By Penny / Last update May 23, 2022

How do I recover permanently deleted folders in Windows 10?

   
   
   
       

Hi, everyone! I accidentally deleted my document folders several days ago. What’s worse, I can’t find it in the recycle bin. And I have some important files in this folder. So how do I recover permanently deleted folders? Thanks.

- A user from Linux Mint

Unintentional deletion is the most common cause of data loss. As you can see, a folder contains more data than a single document. If your recently deleted folders were gone, it may be more difficult to retrieve them.

How do I recover permanently deleted folders?” Calm down first. If your deleted folders were not in the recycle bin, you can turn to recover permanently deleted ones using the following solutions.

How to recover permanently deleted folders in Windows 10?

Let’s take Windows 10 as an example. How to recover permanently deleted folders in Windows 10?” The first three methods are independent of the Windows feature. And each of them has a distinct premise. For Windows data recovery, Windows File Recovery is among the following solutions.

Method 1. Recover permanently deleted folders through File History

If you want to recover permanently deleted folders using this solution, an available backup is a necessity by setting up a drive for File History. This feature made its debut in Windows 8. Besides Desktop folders, File History can also save files copies in the Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

 Tips: If you need, how to recover word files can help you enable your File History. This tip also applies to method 3.

Step 1. Click “File History” first, then click “Restore your files with File History”.

restore-your-files-with-file-history

Step 2. Click “Restore personal files”.

restore-personal-files

Step 3. Browse all the contents or input the file name of this folder, then you can locate your needed folders.

Step 4.  You can restore your recovered folders to the original location by clicking “Restore”.

file-history-folders-restore

 If you want to change your destination location, right-click on the “Restore” button first, and click “Restore to”, then select a new location to save your recovered folders. 

right-click-restore-restore-to

Method 2. Recover permanently deleted folders using System Restore Point

Restore point can take your PC to a previous point in time. When installing new software or driver, restore points could be created automatically. Of course, you can also create your desired restore points manually. So this method could be classified into two parts: Enable your System Restore Point and Restore data from a Restore Point.

★Tips:
 Your existing files might lose with System Restore Point. (For example, you want to restore the document at 10 a.m. today, but the closest restore point is at 9 a.m. If you’re certain you’ll restore, you may lose the data between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.)
Part 1 mainly aims to confirm whether the system restore is enabled by default.

Part 1: Enable your System Restore Point

Step 1. Press the “Winkey/Start” key to start, enter “Create a restore point” in the search bar, then click “Open”.

create-a-restore-point-open

Step 2. Click System Protection”, under Protection Settings, you can see whether your system drive is enabled or not.

Step 3. If your system drive shows as On, it means your system restore point is activated.

system-protection-system-drive-on

If your system drive shows as Off, it means your system restore point is disabled. Then click your system drive > Configure > Turn on system protection, then set up your Max Usage of your disk space, and click “OK”.

turn-on-system-protection-ok.

Part 2: Restore your PC from a Restore Point

Step 1. Press the “Winkey/Start” key, enter “Create a restore point” in the search box, then click “Open”.

create-a-restore-point-open

Step 2. Click System Restore > “Next”.

system-drive-on-system-restore-next

Step 3. Select a restore point you want to restore from the list, and click “Scan for affected programs” to check a list of items that will be deleted if you determine to restore to this point. Then “Close” this window.

scan-for-affected-programs-close

Step 4. Click “Next”. Then confirm your selected restore point again and click “Finish”.

confirm-your-restore-point-finish-next

Step 5. Click the “Yes” button to restore your PC from your selected restore point. Then your PC will be rebooted.

yes-syetm-restore

Step 6. System Restore is finished after the computer restarts. Then “Close” it. 

close-system-restore

Method 3. Recover permanently deleted folders with Windows Backup and Restore

The main distinction is that Windows Backup and Restore can only be used to create backups on the C drive. So you’d better ensure the C drive has saved your desired folders before permanent deletion.

A valuable Windows Backup is an essential component for recovering permanently deleted folders. Hopefully, you’ve set it up to create backups.

