Free | How to Quick Recover Missing Files after Cut and Paste

Have you ever lost files during Cut and Paste operations on Windows 10? Don’t worry. You’ll find easy ways to recover files after Cut and Paste in all scenario.


by Ivy Updated on November 3, 2022

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Help: I want to recover Cut and Paste files on Windows 10

"I used to do my work at home and use a USB flash drive to store important work files. Just last week, I cut and pasted some important data from my home Windows 10 computer to a USB flash drive, but I lost it on the way to work. Can anyone tell me if there is a way to recover files that has been Cut and Pasted? I really need them, thanks a lot!"

recover files after cut and paste

In file management, Cut and Paste are common features that allows you to easily move files from one location to another. However, unexpected issues may occur like the storage lost in the case. And some users may directly get file lost during Cut and Paste.

Just in case, it is recommended to use Copy and Paste options in the future. Even if something unexpected happened, you’ll have a backup.

Possible causes for file missing after Cut and Paste on Windows

When the file is not found in both the original folder and the target folder, the storage space allocated to the file will still be occupied by the same file, and we can start from this point to recover the lost file.

Before we begin, you may want to briefly understand the difference between Cut and Copy. The biggest difference of them is that Cut operation is to delete the selected file from its original location, while Copy is to move a copy of the selected file to the target location.

There are several common reasons for file lost in Cut and Paste operations.

  • Unexpected shutdown interrupts file transfer process.
  • The storage device does not been removed properly.
  • Hardware failure in storage equipment.
  • File deleted.
  • The storage device has been formatted.
  • Accidental loss of storage equipment (as in the case).
  • The cut and paste process is not complete.
  • virus attack.

8 Ways to recover lost files after Cut and Paste on Windows 10/11

Before you start, it is important to check if the lost files will reappear in Temp folder.

To check files in Temp folder, you need to use Ctrl + Z to try to undo the cut files or use Win + V to view your scrapbook history. Alternatively, you can use Win + R to open the search bar, type %temp% and press OK.

run temp folder

If the lost files reappear in its original location, you may try the following ways to recover. Most of them are Windows 10 built-in free tools. Let’s get to know them one by one.

Method 1. Check hidden files

In some cases, when you use Cut and Paste to move files, they are automatically hidden, making you think that they are lost. So, you can first try to make these hidden files visible, which will help to recover the cut and paste files in Windows 10.

1. Use Win + R to open the search bar, type control and press Enter.

2. In the Control Panel window, select Appearance and Personalization.

3. Click on the File Explorer option and switch to the View tab at the top of the new window.

4. In the window, select Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and click the OK button.

show hidden files

Return to the original location of the lost file, view whether the file has been recovered.

Method 2. Restore the previous version to get lost files

As long as you have created a system restore point or a file history, you can use shadow copying to restore the previous version, and this method can also help you to restore files after cutting and pasting.

1. Use Win + E to open the File Explorer and find the original folder of the missing file.

2. Right-click it and select the content in the expanded menu.

3. Switch to the previous version at the top of the content window, and select the appropriate version according to the time point, and click the Restore button.

restore previous version

Tip: you can view the version if you are not sure whether the restored version contains the files you need. In addition, you can restore the folders of the previous version to another location.

Method 3. Restore Cut and Paste files via File History

File History does not rely on Windows backup or system restore point, and there is no threshold for operation.

Note: this method is only available for Windows 10 and above, and requires the feature to be turned on before a file is lost.

1. Use Win + S to open the search bar, enter the file history and press Enter.

2. In the Search box in the upper right corner of the File History window, enter the name of the missing file, or click the Forward and Back buttons to browse folders and files at different points in time.

recover from file history

3. Select the file you want to restore and click the green Restore button directly below to restore the lost file to its original location. Alternatively, you can right-click the Restore button and select Restore to option to restore the selected file to another location.

Tip: You may encounter Windows 10 file history not working issue in some cases, then go to other methods instead.

Method 4. Recover files by restoring system point

If you were very lucky to have created a system restore point before the Cut and Paste file missing issue, you may restore the files by System Restore function.

Note: the entire Windows will back to the state you restored to. So, please backup the newly created files if the need ever arises.

1. Go Control Panel > System and Security > right-click on System and select Open.

2. Switch to System Protection and then click on System Restore.

3. In the System Restore window, click Next.

4. Select the restore point according to the date and time, and then click Next.

select restore point

5. Finally, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the restoration process to recover the lost files.

Tip: if you didn't create a restore point before, click here to learn how to create system restore point on Windows 11.

Method 5. Recover files from cloud drive

If you have used OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. and stored your lost files on them, then you can use the Copy and Paste feature directly to recover your files after cutting and pasting. The following will take OneDrive as an example.

