By Stephanie / Last update May 11, 2022

Can you recover files after permanently deleted?

When dealing with multiple tasks on your PC, you may lose vital data like images, videos, documents, etc. Sometimes, you may press the Shift + Delete keys to delete important files in Windows 10/11 accidentally. It means files are permanently deleted which couldn’t be simply recovered from the Recycle Bin. As a result, you'll need to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10/11.

how-do-i-recover-permanently-deleted-files-from-my-pc

Fortunately, files that have been permanently deleted can still be recovered. But it depends on how long you've been using your hard drive, you'll need to use tools to scan the hard drive for deleted data.

If you want to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10, you must immediately stop using the device. Otherwise, data will be overwritten, and you will never be able to recover your files.

How to recover permanently deleted files from the computer

There are several methods for recovering permanently deleted files from the computer. You could try to restore data from backup files or use command prompts to retrieve permanently deleted files. Besides, you could recover permanently deleted files from a PC, USB drive, memory card, external hard drive, and other devices with the Microsoft app-Windows File Recovery.

Restore hidden files windows 10 using CMD

Occasionally, some files and folders cannot be found when they are accidentally hidden using the hidden attribute for files or when a file becomes corrupted. You may inadvertently select the hidden attribute for your files or folders instead of permanently being deleted.

In this case, you couldn’t locate your files on your Windows system. Using command prompts could restore hidden files in Windows 10. Follow the step below to check your disk and restore hidden files.

Step 1. Press Windows + Q and type “CMD” in the search box. Select “Run as administrator”.

run-cmd-as-administrator

Step 2. Input chkdsk G: /f in Command Prompt and then hit Enter. Replace G with your hard drive letter.

chkdsk-command

Step 3. And then input G: , and then type "attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.*". Replace D with your hard drive letter. After commands are executed and you could check whether the hidden files are recovered.

attrib-command

Recover permanently deleted files from backups

If you have turned on File History on your computer, you could restore your folders to the previous version to recover permanently deleted files. If you don’t know how to turn on File History, you could go to “Control Panel” > “System and Security” > “File History”.

When File History is activated, it could back up files in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders regularly. Follow the steps below to restore files with File History.

Tips: If you don’t have any backup, you could use Windows File Recovery to recover permanently deleted files.

Step 1. Press the Windows + Q keys, and type “restore files” to open “Restore your files with File History”.

open-restore-file-recovery

Step 2. Find the folder where your deleted files are stored. Click the “Restore” button to recover files to the previous location. Or you could right-click the folder and select “Previous Versions”. You could make this folder back to the date you want.

previous-version-restore

Use Windows File Recovery to recover permanently deleted files

Windows File Recovery is an official command-line app released by Microsoft to help users recover lost or deleted files in Windows. Currently, it only supports Windows 10 2004 and above. You could use Windows File Recovery to recover permanently deleted files without backup.

There are four modes to use: Regular, Extensive, Segment, and Signature. The mode depends on the scenarios of data loss and the File System of the hard disk. You could input different commands according to the basic command format:

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

Step 1. Press the Windows + Q keys and input “Microsoft Store” in the search box and open it. And then type “Windows File Recovery” and click “Get”.

microsoft-store-get

Step 2. After Windows File Recovery installation completes, type Windows File Recovery in the search box and select “Run as administrator”.

run-winfr-as-administrator

*If you receive the error message “WinFR requires admin privileges to run”, you could click it to get help.

Step 3. Right-click the drive which saved the deleted files and select “Properties” to check the file system.

check-file-system

File system

Scenarios

Recommended mode

NTFS

Deleted recently

Regular

NTFS

Deleted a while ago

Extensive

NTFS

After formatting a disk

Extensive

NTFS

A corrupted disk

Extensive

FAT and exFAT

Any

Extensive

Step 4. For switches, you could use the following common switches for different recovery options.

 

Parameter / switch  

Description

Supported mode(s)

/n

Scans for a specific file by using a file name, file path, file type, or wildcards. For example: 

  • File name: /n myfile.docx
  • File path: /n /users//Documents/
  • Wildcard: /n myfile.*
  • /n *.docx
  • /n **
 

/y:

Recover specific extension groups, comma separated

Signature

/p:

Saves a log file of the recovery operation in a different location than the default location on the recovery drive (for example, D:\logfile).

All

/segment

Segment mode, recovery option for NTFS drives using file record segments

Segment

/signature

Signature mode, recovery option for all file system types using file headers

Signature

Step 5. For example, if you want to recover a zip file but you don’t know the detailed name from C: drive to E: drive, you could input the following command:

winfr C: E: /regular /n \C: \*.zip

* If you receive the error message “Winfr.exe is not recognized as an internal or external command”, you could click it to get help.

winfr-regular-zip

Free Windows File Recovery GUI-WinfrGUI

It’s not easy to use Windows File Recovery, because users could only input commands to recover permanently deleted files. Some users may encounter kinds of errors. Therefore, WinfrGUI is recommended to help you restore deleted data from local storage media.

WinfrGUI is fully invoking the function of Windows File Recovery with a graphical user interface. You could use it to recover permanently deleted files with clickable icons. It’s a free and tiny tool applicable for everyone to use.

Step 1. Download and install WinfrGUI on your computer.

Download Freeware Win 10 2004 and above
Secure Download

Step 2. Choose a partition to scan which includes the permanently deleted files. And set a path to save recovered files.

select-a-partition-to-scan

Step 3. Select “Quick Scan” or “Deep Scan” according to the file system. Quick Scan only supports the NTFS file system. Click “Advanced Settings” to target file types and folders to scan if needed.

choose-scan-mode-to-recover

Step 4. Click “Start Recovery”. View the recovered files after the scanning process completes in the set path.  

click-start-recovery

Professional files recovery software-MyRecover

If the deleted files are not in the Recycle Bin and there are no previously saved versions, you can recover deleted files or restore permanently deleted files on a PC or laptop using one of the best data recovery software -MyRecover.

MyRecover, designed with advanced algorithm technology, is an easy-to-use tool with a flawless track record in the data recovery field. 

MyRecover

▶ Support for permanently deleted files recovery, formatted file recovery, and other data recovery methods.
▶ Recover deleted files from SD cards, USB flash drives, HDDs, SSDs, external hard drives, and other storage media.
▶ Recover lost Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, photos, videos, audios, emails, and hundreds of other file types.
▶ Compatible with Windows 7/8/10/11 and Windows Server.

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Step 1. Launch MyRecover on your computer. Select a partition to start scanning. 

select-a-partition-to-scan

Step 2. The program runs the scanning process quickly and find deleted files and other missing files in this partition. During scanning, you could recover any file you want. 

scan-lost-data

Step 3. Select the file or the folder that you want to recover and click "Recover files".

recover-lost-data

Bonus tip: how to avoid data loss

“How do I recover permanently deleted files from my PC?” You could try the methods above to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10/11. But your deleted files could not be recovered even using all kinds of ways due to kinds of reasons. Therefore, making a backup of important data is the best method to avoid data loss.

You could use the Windows built-in tools like Backup and Restore or File History. However, they usually back up files in the C drive. It’s recommended to use the freeware-AOMEI Backupper to make file backup, system backup, disk backup, and partition backup.