By Stephanie / Last update January 11, 2023

How can I recover permanently deleted files without backup?

 

I pressed the Shift+Delete keys to delete files in Windows. But I accidentally deleted an important document. Kindly know how can I recover permanently deleted files without backup. Thanks a lot!

Have you ever deleted your files permanently and wanted lost files to be retrieved? You may want to delete unneeded files from your PC for space-free or privacy purposes. However, important files might be accidentally deleted. There are several methods to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10, but many of them require different types of backups.

Accidentally deleting the wrong files on Windows 10 is not the end of the world because there are several tried and true methods to recover them. Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with them. All you have to do is to find the data recovery methods and follow the steps to get deleted files back.

If you want to recover permanently deleted files without backup, third-party data recovery software could be the best choice for file recovery. To raise the success rate, it is important to remember that you must stop using storage devices or hard drives since you deleted the files. This step is essential to decrease the risk of files being overwritten. Then, you need to take action for file recovery immediately.

Is it possible to recover permanently deleted files?

Yes, the deleted files could be restored, even those permanently deleted files. After you deleted files, your computer doesn’t erase them entirely and immediately. The files are still stored in your hard drive but marked as inaccessible data, but you can't recover them directly by yourself. Only professional tools can scan the hard drive and find the deleted data from it. 

Please consider shutting down all applications operating and preventing writing new data to your hard drive to win more time. The permanently deleted files can be never recovered n Windows 10 if you continue to use the hard drive or Windows system. Stop using your computers and check 9 methods below to recover files in Windows 7/8/10/11. 

Basic ways: how to recover deleted files in Windows 10/11

How to recover deleted files in Windows 10/11? You can try to restore your permanently deleted files by the methods provided in this article. Here are several proven methods to recover deleted files on Windows 10/11 computers whether you have available backup files or not. Follow the steps below, at least, one of those methods will help you get deleted/lost files back.

Method 1. Restore recently deleted files from Recycle Bin directly

The majority of computer users delete files by selecting them and right-clicking “Delete” or taping “Delete” on the keyboard. It does not mean deleting a file permanently in Windows 10.

Windows prepares a small portion of your hard disk space for the Recycle Bin, a hidden system folder. This ensures that deleted files are not actually deleted, but rather held in reserve. As long as you don't permanently delete the file or empty the Bin, the file should be recoverable.

Whenever you deleted your data accidentally, the recycle bin is the first place to check. All deleted files should go straight to the Recycle Bin. You may find the deleted files not in Recycle Bin if you empty the Recycle Bin manually, the deleted files are too large, or files stored on portable devices get deleted.  In those cases, you can try other methods to realize data recovery.

Steps to recover deleted files from recycle bin

Step 1: Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop to open Recycle Bin.

Step 2: Locate the deleted files you want to restore in the Recycle Bin folder. Select the “View” option and select “Details”, which can help you quickly find your files. You can sort the files by name, location, date, and other criteria, just like in any other folder.

select-details-recycle-bin

Or you can search for your deleted files by using the search bar on the Recycle Bin window.

Step 3: Right-click on deleted files and click “Restore”.

click-restore-recycle-bin

Then you will find the deleted files will be recovered to their original location, or you can cut and paste the files to where you want to keep them.

Method 2. Restore immediately deleted files with undo delete

Nearly many Windows 10 users know that any action, including deleting the incorrect file, can be quickly undone. However, be aware that only recent operations can normally be undone. This method is only suitable for immediately deleted files. Moreover, you won't be able to use this method if you log out, restart or shut down the computer because the undo history won’t be kept in different situations.

To recover deleted files with Undo Delete command:

Step 1: Go to the folder in which the deleted files are located in Windows File Explorer.

Step 2: Right-click inside the folder to open the menu.

Step 3: Click “Undo Delete”.

undo-delete

Alternatively, you can press ctrl + z to recover deleted files immediately after you deleted them. It’s just a command to undo your last action.

Method 3. Using command prompt to restore hidden files

Sometimes, you may find your files lost without deletion. Maybe you just only lose access to them. Generally, virus infection, file system corruption, or other problems can make them inaccessible. Those files are hidden instead of being deleted. You could use the CHDKSK command to fix file system problems and the attrib command to recover hidden files.

