How to Recover Files after Reinstalling Windows 10/8/7

Daisy updated on Mar 04, 2020 to Resource | How-to Articles


Reinstalling or clean install Windows 10/8/7 will remove the files on a partition or a whole disk. However, as long as the lost files are not overwritten by the new Windows files on your partition/disk, you can recover them using the data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

Needs to Clean Install or Reinstall Windows 10/8/7

After Windows reinstallation, you can enjoy quite some benefits, like wiping out malware, regaining control over your programs, and fixing system-related issues on your computer.

Besides, reinstalling Windows also works to speed up your computer by providing you with a fresh start. Based on these advantages, you may need to reinstall Windows in some specific situations.

  • Windows system files or boot files are deleted or corrupted
  • Windows registry has been corrupted
  • Hardware failure causes a Windows system crash
  • Fail to remove the virus/spyware
  • A fresh Windows installation
  • Windows system upgrades or updates
  • Other unknown reasons which cause Windows system unbootable

Can You Recover Files After Clean Install or Reinstalling Windows 10

When you are in the process of reinstalling Windows system, you may suddenly remember some important files that are in "My Document", system partition or on the desktop. Usually when you reinstall Windows, 'Documents and Settings' folder will be reinitialized while the files in that folder will be deleted, and all other previous files will be lost in the system partition.

The chance of data recovery varies depending on the way you used to reinstall Windows. There are two ways you can reinstall Windows either via Windows settings or using a bootable USB drive.

  • If you choose to clean install Windows, it will remove all the files on the target disk.
  • Even if you don't choose to clean install Windows, it will remove all the files from the system partition in order to complete Windows reinstallation.

Fortunately, these deleted files are recoverable before they are overwritten by new data. Generally, if the lost data is overwritten by the new Windows files, there is no way to get it back. If not, you can recover the lost files after the Windows reinstallation.

Since you can't determine whether the removed files are overwritten or not, you should apply the steps to recover files after reinstalling Windows to have a try.

How to Recover Files After Reinstalling Windows 10/8/7 (3 Ways)

WIndows data and files may not be deleted permanently after reinstalling Windows 10/8/7. The lost files can still be recovered using reliable methods.

In this part, you will uncover three proven & practical ways to recover files after reinstalling Windows 10/8/7 using Windows data recovery software, Windows File History Backup or performing System Restore.

To avoid further data loss, don't save new files to the disk from which you want to recover files. 

Method 1. Recover Data After Reinstalling Windows with EaseUS Data Recovery Software

As long as the lost files are not overwritten after reinstalling Windows, you can use the hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover your files from your system partition or disk. It supports deleted data recovery, formatted file recovery, lost partition recovery, OS crash recovery, RAW partition recovery and more. Apply this software immediately to recover files after reinstalling Windows as many as possible:

You can either follow this video tutorial or jump to detailed steps below to learn how to recover lost files after reinstalling Windows 10/8/7:

Step 1. Select a particular drive or device at which you want to scan for the deleted/lost files. Next, hit the "Scan" button to start the scanning process.

select the place

Step 2. Wait for the scan to finish. Then, choose the data you want to restore. You can click the files have a preview to select precisely.

scan the location to find data

Step 3. Now, click the "Recover" button to recover files to a customized path. Be careful not to save the data to the source disk to avoid data overwriting.

recover data

Method 2. Recover Files with Windows Backup File History

If you have no backup available, using a data recovery tool is recommended. However, if you have backed up your lost files via Windows File History, you can recover the lost files from the backup location.

Step 1. Open "Settings" and select "Update & Security".

Step 2. Find the "Backup" option to locate your backup.

Recover files after clean install Windows 10 using File History

Step 3. Under "Back up using File History", choose "More options".

Step 4. Scroll down to the "Related settings" section, choose "Restore files from a current backup".

Step 5. Look for the file you need, then use the arrows to see all its versions.

Restore lost files after reisntalling Windows from File History backup

Step 6. When you find the version you want, select "Restore" to save it in its original location.

To save it in a different place, right-click "Restore" > "Restore to", and then choose a new location.

Method 3. Perform System Restore to Restore Lost Files 

Note that if you have created a system restore point on your computer, you may bring the lost files due to Windows reinstallation. However, this will revert your OS to the previous status.

