How to Recover Deleted Files in Windows 11 (10 Ways)
What if you accidentally deleted files in Windows 11? Worry not, you can easily recover deleted files in Windows 11 as long as you know the possible reasons. Here are 10 effective methods.
Windows 11 is Microsoft's latest operating system, making great improvements in UX and performance while taking advantage of the computing and memory power of next-generation processors, but it still has the risk of data loss. Don't worry, it provides you with many features to help you recover deleted files from Windows 11, no matter what the reason is.
Why Is Data Loss in Windows 11?
You may not want any data loss, but sometimes you may find that you can't find a file and it has most likely been deleted. Instead of moaning and groaning, get the possible reasons and recover your files immediately.
- 😲 Human error, such as accidental deletion, unsave or overwrite files. This is one of the most reasons.
- ❌ Software issues, such as sudden crash while accessing data, or not saving or updating files properly, bugs or outdated drivers in the software, backup software not working, etc.
- 📛 Hardware corruption, such as firmware corruption, read or write failure, corrupted drive, etc. This may be caused by aging equipment, sudden power surges, mishandling, and more.
- ⚡ Unexpected disasters, such as lightning strikes, spilled cup of coffee, fire, etc may cause data loss.
- 👿Malware, ransomware or other cybersecurity exploits can encrypt your files and ask for ransom payment for decryption. They will delete your data if you don’t pay upon expiration.
- ⚙️ Upgrade deleted files. Early versions of a Windows system may have vulnerabilities and sometimes your files are lost after upgrading to Windows 11.
Where Are the Recently Deleted Files in Windows 11?
Deleting files is one of the most common operations to clean useless data or free up more space for new data. Usually, there are 3 ways and it decides how difficult it is to recover.
- Right-click the file and select the Delete option from the context menu.
- Select the files and use the Delete key on the keyword.
- Select the files and use Shift + Delete keys on the keyword.
The previous two methods will move the deleted files to the Recycle Bin folder immediately and keep them for a period of time. Then, your files will be deleted permanently. Even then, Windows simply deletes the entries to access the files and marks free space for the new data, leaving them somewhere. The last method is a case of permanent deletion.
How to Recover Recently Deleted Files in Windows 11
If your files are deleted recently, you can recover them immediately with Windows features. If you cannot find your files, try data recovery software like MyRecover. One of the most effective methods is to get deleted files back in a short time, depending on how much data you have.
Way 1: Undelete Files in Windows 11 with Ctrl + Z
Ctrl + Z (also called Undo Delete) is a Windows feature to take the previous action back. You can use it when you realize you delete files mistakenly.
Step 1. Make sure the folder where your photos are located is in focus.
Step 2. Press CTRL + Z on your keyboard.
Step 3. Alternatively, you can right-click anywhere in the folder and choose the Undo Delete option.
- The previous action you make on a deleted files will go after a restart.
- You can always go back only one action at a time. So it’s impossible to undelete Windows 11 files for a while ago.
Way 2: Recover Deleted Files from Recycle Bin
Recycle Bin is also a good place to find deleted files in Windows 11. If your files are there, you are able to recover them. But if you use the “Shift + Delete” keys or it’s on a formatted drive, you files are removed immediately, in which case try data recovery software.
Step 1. Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop.
Step 2. Find and select the recently deleted file. Right-click the file and select the Restore option.
- The deleted files will be restored to original location.
- To restore multiple files, hold Ctrl and select all of them. Then, select Restore the selected items instead.
Way 3: Restore Lost Files in Windows 11 from OneDrive
OneDrive is integrated into Windows 11 backup settings. If you set up it and backup files to OneDrive, you can retrieve deleted files in Windows 11 with an internet connection.
Step 1. Go to: https://onedrive.live.com/ and log in with your OneDrive account.
Step 2. Search for the files you want to recover. Then, select them and click the Download button.
Step 3. Select a location to save the downloaded files.
Way 4: Get Deleted Files Back using Data Recovery Software
What if you cannot find deleted files now? Try data recovery software - MyRecover. It helps to recover recently and permanently deleted files in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, etc. It supports 30MB data recovery for free each time.
- Recover more than 200+ file types, such as recover Word documents, downloads folder, photos, videos, etc.
- Support two advanced scanning methods - Quick Scan and Deep Scan. It will find all the deleted or lost files in Windows 11 automatically.
- Locate specific files quickly with its Filter feature and recover them as soon as they are found.
- Get deleted files back with a high success rate and fast speed, keeping their original file name, format, quality, and path.
Step 1. Launch Windows data recovery software- MyRecover. Select the drive containing deleted files in Windows 11 and click Start Scan.
Step 2. The software will run Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically and find all the deleted or lost data on Windows 11. Once any of the files are found, it will display in the following window. You can then preview or select them to recover immediately.
You can also use the Filter feature to search the Word files to locate deleted files faster. It has 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. To recover deleted files at a specific time period, try the last option.
- 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 documents, Click Filter > Type and select Documents. Then, input DOCX in the Search for files or folders box. It will list all of the deleted Word documents in the following window.
Step 3. Select all the deleted or lost data on Windows 11 and click Recover XX files.
- MyRecover will display the number of files to be recovered and their entire size. You can free recover files up to 30MB each time. To recover unlimited files, please upgrade MyRecover.
- Select a new location to store the deleted or lost photos or video files. Retrieving files to original location may overwrite the space of deleted data, resulting in data recovery failure.
