By Lora / Last update May 29, 2023

Where can I find permanently deleted files in Windows 10?

Have you ever permanently deleted files in Windows 10? To define it, there are generally 6 ways to permanently delete a file:

Delete a file normally, and then delete it again in the Recycle Bin. 
You have intentionally or accidentally emptied the Recycle Bin
Use “Shift+DEL” to delete a file. 
Use the command prompt: “del” to delete a file. 
A file larger than 8998 MB will bypass the Recycle Bin and be permanently deleted once you delete it normally. 
Connect an external storage device and delete files from the external devices, like external HDD, USB, SD card, etc.

That is to say, if you have used the 6 ways above to delete a file, then it is permanently deleted. These are the common causes of permanent data loss in Windows 10, 11.


When it comes to the reason to do so, there could be many. Maybe you were trying to free up some space on your drive or intentionally delete some unimportant files.

But later, you found that you still need them! Then you were wondering “Can I get permanently deleted files back?”.


Hello, I deleted with shift+del a few files on the desktop, Can you help me?


- Question from Microsoft Community


Is it possible to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10?

So, is it possible to retrieve permanently deleted files in Windows 10? A simple answer is “Yes”, but there is one condition that must be met.

After you've discovered your files are deleted, please stop using your computer to avoid any chance of overwriting.

You may ask “Where do the permanently deleted files go if not in Recycle Bin?” actually, when you “delete” a file, your computer logically deletes it. Still, the file will stay in its original place. What is genuinely wiped is the pointer to the file.

Meanwhile, the space is freed up, ready to be overwritten by another file. So, before the space is overwritten, you can still get access to your deleted files. Even if you have emptied the Recycle Bin, you could also recover items deleted from Recycle Bin.

This tutorial aims to solve the question for users. Now, you could follow the methods in the next section.

5 ways to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10/11

How to restore permanently deleted files? In this article, 3 feasible methods will be covered. Check them out below.

Method 1. Recover permanently deleted files without backups

When it comes to permanently deleted file recovery, users will think of data recovery services and backups.

Yet, since local data recovery services change extremely high, and plenty of users don’t have backups, these 2 options are not the best way.

Not to mention that other methods like commands are far beyond easy for ordinary users.

Instead of checking and searching for needed files one by one, users are much more willing to utilize a Windows data recovery tool that can retain the file's directory, name, and format.

MyRecover will be your second-to-none choice. This utility is designed by AOMEI, the leading benchmark of the data security industry. It can help you easily restore deleted or missing files from HDD/SSD/SD card/USB, etc.

Highly-effective. Recover the most frequently used file formats: png/jpg/mp4/mov/doc/xlsx/pdf/ppt/html/zip, etc., in 3 steps. 
Easy and convenient. Retrieve deleted files with format/name/path kept. 
Highly-compatible. Support Windows 11/10/8/7 SP1 & Server. 
All-inclusive.  Apply to a comprehensive data loss situation: deletion, recycle bin emptying, disk formatting, system crashes, viruses, etc.

Currently, MyRecover offers 3 subscription plans: Monthly/Yearly/Lifetime, supporting unlimited data recovery. Users could upgrade MyRecover to Pro and Tech to enjoy cost-effective discounts.

Download MyRecover to start Windows data rescue. 

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download
Please choose a place different from the source drive/partition to store your recovered data.

Step 1. Start the program > select a partition where you have permanently deleted files > Start Scan.


Step 2. It supports data sorting/filtering/searching/previewing/recovery during the scanning process.

  • Sort: sort the scanned files by Date modified, Size, Path, Type, etc.
  • Filter: filter the detected files in Type/Date modified/Size; e.g., view all Documents that were modified in the Last 7 days and whose sizes are between 1 MB to 512 MB.
  • Search: locate the wanted files by inputting filenames/extensions in the search box.
  • Preview: preview images in a clear thumbnail.
  • Recovery: directly choose needed files to restore after previewing.


