How to Recover Files after Disk Cleanup?

Learn how to recover files after disk cleanup with professional data recovery software, Backup and Restore, or File History on this page.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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What is Disk Cleanup?

Made its debut in Windows 98, the Disk Cleanup (cleanmgr.exe) utility works to free up your disk space and improve overall PC performance by removing unused files.

Precisely, you can clear out the old compressed files, temporary Internet/Windows files, downloaded program files, Recycle Bin, offline webpages, and thumbnails by running Disk Cleanup utility.

Does Disk Cleanup permanently delete files?

Will disk cleanup delete my files?” The answer is “yes” if you accidentally deleted the downloads folder instead of the downloaded program files.

Downloads are the media files that you’ve downloaded from the Internet before. But the downloaded program files are ActiveX repository from your Internet browser.


In addition to the above case, if you haven’t checked whether there’re crucial files in your Recycle Bin, you may also suffer data loss after running Disk Cleanup utility.

Three options to recover files after disk cleanup

Can you recover files after disk cleanup? Yes, you can recover files after disk cleanup because there exists free space that stores the deleted files. Then you can retrieve the deleted/lost files before overwriting data.

Select one of the following methods to perform file recovery in Windows. Please note that a valuable backup is an irreplaceable item for the last two options.

Option 1. Undo disk cleanup via data recovery software

The first method is heavily dependent on third-party data recovery software. In this case, we’d like to introduce MyRecover. This powerful software could help you recover the deleted/lost files from HDD, SSD, USB, and other storage devices. Moreover, it can keep the original file formats for the deleted and lost data.

There’re other highlights of MyRecover.

▶Recover 200+ types of data such as Word, PPT, Excel, Photo, Videos, Audio, Emails, Webpages, and Compressed files.

▶Get the original path and filename for the deleted files.

▶Perform Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically to find all the deleted files and other lost files on your computer.

▶Deal with deletion, disk formatting, system crashes, and more data loss scenarios.

▶Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Windows Server.

If you’re eager to achieve SD card photo recovery or recover deleted photos from the SD card, why not download it now?

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Launch MyRecover on the computer. Then hover the mouse over the drive/partition that includes your needed files before disk cleanup, and click Scan.


Step 2. The software will run Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically. After scanning, you’ll see all the deleted files and other missing files.


Step 3. Select files you want to retrieve and click the “Recover x files” button. Please store these retrieved files in your destination place.


Option 2. Recover files after disk cleanup from Backup and Restore

If you’ve made backups of the local disk you need, Backup and Restore seems like an ideal solution for Win7 users to restore files. In this case, Backup and Restore usually refer to the file and folder backup. These steps depict how to recover files after disk cleanup via this Windows feature.

Step 1. Type “Control Panel” in the search bar, and open it. Then click “System and Security” > “Backup and Restore (Windows 7).”


Step 2. Under the Restore tab, click “Restore my files”.


Step 3. Select “Browse for files” or “Browse for folders” to find your needed files or folders.


If you prefer your designated saved path, you can store them in your destination place. Likewise, it’s also ok for you to store them in the original location.

Option 3. Recover files after disk cleanup through File History

Microsoft released File History in Windows 8.0. This Windows feature also can backup files in Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, Desktop folders, and OneDrive offline files saved on the computer.

If you’ve clicked Control Panel > System and Security > File History to activate File History, you can restore the original files even if these files are deleted, lost, or damaged.

Step 1. Type “Control Panel” in the search box and open it. Then click the “System and Security” option.


Step 2. Click “File History” > “Restore files with File History”.


Step 3. Click “Restore personal files”.


Step 4. Click “Restore” to store these retrieved files in the original location.


If you need, please click “Restore” > “Restore to” to store these restored files in a new location.

Wrapping up

How to recover files after disk cleanup? This post lists three efficient methods for you. You can restore files from accessible backups if you’ve made backups. Otherwise, you can try professional data recovery software like MyRecover to perform file recovery.

Moreover, you’re supposed to develop a good habit of regular backups because there’s no better way than making backups regularly for data loss prevention.

If you want to make good use of free Windows features such as File History, please pay attention to the content of the backup and the location where it can be backed up. Here comes another free backup software for Windows-AOMEI Backupper. Maybe you can have a try.

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.