- Except for Windows 10 or 11, it is still able to recover deleted files from Windows Server 2016, 2019, 2022, etc.
Besides, you still can use this software to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 11, such as, recover Shift Deleted files in Windows 11, recover files from formatted hard drive, recover data from SSD, etc.
Way 5: Use Microsoft Windows File Recovery
Microsoft also provides users with a Windows file recovery software, Windows File Recovery, which is a challenging command line tool, requiring you to learn the syntax, recovery modes, and switches. For details, please check: how to use Windows File Recovery. Try this if you are a professional or IT technician.
Step 1: Open the Store app and search for Windows File Recovery. Then, click Install to get this free file recovery software for Windows 11.
Step 2: Open Powershell or CMD with administrator priority. Type the command based on syntax and your situation. Then, type Y to start the file recovery. Below are 4 examples:
winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]
- To recover files from C: drive to a folder on D: drive:
Winfr C: D: /regular /n \Users\\Documents\
- To recover PDF files and Word documents from C: drive to a folder on D: drive:
Winfr C: D: /regular /n *.pdf /n *.docx
- To recover files with the string “piano” in the file name:
Winfr C: D: /extensive /n *piano*
- To recover JPEG and BMP images from the Pictures folder on D: drive:
Winfr C: D: /extensive /n \Users\\Pictures\*.JPEG /n\Users\\Pictures\*.BMP
Step 3: Try Segment mode if you’re still unable to find or recover deleted file. It is usually used with the /r switch.
winfr C: D:/r /n \Users\\Documents\xyz.docx
Step 4: To recover specific file types, try Signature mode. It requires /x and /y switches to specify file type. Type winfr /# to confirm the supported file types if you are not sure.
winfr C: D: /x /y:ZIP
- You can try Windows File Recovery, but it may not always retrieve your deleted files.
- The tool supports only Windows 10, version 2004 and above.
How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 11
If you use the “Shift + Delete” keys to delete files in Windows 11 or it’s on a formatted drive, the files are permanently deleted. In order not to cause further data loss, please stop using this drive and recover your files as soon as possible.
Way 1: Recover Shift Deleted Files from File History
If you turn on File History, it will automatically save a copy of your user files, such as Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders. You can then retrieve delete files in Windows 11 from it, even if it’s not in the Recycle Bin folder.
Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > File History.
Step 2. Click the Restore personal files option.
Step 3. Go back in time until you find the deleted files. Select it and click the green restore button.
Way 2: Recover Deleted Files using CHKDSK
CHKDSK is a command tool to scan the file system and meta of a disk for logical and physical data and fix any found error, especially useful for corrupted files.
Step 1. Press Win + X and select the Windows Terminal option.
Step 2. Type chkdsk drive letter: /r and press Enter on your keyword. It will start the scanning process and repair the corrupted files if there are any.
Way 3: Restore Deleted Files using ATTRIB
It is possible the file is hidden by malware instead of being deleted. At this point you can use the ATTRIB command to unhide your files.
Step 1. Open Windows Terminal.
Step 2. Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d drive letter:\*.* and press Enter.
Way 4: Restore Files to a Previous Versions
Previous Versions come from File History or restores. If you enable either of them, you can restore files to previous versions and get deleted files back quickly.
Step 1. Select the folder containing deleted files. Right-click it and select Properties.
Step 2. Switch to the Previous Versions tab and check if there is a previous version. Or click the Open button to confirm it.
Step 3. Then, select the previous folder version and click Restore. If there are any new data, you need to backup them first or move them out.
Way 5: Recover Lost Files After Windows 11 Update
If you create a complete backup of your system before upgrading to Windows 11, you can restore Windows to previous version with Backup and Restore (Windows 7). Be sure your computer supports the Windows recovery environment.
Step 1. Go to Settings > System > Recovery and click the Restart now button.
Step 2. In the recovery environment, click Troubleshoot > Advanced options > See more options and select System Image Recovery.
Step 3. Select a working system image and complete all the steps of system restore. If your system image is on external disk, you need to connect it first.
How to Protect Files in Windows 11
Whether your files are recently deleted or permanently deleted, you are able to recover your files with one of methods above. But some data loss can be avoided if you protect them well, or get back quickly.
- Be more careful about deleting files, downloading files from the internet, reading emails containing suspicious attachments and links.
- Keep Windows Defender always turn on and updated. It’s the default antivirus software on Windows 11 to monitor viruses and other harmful malware.
- Consider creating a local backup with File History or Backup and Restore (Windows 7) . To make it easier, try third-party realiable backup software for Windows like AOMEI Backupper Standard.
- Set a cloud backup. Windows 11 makes it easy to backup files to OneDrive automatically. It offers users 5GB free cloud storage and multiple subscription plans to get more space. You can also backup files to Google Drive, Dropbox, and more cloud drives.
- Install reliable data recovery software like MyRecover on your computer. Even if you don’t create a backup for your files, you can get your files back quickly.
In general, recently deleted files will be much easier than permanently deleted files. However, there are more than one methods to recover deleted files in Windows 11 in both situations. Among them, data recovery software is suitable for both cases and is the most efficient.
Data loss is painful and can be avoided if you protect it well. Human error is a leading data loss cause, so be careful when you do any operations that may cause data loss. Besides, you can choose to create a local backup and offsite backup like cloud backup to protect them well.