By Lora / Last update May 20, 2022

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

Have you ever permanently deleted files in Windows 10? To define it, there are generally 4 ways to permanently delete a file:

Delete a file normally, and then delete it again in the Recycle Bin.
Use “Shift+DEL” to delete a file.
Use 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.

That is to say if you have used the 4 ways above to delete a file, then it is permanently deleted.


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


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. When you “delete” a file, your computer logically deletes it, and 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. This tutorial is aimed at solving the question “How to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10?”. Now, you could follow the methods in the next section.

How to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10?

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 from the File History

To get back your permanently deleted files, you could 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.

Step 1. Input Control Panel in the Windows search bar, start it, and 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.


Method 2. Retrieve permanently deleted files using Windows File Recovery

How to recover permanently deleted files in windows 10? To restore files with File History is quite easy but doesn’t apply to users who do not have the habit to back up files. Then for those who cannot take advantage of File History, what tools could be utilized to retrieve permanently deleted files?

Microsoft has provided an official tool: Windows File Recovery (Winfr). 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.

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.

How to recover permanently deleted files without commands?

Using Windows File Recovery to recover files is far beyond easy for ordinary users. The commands are so tough to understand, and not to mention users have to figure out tons of things before recovery.

Is that difficult to restore permanently deleted files? No, never. Instead of draining the brain to avoid command errors, it is better to use freeware with a  GUI to get your permanently deleted files back.

Here WinfrGUI could be of help to you. As a freeware with a clear and simple interface, it could get users free of complex commands. You could recover permanently deleted files in only 3 steps.

This tool fully invokes the function of Windows File Recovery. No insurance of 100% success rate.
Similarly, the destination drive cannot be the same as the source partition.
Quick Scan only supports NTFS.
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Step 1. Select the partition where your files are permanently deleted > select a drive or folder to save your recovered files.


Step 2. Select a scanning method according to your File System and data loss scenario. Advanced Settings are available if needed.


Step 3. Click Start Recovery to get all your files back.


How to recover permanently deleted files with format/name/path kept?

Using Windows File Recovery and its alternative WinfrGUI cannot restore files with their file names, formats, and paths kept intact, which is relatively inconvenient to some degree.

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.

AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows will be your second to none choice. This utility is designed by AOMEI, the leading benchmark of the data security industry. Supported by a sophisticated team, it possesses a lot of highlights.

Software highlights

  • Apply to a comprehensive data loss situation.
  • Recover over 200 types of data.
  • Restore files at a high speed and recovery rate.
  • Retrieve deleted/lost files with format/name/path kept.
  • Support Windows 11/10/8/7 SP1 & Server.

Download AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows to start Windows data rescue.

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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 also supports data recovery during the scanning process.


Step 3. Select the permanently deleted files you want > 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.

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 AOMEI Data Recovery for Windows.

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.