5 Free Ways to Recover Deleted Files from Hard Drive

Accidentally deleted files from a hard drive? Worry not. This article will introduce you to 5 free & effective methods to recover deleted files from hard drive in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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The hard drive is known as a hard disk drive (HDD), hard disk, or fixed disk. And HDD has dominated the secondary storage device for general-purpose computers since the 1960s. Therefore, many users are customized to save their documents, photos, videos, and other essential data on hard drives.

But it is unavoidable to suffer data loss while using computers. At the moment, you may wander: can I recover deleted files from hard drive? How to recover deleted files in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11? Please continue to read this article and get the answer.

Help! Can I Recover Deleted Data from Hard Drive?     


Hello! I deleted some files and emptied my recycle bin. Today, I want to get them back. Could you give me some suggestions to recover deleted files from hard drives? Or is there any open-source or professional software that can solve this issue? Thanks.

- A user from Spiceworks

“Oh no, I deleted the important files.” This is probably the first thought of many users. You may feel panicked and overwhelmed. But data loss is a very common scenario in a PC and you are able to recover deleted files from hard drive, even after emptying the Recycle Bin folder.

The method of recovering files may also differ due to different deletion methods:

  • If you use the Delete button, try to recover deleted files from Recycle Bin. This is because all deleted files will be moved to the Recycle Bin folder first.
  • If you use “Shift + Delete” or other methods to permanently delete files from hard drive, you can choose to try reliable data recovery software, or restore from the previous version or backup image.

Besides, this article also includes methods to recover files from a damaged hard drive. If you have problems recovering deleted files, please read this article for recovery methods.

How to Recover Deleted Files from Hard Drive

In the following, you will learn 5 effective and safe methods to recover deleted files from hard drive in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc. Some of the methods below are applicable to recover deleted files in Windows Server 2016, 2019, 2022, and previous systems.

IMPORTANT: Please stop using this drive or add new data to it, which may overwrite the “free” space occupied by deleted files. Meanwhile, don’t use much of your PC. These will result in data recovery failure.

Way 1. Recover Deleted Files from Recycle Bin

If you use the “Delete” button to delete files on a hard drive, the first thing is to check the Recycle Bin. If you empty it and want to recover deleted files, try other methods in the following.

Step 1. Double-click Recycle Bin icon to open it.

Step 2. Locate the deleted files in Recycle Bin. Then, right-click these files and click Restore to restore deleted files to their original location.


Or navigate to the Manage tab and click Restore the selected items.

Way 2. Recover Deleted Files from Previous Version

If you enable system restore point or File History feature, you are able to recover deleted files from previous version. It works even after you empty the Recycle Bin folder.

Step 1. Start Windows Explorer. Locate the folder containing deleted file, right--click it, and then select Properties > Previous Version.

Step 2. Select the folder version based on the date modified and click Restore to restore deleted files from hard drive.


Way 3. Recover Deleted Files from Backup Image

If you create backup images with Windows backup software like Backup and Restore or File History, you can directly restore deleted files from backup.

From Backup and Restore:

Step 1. Navigate to Control Panel System and Security and select Backup and Restore (Windows 7). Then, click Restore my files.

Restore My Files

Step 2. In the Restore Files window, you can search or browse for files and folders to locate files you want to recover.

  • Search: type part of the name of files and select the deleted files to restore.
  • Browse for files: navigate to the folder containing deleted files from Recycle Bin and select it. Then, click Add Files.
  • Browse for folders: select the entire folder with deleted files.  

Restore Files

Step 3. Select a new location to restore deleted files from Recycle Bin. Then, click Start Restore.

From File History:

Step 1. Navigate to Control Panel System and Security> File History and select Restore your files with File History.


Step 2. Click the left or right arrow to find out the backup version you want to restore and click the green button to restore them to their original location.โ€‹


Tip: To restore deleted files to a new location, click the Setting icon at the upper right corner and select the Restore to option. Then, you can specify a location you want.

Way 4. Recover Deleted Files from Hard Drive with MyRecover

MyRecover is a professional yet user-friendly data recovery software for Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc and Windows Server. Even novices can operate it in simple steps. Besides, you can benefit from the following features:

  • Recover deleted files from SSD,HDD, USB drive, SD card, etc. 
  • Recover 200+ file types, such as recover deleted Word documents, PPT, Excel, photos, videos, audios, Emails, webpages,compressed files, and more. 
  • Keep the original file name, format, quality, and path after recovering deleted files.
  • Has a high success rate and fast recovery speed.
  • Recover deleted data from hard disk before or after emptying the Recycle Bin, in case of formatting, virus infections or system crashes, etc.  

To get your data back quickly, download and install the best hard drive data recovery software - MyRecover. Then, follow the steps below to retrieve deleted files.

