y” to open the command lines again.
Then, enter the following command. Change the “Hard Disk Partition Letter” to the letter of the respective hard disk partition.
ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D “Hard Disk Partition Letter”:*.*
The above commands will perform a comprehensive search for read-only files, multiple files, hidden files, and subfolders.
Once the commands are executed, you can go back to the respective hard disk partition where the device created a new folder automatically. But the files will be in .chk format. You will have to modify the file format and save it in the desired folder before opening it.
Alternatively, you can also use Command Prompt to open the Recycle Bin and recover deleted files.
Press Win + R, type the following command, and press Enter:
It will open the Recycle Bin folder and you will be able to follow the steps mentioned in the first solution to recover files.
Using the Windows File Recovery Tool
Windows File Recovery is a dedicated data recovery application.
You can use it to recover files that cannot be recovered from the Recycle Bin, which is a command-line application that can recover files from a variety of sources including internal and external storage devices and memory cards.
Here’s how to use the app on Windows 10/11.
You will need to download the app from the Microsoft Store.
Once the application is installed, you will be able to use the PowerShell command line interface or the traditional Command Prompt in admin mode. Although both PowerShell and the Command Prompt have the same features and functionality, PowerShell is an advanced version of the Command Prompt.
Start by pressing the Win + X buttons.
Choose “Windows PowerShell (admin)” or “Command Prompt (admin)”, then enter the following command. Remember to change the ‘X’ with the drive partition you want to restore the deleted files to.
winfr c: x:
On Windows 11, delete the search button and search for Windows PowerShell to open the application.
Anyway, to recover the file more accurately, you can enter the following command.
winfr “source drive”: “destination drive”: /n \Users\Folder\
Instead of recovering all your deleted files, the command will allow you to restore files from a specific folder. Remember to change the Source Drive Partition and Destination Drive Partition with the letters of your desired drive partitions. You can also add a specific folder from which you want to restore files.
Finally: You can avoid this dilemma by keeping a backup copy of your files to avoid this error in the future.