4 Tested Ways: How to Recover Permanently Deleted Photos for Free

This post mainly gives you multiple options on how to recover permanently deleted photos for free. You can choose according to your preference.


By Ellie / Updated on April 3, 2024

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Can you recover permanently deleted photos?


I have accidentally deleted my photos. I can’t find them in the Recycle bin. I guess I have deleted them permanently. Can I recover permanently deleted photos? Free options are preferred.”

- Question from Reddit

Deleted Photos

How to recover permanently deleted photos for free [4 options]

Here in this section, we’ll introduce 4 methods of how to recover permanently deleted photos for free.

Case 1. How to recover permanently deleted photos for free without backup

Let's see two options on how to recover permanently deleted photos for free if you don't have a backup.

Option 1. Recover permanently deleted photos via free software

The first method of how to recover permanently deleted photos for free is to use the free data recovery software MyRecover. There are many good reasons why you should choose it among many other data recovery tools: 

Apply to different data loss situations. No matter how you have lost data from hard disks, like accidental deletion, disk formatting, system crash, virus attack, and so on, MyRecover can offer you help.
Support to recover 200+ types of data. MyRecover can regain practically every form of data. It can recover images, documents, movies, music, compressed data, etc. Furthermore, it will return the data in its original format.
Scan hard drives quickly and deeply. MyRecover embeds an advanced scanning algorithm, which enables you to recover data with no effort in a short time.
Be perfectly compatible with Windows systems. It is compatible with Windows systems, including Win 11, 10, 8, 7, and Server. No matter what brand of computer you’re using, you can make full use of MyRecover to recover deleted and lost data. 

Download, install and launch MyRecover on your computer.  

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.

Scan D Drive

Step 2. Then the scanning process will start automatically. You don’t need to wait for the process to complete if you find the pictures you want to recover. You can also type in the file name and search for it in the search box in the right-top corner.

Scan Lost Data

Step 3. Choose the pictures that you want to recover. Click Recover xx files and choose a destination path to save the restored pictures.

Choose Lost Photos

Option 2. Restore lost photos without backup using CMD

You can also use CMD to restore lost photos if you don’t have a backup. we’ll use a tool called Windows File Recovery.

This tool only supports Windows 10 2004 and above.
If Windows File Recovery failed to create destination folder, please get help.

Preparation work before using Windows File Recovery:

To use this tool, check out your File System first. Go to This PC > right-click on the drive that contains the photos you want to restore before > click Properties.

Check File System SD Card

In addition, you need to use recovery mode and switches to get back your photos. To decide which mode to use, refer to this table.

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

Switches are used to filter the scanning range, thus can save the scanning 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: Recover specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFSSegment
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFSSegment

Step 1. Download and install Window File Recovery on your computer from Microsoft Store and then open it.

Install Windows File Recovery

Step 2. Open Powershell or Command Prompt (run as administrator). In the Command Prompt, enter commands in the following command format:

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

For example, if you need to recover deleted photos from C: drive to D: drive, then the command will be like:

winfr C: D: /n *.png


Case 2. How to recover permanently deleted photos for free with backup

Let's see two options on how to recover permanently deleted photos for free if you have a backup.

Option 1. Get back lost photos from file history

If you have made backup copies of your files with File History, a built-in Windows backup tool that will regularly backup your files in Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders, as well as OneDrive files on your computer that are available offline, you can get back lost photos for free as well.

Step 1. Search for Control Panel and then open it.

Open Control Panel

Step 2. Click System and Security.

System and Security

Step 3. Click File History.

File History

Step 4. Click Restore personal files.

Restore Personal Files

Step 5. Select the files you need to recover and then click the Restore button.

Restore Deleted File

Option 2. Retrieve permanently lost photos from a Windows backup

The third option to how to recover permanently deleted photos from laptop for free is to use the Backup and Restore, also a utility provided by Microsoft that could back up your Windows system or other important files and let you restore them in case something unexpected happens.

Step 1. Navigate to Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Windows Backup and Restore

Step 2. Selectively recover lost photos by clicking Restore my files. You can also select Restore all users’ files to recover all photos.

Restore My Files from Windows Backup

Step 3. Search for your deleted photos by using the Browse for files or Browse for folders option.

Restore with Windows Backup

Step 4. Choose a location to save the backup, select your photos and click Restore to recover them.

Select Location to Save Recovered Files

Bonus tip: How to recover permanently deleted photos from phone for free [2 cases]

The methods mentioned above only apply to computers. What can you do if you've inadvertently deleted photos from your phone? Don't worry; here, we provide ways to help you recover permanently deleted photos from your phone for free.

Case 1. How to recover permanently deleted photos from iPhone for free

Want to know how to recover permanently deleted photos from iPhone without backup for free? You can first check your Recently Deleted album. If the images you're looking for are not there, you are recommended to use an iPhone data recovery tool, for example, AOMEI Phone Data Recovery.

Download FreewareiOS 10 and later
Secure Download

Step 1. Download, install, and launch AOMEI Data Recovery for iOS on your PC. Connect your iPhone to the computer properly.

Connect iOS Device

Step 2. Then click Scan Now.

Start Scan Now

Step 3. All recoverable data will be listed in the left column. Go to Photos, and select the photos you want, then click Recover.

Click Recover

Case 2. How to recover permanently deleted photos from Android for free

If you are using an Android phone, don’t worry, there’s also a way to help you recover permanently deleted photos from Android for free. It requires you to have Google Drive installed on your Android device. If you do, Google Drive will automatically sync your phone photos. You can then recover deleted pictures from the backup Google Drive made for you.

Step 1. On your Android device, open the Google Drive app.

Step 2. Log in with the account that you use to back up photos.

Step 3. Now you’ll see all the photos you backed up or uploaded photos. Then select the photos you need and download them to your device.



This post primarily introduces 4 options on how to recover permanently deleted photos for free. We highly recommended you choose MyRecover. It is a professional data recovery tool that could help you get back your photos easily and quickly. Using it could save you a lot of time and energy. 

Besides, we avoid unexpected photo loss, we advise you to back up your photos via backup and restore tools, for example, AOMEI Backupper. It is the professional backup freeware that assists you in backing up essential images on your computer and then restoring these photos whenever you need them.   

Ellie · Editor
Ellie, a professional and experienced writer who is good at solving iOS-related problems and writing iOS backup/transfer tips.