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

(Note: MyRecover allows you to recover files from hard drive for free up to 500MB. To recover unlimited files or folders, please upgrade MyRecover. )

Step 1. Launch the best hard drive data recovery software - MyRecover. It will automatically scan all the disks on your computer. Hover the mouse over the hard drive including the accidentally deleted files and click Scan.โ€‹


Step 2. The combined scanning methods - Quick Scan & Deep Scan will automatically scan all the deleted files and other lost files on the selected hard drive.โ€‹


You can also use the Filter feature to search for specific file type, such as, Word files, and it’s faster. Here are 3 options in the following:

  • Type: It will contain all the file types in the local drive, such as, images, videos, documents, mails, webpage, compressed files, etc.
  • Data Modified: It supports today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, and custom.
  • Size: It allows you to filter file size from less than 128KB to 128KB ~1MB to 1MB ~ 512MB and above, or custom.

To recover deleted Word document, for example, click Filter > Type and select Documents. Then, input DOCX in the Search for files or folders box. It will list all of the available deleted Word documents.

Step 3. Choose the deleted files on hard drive and click Recover x files. Then, select a location to store these files and it will retrieve files to the selected folder automatically.



  • MyRecover will display the number of files to be recovered and their entire size.
  • Select a new location to store the deleted files. Retrieving files to original location may overwrite the space occupied by deleted data, resulting in data recovery failure.
  • It still allows you to recover files from formatted hard drive, external hard drive, USB drive, etc.

Way 5. Recover Deleted Data from Hard Disk with Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery is a built-in command line tool to help you recover deleted files in Windows 10 build 19041 or later. Before using it, you need to learn its syntax, recovery mode and switches in details. Besides, you still need to know the file system of your hard drive. Please refer to how to use Windows File Recovery.

Step 1. Search Windows File Recovery from the Microsoft Store and click the Get button to download and install it.


Step 2. Enter Windows File Recovery in the search box, and click Run as administrator. Select a suitable mode and switches based on file system and filter scan range.

  • For recovery mode: If you deleted your files recently, select the Regular mode directly. Besides, select the Extensive mode.
  • For switches: 



Supported mode(s)


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



Recover specific extension groups.



Recovers system files.

NTFS Segment


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

NTFS Segment

  • Give an Example: 

To recover files from C drive to E drive, type as follow: winfr C: E: /n \Users\username\Documents\.

Step 3. Press “y” to continue. The recovery time and speed depends on your source disk size.


  • The source and destination drives must be different. That suggests your recovered files need to be saved in a new location from the scanning drive. 
  • If you want to stop the recovery process, press Ctrl + C. 
  • You can try Windows File Recovery, but it may not retrieve your deleted files every time. And you may encounter errors during the file recovery process, such as, “Winfr.exe is not recognized as an internal or external command”, “WinFR requires admin privileges to run”, etc.

How to Recover Deleted Files from Damaged Disk

If you receive any error message indicating your hard drive is damaged, such as, your hard drive needs to be formatted before using it, or you are experiencing system crashes, blue screen of death, boot failure, etc, there is the possibility that your hard drive is damaged or failing. You need to recover deleted files immediately after you realize it.

๐Ÿ† If your computer is still bootable and you are able to access your data, try to copy it to an external hard drive. Create a copy of your disk first and recover data from it.

โŒ If you can’t boot your PC or the drive is not accessible, remove the drive and install it on another PC. Then, get your data off the drive. If it’s a laptop or you cannot access you data, connect it using an external hard disk enclosure. For disk installation, please refer to replace laptop HDD with SSD.

โšก If you still cannot access your data, please take it to a professional hard drive data recovery service. They usually have comprehensive tools and rich experience to recover as much of your data as possible from the failed disk.

More FAQs about Hard Disk Data Recovery

โœ Is it true that deleted files can not be recovered?

In fact, deleted files are not always recoverable. It depends on whether the space occupied by deleted files is overwritten. Any new data will destroy previous data completely.

โœ Are permanently deleted files gone forever?

The permanently deleted files are removed from file system table instead of erased. So it still exists on the hard disk.

โœ How to recover deleted files from hard drive without software

If don’t want to use any data recovery software, try to restore from a file history backup or Backup and Restore. The premise is you have an available copy of your files.

โœ How to recover permanently deleted files from hard drive

If you create a copy of your files, you can restore from backup image. If not, try reliable data recovery software or service.

โœ How to recover deleted files from hard drive on Mac?

Like Windows systems, Mac also offer users a built-in backup software - Time Machine to create a copy of your files and allows you to put back them.

In Conclusion

You can easily recover deleted files from hard drives in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11 and Windows Server. Among them, the best hard drive data recovery software- MyRecover is the most effective method. It can directly recover your files, up to 200 file types, and has a high success rate.

It would be a devastating experience for some individuals to recover data from hard drive. At the moment, it’s necessary to make easy-to-use backups for Windows. A highly praised backup software, AOMEI Backupper Standard can assist you with making automatic, full, incremental, and differential backups within clicks.

Penny ยท 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.