Files Deleted From External Hard Drive Not in Recycle Bin

Found files deleted from external hard drive not in Recycle Bin? Get help in this article and learn how to recover deleted files from external hard drive.


By Lora / Updated on April 11, 2024

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Where do files go when deleted from external hard drive?

Using external storage devices to save important files or use them as a backup device is a common and good choice for users. It facilitates people to manage and organize their data.

When organizing the data stored on the external hard drive, users may delete some old unwanted files to free up some space or make space for new items to add in.

Then, some of them might discover that the files deleted from external hard drive not in Recycle Bin.


Recycle bin not showing deleted files for an external hard drive


As I connect the HDD to the laptop and I delete any files from the HDD the files do not appear under the recycle bin of the laptop. I wish for your helpful suggestions.


- Question from Microsoft Community


There are a number of reasons why deleted files not in Recycle Bin on the desktop: you might have accidentally emptied Recycle Bin, or very likely, the files were deleted from a portable storage device.

It is highly risky since it gives consumers no opportunity to undo deletions. The files were permanently erased and lost.

Some users will ask is there also a Recycle Bin on an external hard drive?


Do external hard drives have their own recycle bin?

Yes. There indeed is a Recycle Bin for the external hard drive. How you can access and view Recycle Bin files might be various according to different devices.

For some brands, like Samsung, when deleting files from the external hard disk, no prompt like “Are you sure you want to delete/move this file to the Recycle Bin?” will be asked.

Deleted items would be directly moved to the Recycle Bin on your desktop. But, please note that the deleted files are in the external hard drive’s Recycle Bin. When the external storage device disconnects, the deleted data would disappear from the Recycle Bin on your desktop.

It implies that each external hard disk has its own trash can.

However, with certain brands, when you delete anything, a question such as "Are you sure you want to permanently delete this file?" may pop up. If you choose "Yes," the data will be permanently deleted.


As a result, some users may discover files deleted from external hard drives not in Recycle Bin.

How to recover files deleted from external hard drive not in Recycle Bin?

For those who want to recover deleted files from external hard drive, 2 feasible methods are prepared.

Method 1. Restore files deleted from external hard drive not in Recycle Bin effortlessly

Windows File Recovery is suitable for those who are familiar with the commands and the data recovery process. However, most of the users are not ready to face the complex commands and the unfriendly user interface.

If you are worried about the commands as well, turning to an easy and efficient Windows data recovery tool is a better choice. Among all the qualified utilities, MyRecover is the best option.

Powerful File Recovery Software
  • Restore deleted and missing files from external/internal HDD/SSD/USB/SD card, etc.
  • Get over 200 types of data back easily, including photos, videos, office files, text files, zip files, etc.
  • Keep the original filename, format, directory, and quality of the deleted files.
  • Select files to restore during the scanning, no need to wait.
  • Compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7 SP1/Server.

Step 1. Install and run the app > connect the external storage device to the Windows PC >Hover the mouse over the drive and click Scan to scan.


Step 2. Scanned files could be sorted and searched using filters: Type, Size, Date modified, Path, etc.

You can try different filters in MyRecover:

  • Type: include all file types, such as images, videos, documents, mails, webpage, compressed files, etc.
  • Data Modified: support today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, and custom.
  • Size: filter file size from less than 128KB to 128KB ~1MB to 1MB ~ 512MB and above, or custom.
⚠️Notes: Quick Scan only applies to NTFS drives. If the scanned drive is non-NTFS, it only scans the hard disk with Deep Scan.


Step 3. Go to Deleted files > choose your wanted files. Or go to Other missing files and select the type you need, e.g., Images > click Recover x files.


Using this powerful tool, you could also recover deleted files in Windows Server 2016.

Method 2. Recover deleted files from external hard drive using commands

On a local hard drive, you could turn to Windows inbuilt features like File History and Previous Versions to restore previous versions of files/folders. However, these features don’t apply to external hard drives.

Instead, we could use Windows data recovery tools. One of the eligible apps is Windows File Recovery.

It uses recovery modes and switches to restore deleted and lost files from healthy/formatted/corrupted hard drives, including external hard drives.

More detailed info and explanations can help you in the Windows File Recovery use guide.

Check the Windows File Recovery troubleshooting solutions to fix errors you meet.

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to your PC > go to This PC > right-click on the external hard drive > Properties > check the file system.


Step 2. Choose a recovery mode according to the File System and how you have lost your files.

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

Step 3. Select switches to narrow the scanning range and shorten the time.

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recovers specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS Segment​​​​​
/segment Segment mode; recovers files under NTFS drives using file record segments. Segment
/signature Signature mode; recovers files under all file system types using file headers. Signature
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS Segment

Step 4. Go to Microsoft Store > click Get to install Windows File Recovery > run the software.


Step 5. Input the command:

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

Source drive: the original location of the deleted files. Here it refers to the external hard drive.

Target drive: the destination to store the recovered data. Must be different from the source drive.

E.g., input:

winfr F: D: /extensive /n *.jpg


This command could recover all jpg files from the F: drive to the D: drive. If it prompts you that “there was an error parsing your command”, correct the command syntax or just turn to an easier Windows data rescue tool in the next part.


The practicable solutions to recover files deleted from external hard drive not in Recycle Bin could help solve your problem.

Except for the fixes to the deleted files not in Recycle Bin issue, related info is ready as well.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.