6 Ways to Recover Files Lost in Cut and Paste Safely

If you are looking for solutions to recover files lost in cut and paste, you can't miss this article. On this page, we will include 6 effective methods to help you.


By Kelsey / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Cut and paste is one of the commonly used file management features that allow you to easily move files from one location to another. However, quite a few people reported that their files were missing in this process. Where do cut files go? Is it recoverable? How to recover files lost in cut and paste? Worry not, you will get clear ideas in this article.

Recover Files Lost in Cut and Paste

Can Cut-and-Paste Files Be Recovered?


I cut a file from my Documents folder and wanted to paste it into a USB flash drive. But I lost this file from my USB drive and no longer have the file on my computer as well. Can you recover cut and paste files?

When you cut a file, such as pictures, videos, documents, programs, etc, it will go to the virtual clipboard and remain there temporarily until you paste it into a destination location. If something goes wrong and you don’t paste the file, the cut files will go back to their original location.

So the cut files are recoverable unless you overwrite them in the clipboard. If you are experiencing the same problem, rest easy, and here are several proven ways to recover files lost in cut and paste.​

✌ Helpful tips: When you find the cut and paste files disappeared in Windows 10 or from external devices like USB or SD, the first thing is to stop this operation, preventing further data loss. Then, don't turn off your computer.  The cut files will go forever.

The Reasons Behind Files Lost in Cut and Paste

Varieties of reasons can cause cut and paste files disappeared in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc or external devices like USB drive or SD card. Behind them, at the core, is unfinished or interrupted cut and paste action. It can be:

  • unexpected shutdown or power failure.
  • Incorrect eject of external storage devices (eg: USB drive or SD card).
  • Hardware fails fully or partially during cut and past action.
  • Virus infection.
  • Accidental deletion the paste files in the destination drive or format it.

Usually, it’s not easy for ordinary users to recover files lost in cut and paste. What if you are experiencing this problem? The quick way is to use Ctrl + X or Win + V keys to cancel the cut action or check the temp folder. If not, be relax, try the best data recovery software or other 5 methods.

Best Software to Recover Files Lost in Cut and Paste (Easiest)

MyRecover is one of the best software to recover files lost in cut and paste. It is able to deal with all-inclusive data loss scenarios, such as sudden power failure, accidental deletion, virus attack, operating system crash,etc.

In terms of file types, it supports you to recover Excel files, Word files, pictures, text, videos, Zip files, and more than 200 kinds of data at a high success rate and fast speed. And the recovered files retains their original name, format, quality, and path.

The following is a quick guide on how to recover files lost in cut and paste using this tool. Please download data recovery software on Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc or Windows Server first.

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

Step 1. Run Windows data recovery software - MyRecover. All your disks will be displayed here. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.

Select Partition To Scan

Step 2. This software will automatically run Quick Scan and Deep Scan to find out deleted or lost files in the selected drive. From here you can filter, preview and recover cut paste lost files without waiting for finally result.

Scan Lost Data


  • You can filter files through file name or file type, date modified, size and path in the Filter features. It is able to recover files from a specific folder.
  • You can click the Stop or Pause button if you select the wrong disk or something goes wrong.

Step 3. Expand the Other missing files tab and go to the location containing lost files. Select them and click Recover x files.

Select Deleted Excel Files Click Recover

Note: MyRecover displays the number of lost files to be recovered and their full size. You can use this to determine if you have selected all the lost files on this location.

Step 4. Select a new folder to store the lost files and click Select Folder to confirm it. It will automatically recover files lost after cut and paste on this folder. Don’t save them to original location as it may cause data corruption or permanent data loss.

Select Folder


Recover Cut and Paste Lost Files without Software

How to recover cut and paste files from computer without any software? Except for data recovery software, it’s worth trying to restore files from backup if you save a copy of them. If not, try chkdsk and attrib command, show hidden files, etc.

Way 1. Restore Cut Paste Lost Files via Backup and Restore

If you have used the Backup and Restore utility to backup lost files, you can use the following steps to recover lost files from cut paste.

Step 1. Open the Windows Settings app and click on Update & Security.

Step 2. Select the Backup option from the left menu and click Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7). And, click on the Restore my files position.​

Restore My Files

Step 3. Next, hit Browse for files, Browse for folders, or Search to find data you want to recover. Click Next.​

Browse For Files To Restore From Formatted Hard Drive

Step 4. Choose where you want to restore the files: the original location or new location. Finally, click Restore to recover permanently deleted files effortlessly.

Select Location To Save Recovered Files

Way 2. Recover Files Lost after Cut and Paste from OneDrive

If you use cloud storage like OneDrive to store your important files, you can check if your lost files are there.

Step 1. Go to onedrive.com and log in with your account.

Step 2. Locate lost files in cut and paste.

