Files Missing? How to Find Lost Files on Windows 10

If you didn't delete any files, but to find some files are missing, what can you do to find them? In this article, we will tell you, on a Windows 10 computer, how can you find lost files in various ways. Both official methods and the third-party software method are concluded.

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Windows will regularly release system update information for users. After the update, you will get the latest fixes and security improvements to help your device run efficiently and be protected. In most cases, restarting the computer would be the last step of a Windows system update. However, in some rare conditions, unexpected data loss would occur. Some of your documents, pictures, videos, and music will disappear after the update.

Since you did not intentionally delete these missing files, you may be confused about how and where to find these missing files. Don't panic, in this article, we will introduce several ways for you to find lost files in Windows 10.

How to find lost files in Windows 10

Method 1. Using Search Function

This method does not only work for finding lost files but can be applied to find all the files you want. Windows has a search bar for every user to search the specific file they want. Sometimes you think your files are lost, maybe just moved to another location you don't remember. Here's how to use the Windows search function to find the file you want.

Step 1. On your computer, double click "This PC" on the Desktop.

Step 2. On the right side, there is a search bar that enables you to search files on This PC.

Step 3. Enter the file name. It doesn't have to be the whole name, enter the keywords is enough.

Step 4. Once you enter the file name, Windows will automatically search for files that match the requirements. Check to see if the search results have the files you need.

Using search function to find lost files

Method 2. Search in Recycle Bin

Another way to search for lost files in Windows 10 is to search in the Recycle Bin. All deleted files on your computer will be moved to the recycle bin and stored for 30 days until they are permanently deleted by the operating system. So if you want to find your lost files, search in the Recycle Bin first.

Step 1. Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop.

Step 2. Enter the lost file's name in the search bar which is on the right side of the panel.

Step 3. All files with search terms in the Recycle Bin will be displayed, check if the lost files you want are in there.

Search lost files in the Recycle Bin

Method 3. Show Hidden Files

Another scenario of data loss is some files are turned into hidden files. After the file is converted to a hidden file, you will not be able to see or search for it. The following steps show you how to show hidden files.

Step 1. Right-click the Windows icon, and choose File Explorer.

Step 2. Select View > Options > Change folder and search options.

select view in file explorer

Step 3. Select View tab, under Advanced Settings, choose Show hidden files, folders, and drives.

Step 4. Click OK to confirm the changes.

Show hidden files

Now all the hidden files are showed on your computer, you could search for the files you need in the search bar.

Method 4. Using Windows File Recovery [Approved by Microsoft]

If you have confirmed that your files are lost, you could try the Windows recovery tool - File Recovery, to find the lost files back. This method is a little bit complicated, but don't worry, follow the steps below, you can finish it on your own.

*This app requires Windows 10 build 19041 or later.

Step 1. Download and launch File Recovery from Microsoft store.

Step 2. Click Yes to allow the app to make changes to your device.

Step 3. In the Command Prompt window, enter the following command: 

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

Step 4. There are two basic recovery modes: Regular and Extensive. 

Regular mode: 

Let's take the C: drive files for example. If you want to recover C: drive Documents to the recovery folder on an E: drive, enter the following command. Don't forget the backslash (\) at the end of the folder.  

Winfr C: E: /regular /n \Users\\Documents\

Enter the file extension you want to recover. Let's say recover PDF and Word files to E: drive.

Winfr C: E: /regular /n *.pdf /n *.docx

Extensive mode:

Recover any file with the string "invoice" in the filename by using wildcard characters.

Winfr E: C: /extensive /n *invoice* 

If you want to recover jpeg and png photos from your Pictures folder to the recovery folder on an E: drive. Enter the following command:

Winfr C: E: /extensive /n \Users\\Pictures\*.JPEG /n\Users\\Pictures\*.PNG

Method 5. Apply Third-Party Data Recovery Software

If you find using Windows File Recovery to find lost files too complicated, then you can try the Windows File Recovery alternative, which is third-party data recovery software. One such tool for Windows 10 is EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard which has a high success rate and remains easy to use.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard enjoys a good reputation in the field of data recovery. Simple recovery operations and powerful scanning capabilities are the reasons why it is so popular among users. Here are the amazing features of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

  • Recover deleted files, lost partition, formatted data, and many other lost data.
  • Both beginners and experts can recover lost files with three simple steps.
  • The free version recovers up to 2GB of data.
  • Works well in both Windows and Mac computers.

Now you can download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard from the button above and follow the guide to recover lost files on Windows 10 for free.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS file recovery software on your computer. Choose the exact location where you lost the files and click the Scan button.

Step 2. The software will immediately start scanning the drive and very soon the deleted files will show up. When the process is over, you can filter the document files.

Step 3. Select files (e.g. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and click the Recover button. You can browse for a different location to save the recovered files.

Act Now and Save Your Lost Files!

The above five methods almost cover all the data loss scenarios. No matter you delete the files or not, you can apply the methods we list to find lost files on Windows 10. Even if you have permanently deleted the files, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will scan and recover them for you.

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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