Files on Hard Drive Disappeared? Fixed!

Files on hard drive disappeared? This guide lists five ways for you to recover files missing from hard drives and other ways to recover deleted files from hard drives.


By Penny / Updated on April 3, 2024

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How do I find files that disappeared?


For some reason, my files have gone from my computer. Although when I looked in my recently opened, the files are there, I couldn’t open them. After that, I thought it might be something to do with hidden files. So I went to the directory where those files were and under attributes checked Hidden files. Then I went refreshed my file explorer and even reopened it, but they were gone. So how can I recover the files missing from hard drives? Thanks.

- A user from Microsoft

Have your files on hard drive disappeared like the above user? Are you eager to recover missing files from hard drives? If you’re among those users who have suffered data loss, please continue reading to get feasible solutions.

Possible reasons for files missing from hard drives

To locate a targeted solution, you need to get an overview of these possible reasons first.

▶Windows update or reinstallation: Your installed apps, and desktop files will miss after Windows 10 update. Likewise, if you’re going to reinstall Windows, you may also need to recover data after reinstalling Windows 10 and above.

▶Hidden properties setting: Most PCs have been set up to make some files invisible to users by default.

▶Log into a temporary or new account: After switching to a new account in Windows, your old account will not be designated as the default account. Then the data on the old account will disappear naturally.

▶Accidental deletion or hardware failure.

How to fix the issue of files on hard drive disappeared?

So how to recover files missing from hard drives? Please refer to the following methods to recover hidden, deleted, lost, or missing files from hard drives.

Fix 1. Search disappeared files via Windows File Explorer

If you’re not sure whether your disappeared files have gone or not, you can try to search them in Windows. Let’s show how it works.

Step 1. Press “Win + E” to open Windows File Explorer.


Step 2. Follow the following two paths to find your disappeared files.

This PC > Local Disk C > Users > Username > Documents.

This PC > Local Disk C > Users > Public.


Fix 2. Show hidden files, folders, and drivers to find disappeared files

If files are hidden, try to change the hidden file attribute of these disappeared files using the attrib command or Windows File Explorer. Then you can find hidden files in folders.

Step 1. Open Windows File Explorer by pressing the “Win + E” keys, then select your local disk C > View > Options to open Folder Options.


Step 2. After clicking the “View” tab, select the “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” option. Then click “Apply” and “OK” on these two buttons.


Fix 3. Check your Administrator account

Sometimes, after Windows 10 updates, the Windows OS creates a new account and sets it as the default account. At the moment, the old administrator account may be disabled. If it is the reason why your files missing from hard drives, you can refer to the following steps.

Step 1. Enter “compmgmt.msc” in the search bar to open Computer Management.

Step 2. Under the System Tools options, click Local Users and Groups > Users > Administrator. Then select the “Properties” option.


Step 3. After clicking the “General” tab, uncheck the “Account is disabled” option. Then “Apply” it. Please remember to click the “OK” button.


Then restart your PC and log into this account to locate your disappeared files.

Fix 4. Recover deleted files from hard drives via File History

If you’re in this part, which implies these disappeared files were deleted. Without your desired files in the Recycle Bin, it’s inevitable for you to restore files from backups or seek help from data recovery software.

Microsoft has released many features for files and folders backup. In this case, let’s take File History as an example. Please ensure you’ve opened Control Panel > System and Security to turn on File History, otherwise, you cannot enjoy the following features.  

First appeared in Windows 8.0 operating system, this feature aims to back up files in Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, Desktop folders, and OneDrive offline files on your PCs.
After activating File History, you can restore the original documents even if they were deleted, lost, or damaged.
 Moreover, with File History on, another Windows feature, Previous Version is also allowed for you. Then you can recover overwritten Word documents with ease.  
You’re allowed to store backups made by File History in the external hard drive or cloud drive.

Step 1. Open Control Panel by typing it in the search bar, then click the “System and Security” button.


Step 2. Go to File History and select the “Restore your files from File History” option.


Step 3. Click the “Restore personal files” button.


Step 4. If you want to save them in the original location, click the “Restore” button.


If you need to save them in another saved path, right-click on “Restore” and select the “Restore to” option.

Fix 5. Recover deleted/lost files from hard drives using data recovery software

However, what can you do to recover deleted files from hard drives if there’s no backup for you? At the moment, why not consider using a data recovery tool to recover files?

Supported by rich industry experience and pioneering tech, MyRecover has established its good reputation among users. 

Highlights of MyRecover::
Recover the deleted/lost Word, Excel, PPT, PDF, Photos, Videos, folders documents, compressed files, and other 200+ types of data from HDD, USB, SD cards, etc.  
Get the original path, filename, and format for the deleted data.
During scanning, search your needed files by tying their filenames in the search bar or wait to find all the deleted and other lost files on your computers after scanning.   
Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, and Windows Server.

Step 1. Download and install MyRecover on your PC.

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

Step 2. After loading the disk, hover the mouse over the partition that includes your needed files. Then click Scan.


Step 3. The combined scanning method of Quick Scan and Deep Scan will detect all the deleted files and other missing files. During scanning, you can search or wait.


Step 4. Go to the Deleted files/Other missing files folder, and select the files you want. Then click the “Recover x files” and save them in a new location.


Relevant Q&A for document recovery

If you need to fix the issue of files on hard drive disappeared, you can refer to the above content. Please follow a targeted method after figuring out its potential reasons.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.