1. Click the Start button, find and click OneDrive in the menu.

2. In the OneDrive-Personal window, find the lost file, right-click it and select Copy (you can also use Ctrl+C).

3. Then use Win + E to open the File Explorer, navigate to the original location of the lost file or another location, right-click on the blank area and select Paste (you can also use Ctrl + V).

paste to onedrive folder

Method 6. Recover files via Command Prompt

Another way is to recover files by checking hard disk and then restore files. This method is suitable to recover lost files caused by virus or other similar reasons.

1. Use Win + S to open the search bar, type cmd and select Run as System Administrator.

2. In the Command Prompt window, type chkdsk C: /f and press Enter, then press Y and Enter to continue the recovery process.

chkdsk c

Note: You can change C to the drive number where the lost file is located.

3. Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d E:\*. * and press Enter.

attribute command

Tip: You can view or change the file attributes by using the command “attrib”, the following are the meanings of the parameters.

  • "-" means to clear the attribute.
  • "/s" means that the user is allowed to process the matching files in the current folder and all subfolders.
  • "/d" indicates support for user-processed folders.
  • "h" for hidden file attribute.
  • "r" denotes read-only file attribute.
  • "s" indicates the system file attribute.

Method 7. Recover files with Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery is an official file recovery tool from Microsoft that is essentially a command line utility that helps you recover lost files. Please note that this method is a little bit complex for common users.

1. Click on the Start button, find and click on Microsoft Store.

2. Type Windows File Recovery in the search box at the top and click Get to download the application.

3. Run Windows File Recovery, type winfr /! and press Enter to view the full list of commands.

winfr command

4. For example, if you want to recover the .jpg image file from the local disk (C:) to the local disk (D:) RecoveryDestination folder, then you can type winfr C: D:\RecoveryDestination /r /n *.jpg and press the Enter key.

winfr recovery destination

The following are notes to the command line.

  • "winfr" means running the Windows File Recovery tool.
  • "C:" indicates the name of the drive from which the file is to be recovered.
  • "D:\RecoveryDestination" means the path to the folder where the file will be saved after recovery.
  • "/r" indicates the use of Segment mode.
  • "/n" indicates the use of a filtering instruction.
  • "*.jpg" indicates the name of the subfile for the filter.

5. In addition to the above commands, you can also use the following commands to recover specific file types or folders.

  • winfr C: D: /n \Users\Kevin\Videos\*.MP4 \Users\Kevin\Videos\*.MKV (to recover specific file types)
  • winfr C: D: /n \Users\Kevin\Documents\Reports\ (Restore folder)

Method 8. Recover files with professional tool

MyRecover is a professional lost file recovery software that can easily recover deleted or lost files from computer hard drives or other storage devices (USB drives, SD cards, external hard drives, etc.). It gains a good reputation among users due to its high success rate.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

How to recover files after Cute and Paste step by step:

Step 1. Select the partition that you want to scan and then click “Start Scan”.


Step 2. The software will scan your drive in a fast scan and deep scan. You can preview some recoverable files after the scan.


Step 3. Choose the files that you want. Then click “Recover”.



1. You can recover deleted files you want during the scanning process.

2. Searching file names or filtering files by type, size, and date modified can be a fast way to find lost files.

Protect data after recovering missing files

It is highly recommended to backup important files after recovering the lost files. File recovery does not mean foolproof while an extra copy (i.e. backup) could be the best solution for disasters, like file missing after Cut and Paste operations.

It is very important to foster a habit of regular backup, on both work projects and daily life. You may try this free backup software – AOMEI Backupper Standard to safeguard data on life and work. It is popular with Windows users around the world due to its simple and user-friendly interface.

With this freeware, you may backup files in daily, weekly, or monthly mode on Windows 11/10/7. Its automatically backup modes save your time and effort. Never have to worry about forgetting to protect your data again. It also provides system backup and file sync, as you can see from its main interface.

backup features

Tip: if you want to automatically backup files to USB drive every time it connects, you may upgrade to the Professional edition to try USB plug-in backup feature.

This freeware also offers helpful free tools. For example, you may create a bootable flash drive just in case the system refuses to boot one day. With the bootable drive, you can access the failure computer and backup/restore files. This feature has helped many people restore their systems after unexpected errors.

free tools

AOMEI Backupper is fully compatible with Windows 11, and quite secure to download. You may want to try it now. 

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download


That’s all 8 ways on how to recover files after Cut and Paste on Windows 10/11. As a matter of fact, it is always wise to backup important files or system before you start, no matter which operation you execute.

AOMEI Backupper Standard is free yet very practical Windows backup software that would assist you protect files, system or the whole computer. Actually, you can also easily clone hard drive to SSD without reinstalling with this software when upgrading hard drives.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.