If this is not the result you expected, try the former two methods. If you don't mind to reinstall Windows 10/8/7 on your computer again, you may follow the steps below and give it a try:

Step 1. Press "Windows + R" keys in Windows 10/8/7 to bring up the Run box. 

Step 2. Type rstrui.exe in the empty box and hit Enter. This will open System Restore.

Step 3. Select "Choose a different restore point" and click "Next".

Step 4. Click "Scan for affected programs".

Check affected programs and files while running system restore.

Step 5. If none of your data drives is affected, click "Next" to finish the process. 

If your data drive is affected, back up your saved data to an external hard drive in advance. Then follow the onscreen instruction to finish the procedure. 

Tips to Reinstall or Clean Install Windows OS, No Data Loss

To ensure you can reinstall Windows 10, Windows 8, or earlier versions without data loss, here are some useful tips for you.

  • # 1. Back-Up Files in Advance

Windows reinstallation will inevitably cause data loss on your computer hard drive as demonstrated on this page. Therefore, it's important to back up your important files in advance.

  • When you attempt to reinstall Windows on a working PC, you can use the disk cloning software to make a copy of your disk or partition, which is much faster than manually copying and pasting.
  • If you try to reinstall Windows on a non-bootable PC, don't worry. You can use the Windows backup software to create a bootable media and back up your files before the installation.
  • # 2. Migrate Windows Instead of Clean Install (for Upgrading System Disk)

When you clean install Windows 10/8/7 on another, you will lose all your apps, settings, and files after the reinstallation. If you want to keep them, a better choice for you is to migrate OS.

  • # 3. Apply Data Recovery Software for Help

If you find there is unexpected data loss after reinstalling Windows, don't save any new files. And you should turn to EaseUS data recovery software to recover the lost data immediately if there is no backup. 

The Bottom Line

This page answers the solutions of how to recover lost files after reinstalling Windows 10/8/7 by using Windows data recovery software, File History, and System Restore. If you don't have a backup or system restore point, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is your best choice for bringing the lost files back. 

During the process of Windows reinstallation, don't tick the option of "Remove files and clean the drive". This will keep your important C drive saved files saved on the computer.

Two things for you to keep in mind: make sure you have backed up the files you need before the installation and perform data recovery as soon as possible once there is unexpected data loss.

FAQs About Recover Files After Reinstalling Windows 10

This page mainly answers the question of "How do I recover files after reinstalling Windows 10, 8 or 7". However, some people still have doubts about how to keep files safe during the Windows installation or reinstallation process.

We picked up 3 top concerned questions that you may also interest. Check out and find the answer to your questions here:

1. How do I reinstall old Windows and keep files?

There are two things that you should do to keep files on your computer while reinstalling Windows 10:

  • First, create the backup of your files in advance.

You may manually copy or use advanced Windows backup software to fully back up your data to an external hard drive in advance.

Next, don't tick "Remove files and clean the drive", but tick "Keep all my files" instead while installing Windows.

If you want to clean install Windows, refer to Clean install Windows 10 without losing data for a guide. 

2. Do you lose file when reinstalling Windows?

Basically, the answer to this question is yes. Windows reinstallation is a process of replacing everything on the old system drive with the new Windows files. During the process, files saved on the desktop, Documents, Music, Image, etc. folders, and in the C: drive will all be removed. 

In a word, you will lose some files when reinstalling Windows even if you tick the "Keep all my files" option at the beginning installing process. To avoid this tragedy, back up all your valuable files to an external hard drive in advance. You may refer to Backup Computer to USB Flash Drive as a guide. 

3. Is it possible to recover data after Windows 10 resets? 

Basically, Windows 10 reset will offer users a chance to decide whether you want to keep the files on your computer or not. If you have set computer to keep your files, most of your data saved data on the none system partition will be safely kept.

But the system C drive saved files will be removed during the process. Fortunately, you still have a chance to restore them as long as you haven't save new files on it.

The process is similar to the provided methods on this page: 1) Use EaseUS data recovery software to fully scan and restore all lost data. 2). Use File History Backup; 3) Perform System Restore.


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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

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