How to Recover Deleted or Lost Files [3 Ways]

Jean updated on Sep 06, 2019 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


Apply the three ways to recover deleted files in Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista: [1]Windows Recycle bin; [2]Older (Previous) version of deleted files; [3]EaseUS file recovery software.

Have you ever been troubled by losing relevant data on your PC hard drive, memory cards, or USB devices because of mistaken deletion? We're glad to inform you that it is 100% possible to recover deleted files. Read through this page and you will learn many useful ways to manage this job. First, let's learn some valuable tips that might help you get a successful deleted file recovery result.

Useful tips for successful deleted files recovery

When data loss happens, first remember to stop using your computer or other external memory storage devices. 

Why is that? When you right-click a file and press Delete, the system hides the data by removing its file directory and marks the space as free for use. At this moment, you can quickly get the file back by rebuilding the file directory. The data in that space is not removed until that space is occupied by new data. New data is likely to overwrite the previously deleted files, so the possibility of successful data recovery will be affected. It's much riskier if you have a hard drive, memory card, or USB drive with limited free space.

Three possible ways to recover deleted files 

These are how Microsoft users delete pictures, videos, documents and other frequently used files in daily use:

  • To delete a file or folder, right-click on its icon and choose Delete from the pop-up menu.
  • To delete in a hurry, simply press the Delete key. Or, drag and drop files directly into Recycle Bin.

Deleted items by those manners should go into the recycle bin, with a second chance of recovery. Besides, there are other two situations you cannot handle because files will bypass Recycle Bin.

So, when you mistakenly delete data from a device, stop using the device as recommended, and start the data recovery process as soon as possible. There are 3 possible ways for you to recover deleted files in Windows 10/8.1/8/7.

If you are a Mac user, click and see how to recover deleted files on Mac.

Method 1. To recover deleted files from Windows Recycle Bin

If you simply deleted files on your computer by moving them to the Recycle Bin and didn't press the Empty Recycle Bin button, you can retrieve them back with ease. Just open the Recycle Bin, locate and right-click the files you want and choose "Restore". This will recover your deleted files back to their original location.

Method 2. To restore an older version of the deleted or lost file

If you have emptied the Recycle Bin, you can try to recover an older version of the deleted or lost file by using the free backup and restore feature built into Windows. To do it:

In Windows 7:

Step 1. Click the "Start" button --> "Computer", navigate to the folder that used to contain the file or folder.

Step 2. Right-click the folder, then click "Restore previous versions".

Step 3. You'll see a list of available previous versions of the deleted files or folders with different times and dates. Choose the version you want and click "Restore" to recover the deleted files.

Restore deleted files from the Previous Version in Windows 7 

In Windows 10/8.1/8:

Step 1. Open the folder that used to contain the deleted file and click the "History" button.

Step 2. File History will display all the files contained in the most recent backup of that folder.

Step 3. Click the "Previous" button to locate and select the file you want to retrieve, then click the "Restore" button to get it back. 

Restore deleted files via File History in windows 10/8.1/8

Method 3. To recover deleted files with data recovery software

If you want to recover the exact copy of your deleted files, and not a previously saved version, you can try third-party data recovery software. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is an easy recovery tool that has been serving in the market for over a decade. It is designed for dealing with all complicated data loss situations such as deleted recovery, format recovery, data recovery after virus attack, system crash, raw error, and more. It has helped numerous users recover deleted files from their PCs, external hard drives, memory cards, USB drives.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard employs advanced algorithm technology of thoroughly scanning each storage unit of a physical hard drive. The overall process for a user to search and find their deleted items is as follows.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard recovers deleted files and folders on your computer/laptop hard drive, USB flash drive, or micro SD card. It can scan all over its storage unit, and let users preview and restore lost files.

Step 1. Is it a local hard drive disk or a removable storage device from which the files were deleted? Choose the exact file location and then click the "Scan" button to continue.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Wait for the scan to completes. After the process, you can preview the found files and select what you need. There is no limit in number.

scan deleted files

Step 3. Now, click the "Recover" button to save the restored files to another location rather than the original one. Then, click "OK" to finish the recovery.

select files and click recover

Caution: Don't save the recovered files back to the partition or drive where you lost your data from! You can transfer to that location after recovery, but recovering directly to the same drive risks overwriting the file.  


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

It's super easy to recover 250+ types of files after deletion, disk formatting and virus infection. Click the links and compare the difference of each version.