Where Do Files Go when Deleted & How to Recover Deleted Files

Have you ever think about the destination of your deleted files? Why some deleted files can be restored, but some cannot? This article is about to answer all your questions about where do files go when deleted. Keep reading and check more details.

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Table of Contents

One of our users has asked a question the other days - where do files go when deleted? And why some deleted files can be restored, but some cannot? Well, this is a quite good question. What we talk about most is the method to recover deleted files. But we never talked about the theory behind it. In this article, we will focus on what's behind deleted file recovery.

Where do files go

Where Do Files Go when Deleted

This question can be answered from two aspects, one is where do the computer files go after deletion, and the other is where do the USB flash drive or SD card files go after deletion. 

On the computer:

When you delete your computer files, all these files will be moved to the Recycle bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac) first. The files moved to Recycle bin or Trash are recoverable. Choose the files you want and click "Restore", the chosen files will be back to the original location.

One thing worth mention is that files in the Recycle bin also occupy disk space. This is because these files are stored in the Recycle bin and are not marked for deletion, so they still take up disk space. Once emptied the Recycle bin, the disk space will be restored.

On the USB flash drive/SD card:

If what you deleted are the files on the portable storage device such as a USB flash drive, there will be no Recycle bin. Even if you delete these files on your computer, the deleted files will not appear in the Recycle bin. But these files are also recoverable. 

Here's how it works. When you delete the files on the USB flash drive or SD card, your computer marks the space as rewritable. Now you just can't see the deleted files, but they are still on your device. If you use the data recovery software now, it could scan and find those invisible files, and recover them. 

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Can I Get a Deleted File Back?

This is also a frequently asked question. The answer is Yes! According to the above explanation, you can retrieve deleted files from the Recycle bin or through data recovery software. But there's one exception. If the file is deleted and overwritten, the chance of recovering the file may be small. Overwrite means that some other files or data have been added after deletion, and the newly added data occupies the disk space saved by the computer for the deleted files.

How to Recover Deleted Files

In this part, we will introduce all the available methods for deleted file recovery. Follow the steps one by one, you would bring back all the data you want.

Method 1. Recover Deleted Files from the Recycle Bin 

It's pretty easy to restore files from the Recycle Bin, find the files you need, and click restore. Here is the detailed guide.

Step 1. Find and open the Recycle Bin on the Desktop.

Step 2. Locate and select the deleted file(s) or folder(s) that you need to restore.

Step 3. Right-click the selected item and choose "Restore". 

Or you can go to the Manage tab on the top pane, click "Restore the selected items" to restore them. 

Recover from Recycle bin

Method 2. Recover Deleted Files with Data Recovery Software

Recovery from the Recycle bin does not apply to the following situations. First, you have emptied the Recycle bin. Second, what you want to recover is the deleted files on the portable storage device. Under these two situations, you need data recovery software to help you to recover files. 

Here we recommend EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. It has entered the data recovery industry for over 17 years. Even if you have emptied the Recycle bin, this tool can also scan and find all the deleted files. Here are the main features of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

  • Recover deleted, formatted, RAW, and damaged files.
  • Repair corrupted Word document, Excel, PDF, etc.
  • Recover and repair damaged photos and videos. (PNG, JPG, JPEG, MP4, MOV only)
  • Works well on both Windows PC and Mac computers.
 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

You can download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard now and follow the guide below to recover deleted files.

Step 1. Select the drive to scan

Select the Recycle Bin, a device, or a drive, then click the "Scan" button to start looking for deleted files on Windows 10/8/7.

select the location and click scan

Step 2. Check the results

When the scan completes, you can apply the "Filter" feature or click the "Search files or folders" button to quickly find the deleted files.

After the scan, check the lost files

Step 3. Recover deleted files

Click the "Recover" button to restore deleted files in Windows 10/8/7.

recover deleted files in Windows 10/8/7

Video Tutorial: How to Recover Deleted Files

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the files you delete on your computer will not disappear immediately, they will be stored in the recycle bin until they are emptied. The files you deleted on the USB drive or SD card will become invisible, and you can only restore them using data recovery software.

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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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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Product Reviews

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