Step 3. Select the permanently deleted files you want from the original location or Recycle Bin > click Recover x files to restore.


In this way, you could recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10 easily. Also, this tool can help users get data back from other devices, like restoring data from laptop hard disks.

Method 2. Restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 from File History

To get back your permanently deleted files, you could also take advantage of an embodied tool in Windows: File History.

Since Windows 8, users could turn on this tool to save copies of their files; then they could restore files with File History, as long as they have enabled this tool and made backups in advance.

Step 1. Input Control Panel in the Windows search bar > start it > click System and Security.


Step 2. Click File History.


Step 3. Click Restore personal files.


Step 4. Select the deleted files you need and then click the “Recycle” button. For example, navigate to the desktop folder, and find your documents like removed Excel files, you could recover permanently deleted Excel files from the desktop.


Method 3. Restore previous version of files/folders

The Previous Versions feature is another accessible backup tool. Users who have activated File History and the system protection can roll back the file/folder and get the deleted/corrupted/lost files back.

But please note that this tool only recovers backed-up files on the local drives.

Step 1. Start File Explorer > navigate to the folder where your permanently deleted files were previously saved.

Step 2. Right-click on it > Properties > Previous Versions. Click Restore/Open to recover or check the data as you like. For instance, if you choose a Word document, you could find previous version of Word documents.


Method 4. Restore from Windows backup made in advance

An exclusive built-in backup tool in Windows PC can also help recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10/11. It supports back up & restore files on the local drives as file copies in case file loss occurs.

Step 1. Press “Windows” to start, then click “Control Panel” > “System and Security Backup and Restore (Windows 7).”


Step 2. Click “Restore my files”. If you haven’t made backups yet, you cannot restore files using this app.


Step 3. Select the Browse for files/Browse for folders option to locate your wanted data.


Step 4. You can store your retrieved folders in your destination path or keep them in the original location.


Thus you could restore files from backups in Windows 10.

Method 5. Retrieve permanently deleted files using Windows File Recovery

Without backups, if you are familiar with commands, there is another way to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10, 11.

Microsoft has provided an official tool named Windows File Recovery for users. As a command-line application, it is pretty difficult to handle for users who do not have any computer expertise.

If you need a more detailed tutorial on how to use Windows File Recovery, please get help. Here we only give a simple guide.

Before using this tool, you need to figure out these: your File System, the source drive & target place, recovery mode & switches. To check your File System, go to This PC > right-click on the drive that contains the deleted files> click Properties.


To decide which mode to use, please refer to the chart below.

File system Scenarios modes
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS Corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

To filter the scanning range, use these switches.

Switches Meaning 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​​​​​


It is advisable to start Windows File Recovery in Microsoft Store. 
If you do not select the Recovery Mode, it will automatically use Regular Mode to scan your computer. 
When meeting the error: "Windows File Recovery there was an error parsing your command", please seek help from the tutorial.

Step 1. Go to Microsoft Store > search for Windows File recovery > click Get. After installation, the Get button will change to Open.


Step 2. Click Open. Choose recovery mode & switches according to your data loss scenarios. Input the command:

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

If you have just permanently deleted your files, please choose Regular Mode. If the files are deleted for a while, please use Extensive Mode.

Now, let’s take an example, if you have just permanently deleted your files by “Shift+Del”, now you are going to recover jpg files from a folder named “pics” under C: Drive to D: drive. Then you need to input:

Winfr C: D: /n \Users\pics\*.jpg

Then input to continue.


Step 3. Wait for the recovery, then a recovery folder will be created in the destination drive you have chosen.

If the Windows File Recovery stuck at 99%, please check the troubleshooting tutorial to fix it.


Wrapping up

To recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10, you could recover them via File History, use Windows File Recovery, or choose an easier way: use the MyRecover.

Selecting a specific type of data to restore is also feasible via this application - you could use it to recover PDF files from hard drives. Using an easy tool to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 is much more convenient and efficient.