By Stephanie / Last update March 14, 2022

Can you recover files deleted from Recycle Bin?

   "I had downloaded songs from various sites and saved them in one of the folders under 'Library' on 'C:' drive of my Laptop.

However, this folder was accidentally sent to the Recycle Bin, and later on, the Recycle Bin was emptied. So anyone can guide me as to how I can restore these files? Since using software downloaded from any unknown site may contain a virus, I would like to avoid the same, as far as possible. Thanks.”

--From Microsoft Community

The Recycle Bin is essentially a storage place for removed files. Instead of being deleted from your computer right away, deleted files are first moved to the Recycle Bin, where they wait to be erased automatically or manually. If you empty the Recycle Bin or press the Shift + Delete keys to delete files, it means the files are permanently deleted from your computer.

There are several methods for recovering permanently deleted files from Recycle Bin on Windows 10. Keep reading to know the two free methods to recover files deleted from Recycle Bin without software.

How to recover deleted files from Recycle Bin without software?

Is it possible to recover files deleted from Recycle Bin? Yes, but it needs a few unusual steps to restore. After you empty the Recycle Bin, the storage space of the deleted files becomes available and allows other data to overwrite. So kindly stop using the computer if you want to find the permanently deleted files from the Recycle Bin.

It’s easy to find them back if you have backup files like File History. Otherwise, you could use command lines to restore files deleted from Recycle Bin.

Recover deleted files from Recycle Bin Windows 10 via File History

You could recover deleted files from Recycle Bin with File History. File History, a Windows built-in utility, creates incremental backups of files that could be restored if the files are deleted or lost accidentally.

When File History is turned on, it backs up files in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders regularly. Follow the procedures below if you have a File History backup drive set up.

Tips: If you haven’t turned on the File History, you could use command lines to recover permanently deleted files from Recycle Bin.

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


Step 2. Check the folder where your deleted files are saved. Click the “Restore” button to recover Windows 10 files to the previous location.


Alternatively, you could right-click the folder which includes the deleted files and select “Previous Versions”. According to the time, you could get the folder back to a previous date by clicking “Restore”.


Using CMD to recover shift deleted files without software

If you don’t want to use software to recover files deleted from Recycle Bin, you could try Microsoft’s official command-line app to restore data permanently emptied from Recycle Bin by using command prompts.

Microsoft released a command-line utility-Windows File Recovery in 2020 to help users recover deleted or lost files even emptied from Recycle Bin. It only supports Windows 10 2004 and later.

There are four different modes to use: Regular, Extensive, Segment, and Signature. If you want to recover the files deleted from Recycle Bin, you need to recall the previously saved location and then use the command. The following is the basic command format of Windows File Recovery.

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

Step 1. Type “Microsoft Store” in the search box and open it. And then find “Windows File Recovery” and click “Get”.


Step 2. After installing Windows File Recovery on your computer, type Windows File Recovery in the search box and select “Run as administrator”.


*View the solutions of “WinFR requires admin privileges to run.”

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

File system


Recommended mode


Deleted recently



Deleted a while ago



After formatting a disk



A corrupted disk


FAT and exFAT



Step 4. There are some common switches to use. You could check them and their description in the following chart.

Parameter / switch  


Supported mode(s)


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 **


Recover specific extension groups, comma separated



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



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



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


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:\Recycler\*.zip

*View the solutions of "Winfr.exe is not recognized as an internal or external command".

Windows File Recovery GUI-WinfrGUI

If you are not familiar with command lines, it could be difficult to use Windows File Recovery to restore deleted files from Recycle Bin. To use Windows File Recovery easily, you could use the function of Windows File Recovery with a graphical user interface.

WinfrGUI is a 100% free tool to help users get rid of complex command lines. It has invoked the function of Windows File Recovery with a friendly user interface, which means users could use Windows File Recovery with clickable icons. Same as Windows File Recovery, WinfrGUI currently is only available for Windows 10 and above.

Step 1. Download and install WinfrGUI on your computer.

Download Freeware Win 10 2004 and above
Secure Download

Step 2. Select a partition to scan and set a path to save the recovered files.


Step 3. Choose a scanning method according to the file system of the hard drive. Quick Scan is only for the NTFS file system.


Step 4. Click “Advanced Settings” and then target the folder. Tick “$Recycle.Bin” and click “OK”.


Step 5. Click “Start Recovery” to start the recovery process. Check the destination folder to view the recovered files.



If you want to recover deleted files from Recycle Bin without software, you could try to restore files with File History to restore your files and folders to a previous version, or use Windows File Recovery to restore permanently deleted files from Recycle Bin with command lines. Comparatively, WinfrGUI is easier to operate for everyone than using Command Prompt.

Besides, to avoid further data loss, it’s suggested to make regular backups. You could use File History or Windows Backup, but it only backs up the files in C: drive. AOMEI Backupper, as a free Windows backup tool, could assist users in keeping all data safe.