The command line can help out with this situation by access to various system tools though it is the least user-friendly method to recover deleted files without software. CHKDSK and ATTRIB might help you have access to your files again.

Has your file system been corrupted by a power failure or an unexpected restart? CHKDSK can assist you in restoring it.

Steps to fix corrupted file system with command line

Step 1: Press Windows Key + X and choose Windows PowerShell (Admin).

run-windows-powershell

Alternatively, you can type “cmd” or “PowerShell” in the search bar, right-click on the one you prefer, and select “Run as administrator”.

Step 2: Type the command chkdsk #: /r (replace # with the letter of your storage device) to check the storage device for bad sectors and errors and recover the readable information on good sectors.

chkdsk-command

Tips: 1. If it asked whether you want to “convert lost chains to files”, select Y.

2. The device you check to perform must be locked by Chkdsk. You will not be able to access any files on this device when the process is running.

ATTRIB isn’t a file recovery tool. It offers access to options as same as you right-click on a file. It allows you to modify the flags of a file to set it as a hidden file, read-only, or file system. CHKDSK and ATTRIB can help you regain access to your lost files which are not really deleted. If you found the attrib not working, it may mean the files are deleted instead of being hidden.

Type “attrib -h -r -s /s /d #:*.*” to make hidden file protection and system normal. (replace # with the letter of your storage device).

type-attrib

How to recover deleted files in Windows 10/11 with a backup?

If you have used Windows backup utilities to back up your files regularly, like Windows Backup & Restore and File History, it's easy to find the deleted files back. If you don't have available backup files,  you could try other data recovery solutions without backup. Check the following methods to retrieve permanently deleted files.

Method 1. Recover deleted files in Windows 10  via Windows Backup and Restore

Backup and restore is a great tool provided by Windows 10 that allows users to back up files and restore them when needed. Backup and restore can back up the operating system and all users' files, but it requires you to manually choose from where to restore your data. Therefore, you need to have them backed up first to recover deleted files in Windows 10 with Windows backup and restore.

If you are using Windows Backup you need to check the recent backup to recover the deleted files.

Step 1: Press Windows Key on your keyboard, type “Control Panel” and press enter. Click “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” under System and Security.

backup-and-restore

Step 2: Click on “Restore my files” on the bottom right and follow the wizard to recover deleted files.

restore-my-files

Step 3: Click “Choose a different date” to choose from which backup you want to restore deleted files. Or select the options on the right “Search…”, “Browse for files”, and “Browse for folders” to recover the specific files and folders.

choose-a-different-date

Step 4: Set where you want to restore your files and then click “Restore”.

set-restore

How to set up Windows backup?

To avoid data loss in the future, you could set up a Windows backup. When you find “Restore my files” is invisible, and Windows shows “Windows Backup has not been set up”, you need to set up Windows backup first.

Step 1: Click “Set up backup” on the right.

Step 2: Select the drive where you want to save your backup and click “Next”.

Step 3: The processing time depends on what you’ve decided to back up.

Tips: If you are running out of storage space, you can click “Manage space” and click “View backups…”. You can select the backups you want to delete and click “Delete” to get some storage space back.

Method 2. Retrieve lost files in Windows 10 with system restore

If you regularly make full system image backups, you don’t need to back up your personal files individually. The system image backup function is intended to back up the whole Windows 10 operating system.

But this option does not allow you to restore individual files, you can take this method as your final resort to recover deleted files with system restore.

Step 1: Press the Windows key, type “control panel”, and hit Enter on your keyboard.

Step 2: Click “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” under System and Security.

Step 3: Choose recovery from the list of options on the left.

Step 4: Save your work and click on the “Restart” button under Advanced startup.

Step 5: Click on “Troubleshoot” > “Advanced Options” > “See more recovery option” > “System Image Recovery”.

system-image-recovery

Step 6: Select a System Image backup file and click "Next".

Step 7: Choose additional restore options and click "Next".

Step 8: View the system image details and click “Finish” to start the restore process.