Step 3. Then, select the files you want to recover and click the Download button.


Way 3. Recover Files Lost during Cut and Paste from Hidden Files

There is a possibility that your cut and paste files are hidden, so you cannot see them. In this case, try to show hidden files or folders in File Explorer.

Step 1. Go to Control Panel and select Appearance and Personalization.

Step 2. Under the File Explorer Options, click Show hidden files and folders.


Step 3. Go to the Advanced settings and check Show hidden files and folders again. Finally, click Apply > OK to confirm this operation.


Way 4. Recover Lost Files from Cut and Paste via CMD

You can also try chkdsk & attrib command to recover files lost during cut and paste. Please follow the steps below.

Step 1. Press Win + R to open the Run window, type cmd and click OK to open the command prompt window.

Step 2. Type chkdsk G: /f and press Enter. Replace D with drive letter of your drive containing lost files.

chdsk cmd

Step 3. Type Y and press Enter if you are asked to run this command at the next system startup.

Step 4. Restart your system and wait for the disk check process to complete.

Step 5. Go to the command prompt window, type attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.* and press Enter.

Way 5. Recover Data Lost in Cut and Paste using Previous Versions

Previous versions are copies of files and folders automatically saved from a restore point or File History. So please be sure you enable one of them. You can then recover files lost after cut and paste from previous versions.

Step 1. Locate the folder where your lost files were saved and tap on the Restore Previous Versions option.​


Step 2. In the Previous Versions tab, go to File versions and choose the earlier version of your lost files.

Select Previous Version

Step 3. Click on Restore in the bottom right corner. 

Everything You Need to Know about Cut and Paste

Generally, there are two options for data movement - cut-paste and copy-paste. The difference between cut-paste and copy-paste is that the former removes data from the original place and places it in a new location, while the latter simply inserts the content into the new location without removing the original content.

Also, here's another set of features that are confusing - cut & delete. When you cut an item, it disappears from its original location but remains on the virtual clipboard, so you can use the paste feature to restore it to a new location. When you delete an item, it's moved to your computer's Recycle Bin or deleted completely.

Bonus Tips to Prevent Data Loss in Cut and Paste

If there are any unfinished or interrupted actions in cut and paste, you may find some of your files lost. To avoid this error, you can follow the following tips.

  • Use copy and paste instead of cut and paste.
  • Use a UPS device to avoid any power failure while transferring cut files.
  • Don’t force cancel or stop the cut-and-paste operation.
  • Avoid ejecting external devices in the cut and paste process.
  • Install powerful data recovery software like MyRecover on your computer. It helps to recover files lost in cut and paste immediately after you recognize this error.
  • Backup files regularly. Backups are always a good choice in case of data loss. So it is necessary to create copy of your files with professional backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. It allows you to automatically backup files on a daily, weekly, or monthly to save you time and effort

File Backup


✍ What happens if I cut a file but never paste it?

The cut files will go to the clipboard temporarily. If you don’t paste, the cut files will be overwritten finally. If you shut down your computer before pasting it, this operation will be invalid. And this operation may also cause data loss.

✍ Does cut and paste delete files?

The answer is NO. The cut and paste command simply move files from one location to another and you still can access and modify them on your computer.

✍ How to recover cut files from USB

You can choose to connect this USB drive to a Windows PC or Mac machine and then try backup image created by Backup and Restore (Windows 7), File History or Time Machine. If you don’t activate them beforehand, try data recovery software like MyRecover or Recuva.

✍ How to recover files lost during cut and paste in Android

Android phone like Samsung comes with Samsung Cloud, which create backups of some directories on your device periodically. You can choose to restore from a Samsung Cloud backup.

  • Go to Settings, then Accounts and backup.
  • Scroll down to Samsung Cloud and click Restore data.
  • Select your phone and the items you want to restore. Click Restore.

✍ How to recover cut and paste lost files on Mac

Like Windows PC, Mac also offers users built-in backup software like Time Machine. If you enable it before files lost in cut and paste, you can try to restore from Time Machine backup.

Final Words

That is all about 6 useful ways to recover files lost in cut and paste. In fact, in the absence of backups, using data recovery software -MyRecover can be a wise choice. Not only cut and paste lost files, you can also use it to retrieve deleted files from hard drive, USB flash drive, and SD card etc as well as other data loss scenarios like format, virus infection, system crash, etc.

Finally, it’s suggested to keep data recovery software installed on your computer and create at least 3 backup copies of your files. Thus, when you find any data loss, you can easily recover files in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc.

Kelsey · Editor
Kelsey is an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She is passionate about helping people find effective ways to deal with all problems in computer. She has great insights into data backup and recovery, disk partition and clone, and other data protection measures. She likes learn computer skills to improve herself and enjoy quality time with family and friends.