Related: How to Mount Removable Storage Devices in Windows 10/11
Look in the Recycle Bin
You can see everything that’s inside the Recycle Bin or trashcan by double-clicking on it. Are you able to recover what you thought you’d deleted? Simply re-drag it to your desktop and you’re ready to go. If you can’t find it in your trashcan, there are a few other options for recovering a deleted file.
Hopefully, you’ve been backing up your data. If this is the case, you can use the backup recovery service to restore an earlier version of your file. It may be a day old, but losing a day is preferable to losing everything.
Related: How to Configure Keyboard Shortcut to Open Calculator in Windows 10/11
How to Recover Deleted Files Using File History
If you aren’t backing up, make sure File History Backup is turned on. If you’re using Windows* 10, go to Settings > Update & security > Backup > Add a drive, and then select an external drive or a network location for your backups.
To Restore That Important Missing File or Folder:
- In the taskbar’s search box, type Restore files, and then select Restore your files with File History.
- Find the file you’re looking for, then use the arrows to see all of its versions.
- Select Restore to save the version you want in its original location once you’ve found it. To save it somewhere else, hold down the Restore button (or right-click it), select Restore to, and then choose a new location.
If you don’t have any backups and your file isn’t in the trash, try one of the many file recovery programs available, either for free or for a fee, such as Piriform Recuva, or Stellar Data Recover.
Disk Drill, a recovery tool originally designed for Mac* but now available for Windows, is another option. It can assist you with partition loss, hard drive reformatting, failed boot-ups, and accidental deletions, among other things.
Another thing to think about is whether you’ve emailed the file to anyone. Have you used a cloud-based service like DropBox, iCloud, or SkyDrive to save a copy? If that’s the case, you might be able to get a copy there. It’s better than nothing, even if you lose the most recent changes.
After you realize you’ve accidentally deleted a photo, document, spreadsheet, report, or other file, you have a number of options to consider. Also, get those backups going so you have more options the next time you need to find a deleted file.