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

Daisy updated on Sep 10, 2019 to Resource | How-to Articles


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

About Clean Install/Reinstalling Windows 10

Thanks to Windows reinstallation, there are quite a few benefits you can enjoy, like wiping out malware, regaining control over your programs, and fixing system-related issues on your computer. Besides, reinstalling Windows also has the potential 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 Windows 10

When you are in the process of reinstalling Windows system, you may suddenly remember some important files are in the "My Document", system partition or on the desktop. After Windows reinstalled, you only find these important files have been lost. 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. However, these deleted files are recoverable unless they are overwritten.

The chance of data recovery varies depending on the way you used to reinstall Windows. There are two ways you can use to reinstall Windows, either via Windows settings or using a bootable USB drive. If you choose to clean install Windows using either of the ways, you will remove all the files on the target disk. Even if you don't choose to clean install Windows, you remove all the files from at least one partition in order to complete Windows reinstallation. However, whether you choose clean install or not, the chance of data recovery depends on whether the deleted files are overwritten.

Briefly speaking, 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 in 2 Ways

There are two workable ways for you to recover files after reinstalling Windows 10/8/7.

Method 1. Recover Data After Clean Install Windows with EaseUS Data Recovery Software

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

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:

To Recover Data After Windows installation with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard,  you can directly 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. Click the "Start" menu and choose "Settings" (the gear icon).

Step 2. Go to "Update & Security" > "Backup".

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.

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.

Recover files after clean install Windows 10 using File History

Suggestions on Windows Reinstallation

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

  • Back Up Files in Advance

Windows reinstallation will inevitably cause data loss on your computer hard drive. 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.

  • Migrate Windows Instead of Clean Install

When you clean install Windows 10/8/7, you will clean a whole disk, which means 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.

  • Apply Data Recovery Software

If you find there is unexpected data loss after reinstalling Windows, don't hesitate to use data recovery software to recover the lost data if there is no backup available. 

The Bottom Line

During the process of Windows reinstallation, choosing "Remove files and clean the drive" do make it harder to recover the removed files, but not impossible. 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.


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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.