Method 3. Recover deleted files from a file history backup

File History is one that specializes in securing your personal files from all the backup solutions offered in Windows 10. However, just like any backup system, you must turn on it before file loss.  File History supports Windows 8 and above. In this part, procedures for setting File History and restoring deleted files via it will be displayed in the following.

How to set up File History?

It’s better to prepare an external storage device, like a USB flash drive or an external hard disk drive. We recommend that you select one with plenty of storage space to hold several versions of your personal data. With File History, you could recover previous versions of deleted files

Step 1: Connect the external storage device to your computer.

Step 2: Press the Windows key on your keyboard, and type “Restore your files with File History”.

Step 3: Open “Restore your files with File History”, and it shows “no file history was found”. Click “Configure File History settings”.

configure-file-history-settings

Step 4: Select the external drive to store its backups.

Step 5: File History will be turned on and you can use the external drive to store backups. It’s better to create the first backup manually. Click on “Run now” under your drive’s icon.

/run-now-file-history

How to recover deleted files with File History?

Step 1: Go to File History’s main page and click on “Restore personal files”. File History will display the contents of the latest snapshot.

restore-personal-files

Step 2: Keep the CTRL key pressed while clicking on the files and folders to selectively choose them. And then click the green button to begin the recovery process.

Alternatively, you can right-click on the folder that included the deleted files. Click “Restore previous versions” and select the versions containing the deleted files from the available versions. Click “Restore” to store the deleted files.

restore-repvious-version

How to add or exclude more folders to File History?

Step 1: Press the Windows key and type “Backup settings”.

Step 2: Turn on “Automatically back up my files” and then click on “More options”.

backup-using-file-history

Step 3: Click on “Back up now” to create the first backup manually. And then click on “Add a folder”.

backup-options

Step 4: Scroll down “Back up these folders”, and you will see the option to exclude some folders from your backups. You can make the targeted folder backed up via File History. 

How to recover deleted files in Windows 10/11 without backup?

If you don't have available backup files to use, the easiest way is to use a data recovery tool. There are kinds of data recovery software, and how to choose the best one? Thinking of data recovery success rate and scanning speed, you can check the following two free file recovery programs to recover deleted files in Windows 10/11 without backup.

Method 1. Recover permanently deleted files via Windows File Recovery

If you deleted a file in Windows 10 and empty it from Recycle Bin, the third-party tools can be useful but expensive. Microsoft provides an official command-line tool called Windows File Recovery to restore the deleted file. It means you can retrieve deleted files via CMD without a graphic user interface. This method suits for users who are familiar with Command Prompt. 

The Windows File Recovery can restore photos, documents, videos, and other types of files on the hard disk drive, SSD, USB drive, or memory card, supporting FAT, NTFS, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.

This app requires Windows 10 build 19041 or later and offers four different recovery modes: basic mode, extensive mode, segment mode, and signature mode.

Steps to recover deleted files by Windows File Recovery

Step 1: Type “Store” in the search bar. Then search for “Windows File Recovery”.  Click the “Install” button to get the application.

install-windows-file-recovery

Step 2: Open Powershell or Command prompt (run as administrator) as displayed before.

Step 3: In the command prompt, enter the following command:

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

enter-winrf-source-drive

There are different commands to recover the deleted files displayed:

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 Definition 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
Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recovers specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS Segment​​​​​
/segment Segment mode; recovers files under NTFS drives using file record segments. Segment
/signature Signature mode; recovers files under all file system types using file headers. Signature
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS Segment
  • If you want to recover files from C: drive to the recovery folder on D: drive, type:

Winfr C: D: /regular /n \Users\\Documents\

  • If you want to recover files like PDF and Word documents from C: drive to the recovery folder on D: drive, type:

Winfr C: D: /regular /n *.pdf /n *.docx

  • If you want to recover files with the string “piano” in the file name, type:

Winfr D: C: /extensive /n *piano*

  • If you want to recover JPEG and BMP images from the Pictures folder on D: drive, type:

Winfr C: D: /extensive /n \Users\\Pictures\*.JPEG /n\Users\\Pictures\*.BMP

After running the above-described commands, enter Y to start the recovery process. If you’re still unable to find or recover the file, you may want to try Segment mode. To do this, add a/r switch to the command, as in winfr C: D:/r /n \Users\\Documents\xyz.docx.