Step 1. Press the “Winkey/Start” button to start, and select Control Panel > System and Security (Windows 7).

windows-backup-and-restore

Step 2. After the next window pops up, click “Restore my files”.

windows-backup-restore-my-files

Step 3. Please select “Browse for folders” and choose the permanent folder you want to retrieve.

browse-for-files-or-folders

Step 4. After that, you can save your recovered folders in your original location or in your destination place as your preference.

Method 4. Recover permanently deleted folders with Windows File Recovery

Works as a command-line utility from Microsoft, Windows File Recovery is dedicated to file recovery. Released in the winter of 2020, this freeware is only compatible with Windows 10 build 10941 or later from the Microsoft Store.

Windows File Recovery can recover files or folders from local hard disks (HDD), and USB flash drives. To some degree, it can work to salvage data from solid-state drives (SSD). It can recover NTFS, FAT, exFAT, ReFS, and non-NTFS file systems with the two basic modes (Regular and Extensive). Besides, there’re two other modes (Segmented and Signature).

The basic command line is winfr source-drive: destination-drive [/mode] [/switches]. Given that there’s no graphical user interface, you have to modify this command line for various scenarios and supported modes. If you’re interested in cmd, file recovery using command prompt could offer you more related suggestions.

★Tips:
 Reduce computer usage if you’ve found your deleted folders were gone. Only in this way, the permanently deleted folder saved in the free space could be retrieved. 
Ensure your destination drive (save recovered folders) is distinct from your source drive (locate permanently deleted folders).
 Click “This PC” and right-click on your source drive, then click “Properties” to check your file systems.

Step 1. Input “Windows File Recovery” in the search bar of the Microsoft Store and click “Get”. Then download and install it on your PC.

microsoft-store-get

Step 2. Enter "Windows File Recovery" in the search box, and click “Run as administrator”.

/windows-file-recovery-run-as-adminstrator

Step 3. After checking your file systems, please look through possible scenarios for data loss with the following forms and select a suitable mode.

Scenarios for data loss

File system

Circumstances

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. Resemble command lines with some common syntaxes below. If you need, Microsoft official support can offer you more syntaxes

Switches

Meaning

Supported mode(s)

/n

Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc.

All

/y:

Recover specific extension groups.

Signature

/k

Recovers system files.

NTFS Segment

/u

Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin.

NTFS Segment

Let’s take an example. If you’re going to recover your English folder from the C drive to the E drive, you can input winfr C: E: /regular /n \Users\username\English\

Step 5. Press “y” to continue. Wait patiently, then you can get your recovered folder on your destination drive.  

Alternative 100% free software: WinfrGUI

There’s no denying that Windows File Recovery is a powerful tool for Windows data recovery. Nevertheless, it also renders inconvenience for new hands without the GUI (graphical user interface) like icons.

But this is a big step where WinfrGUI forwards. Windows File Recovery’s all functions were invoked by WinfrGUI (Windows File Recovery GUI) in 2021. Furthermore, with a graphical user interface, WinfrGUI makes it easier for you to recover permanently deleted folders within clicks.   

 If there’s a stop during the scanning process, WinfrGUI still can recover data from the scanned data. 
Download Freeware Win 10 2004 and above
Secure Download

Step 1. Download and install WinfrGUI on your computer. Then select a partition to scan, and select another destination partition to save your recovered folders.

select-a-partition-to-scan

Step 2. Select Quick Scan or Deep Scan. Then click “Advanced Settings” to select your desired folders.

choose-scan-mode-to-recover

Step 3. Click “Start Recovery”. After scanning, you can get your recovered folders in your destination drive.

click-start-recovery

Wrapping up

How do I recover permanently deleted folders in Windows 10?” This tutorial shows you three conventional ways to use the Windows feature and another free Windows file recovery tool. If you prefer the former, you can choose the best option from these three options.

Built-in Microsoft software, some functions are different from these Windows features above and only apply to file recovery. That means if you just want to recover documents, these features might be more suitable for you. For example, corrupted Excel file recovery or PowerPoint file recovery could provide you with more inspiration.

Similarly, if you’re willing to avoid previous preparations like backups or complicated command lines, WinfrGUI can solve your above concerns. This product is not only of high quality, but it is also convenient and free, so why not put it into action? Does this post help you?