The final option is Signature mode. It only supports certain file types. Type winfr /# at the command prompt to see the supported types. To use this mode, add an /x to the command and a /y to specify the file type, as in winfr C: D: /x /y:ZIP.

type-winfr-zip

Notes:

- Windows File Recovery is a command-line tool. You have to run some commands to get your deleted files back, which is a little complicated for non-technical computer users.

- The tool supports only Windows 10, version 2004 and above.

- Even if you used Windows File Recovery, maybe you will not be able to retrieve your deleted files.

Method 2. Retrieve deleted files in Windows 10 via data recovery software

There are many data recovery software in the market to choose from. MyRecover, a professional third-party file recovery tool, can recover permanently deleted files in Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows Server. It is simple to use and supports hundreds of file formats as well as all commonly used storage devices such as internal hard drives, SSDs, memory cards, USB flash drives, etc.  If you find Windows File Recovery can't recover your deleted files, MyRecover could be a good choice. 

MyRecover

▶ Support permanently deleted files recovery, formatted file recovery, and other data recovery situations.
▶ Recover deleted or missing files from SD cards, USB flash drives, HDDs, SSDs, external hard drives, and other storage devices.
▶ Recover pictures, videos, audios, emails, and hundreds of other file types.
▶ Compatible with Windows 7/8/10/11 and Windows Server.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
10,000 people have downloaded it

Step 1. Download and open MyRecover on your computer. Select a partition and click "Start Scan". 

select-a-partition-to-scan

Step 2. The program runs the scanning process quickly to find deleted files and other missing files in this partition. You could recover any file you want even though the scanning process is not completed. 

scan-lost-data

Step 3. Select the file or the folder that you want to recover and click "Recover files".

recover-lost-data

How to recover deleted files in Windows 10 due to partition loss

If your individual files are lost due to the entire partition being lost or deleted, in this case, AOMEI Partition Recovery Wizard could help you get out of it. Once your partition gets lost, deleted, or corrupted, all of the files in the partition are lost too.

Do not make any new operations on the hard drive or rebuild the partition table to protect the lost data from being rewritten or covered to recover your deleted data as much as possible.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, which provides AOMEI Partition Recovery Wizard, is a versatile disk manager that helps you to manage your partition effectively. It provides the basic features including "create partition, change partition formats, changes drive letters and extend partition".
Moreover, many advanced features are offered such as "convert MBR and GPT without partition removal, move partition, clone partition, merge partition, large-scale hard drive format (over 32GB) to FAT32, allocate space free from FAT42”.

Follow the steps below to recover lost or deleted partitions and files in Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7 via AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. You can download the demo version first.

Try Demo Version Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Steps to recover partitions and files via AOMEI Partition Assistant

Step 1: Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant

Step 2: Click on Partition Recovery Wizard on the left panel and select the disk you want to restore. Click on “Next”.

partition-recovery-wizard

Step 3: Select a search mode. It is recommended that you select Fast Search the first time because it saves lots of time. Then, click on “Next”.

partition-fast-search-mode

Step 4: AOMEI Partition Assistant will show you the list of all lost or deleted partitions. You can select the one you want to recover. And then, click on “Proceed”.

select-lost-partition

Step 5: When the partition recovery process is completed, you will be informed by the “Congratulations” window.

partition-recovery-finished

Step 6: Then go to Windows File Explorer to check whether the deleted or lost partitions and files recovered. If you have made new operations to the hard drive or system, it’s hard to recover all files in the partition.

FAQ about how to recover deleted files in Windows 10

 

Conclusion

How to recover deleted files in Windows 10? With the methods to recover deleted files put forward in this article, you could get your deleted files back effortlessly without professional computer knowledge. The most important is you need to start the data process as soon as possible to get satisfactory results because it is a time-sensitive process.

Keeping your important files backed up is the best way to prevent data loss, and you can follow the steps provided in this post to set up file history or system backup. File History is a wonderful Windows backup tool. File History could automatically store a copy of the files and folders on an external USB drive or Network drive. Alternatively, you can choose a kind of Windows backup freeware-AOMEI Backupper to help you to back up and restore your vital data. Besides, it can clone your hard drive and partitions.