4 Proven Methods: Restore Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 10 Free

When you permanently deleted your files by mistake, is it possible to recover them? The answer is YES! This post primarily introduces 4 proven methods to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 free.


By Ellie / Updated on April 3, 2024

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How can I restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 free?


Yesterday, I deleted some files on my Windows 10 computer. Now I find I still need them. So I came to the Recycle Bin and planned to restore them. But to my surprise, my files are not there! It turns out that I have the Do not move deleted files to Recycle Bin option is enabled. This means when I delete a file, it will be deleted permanently instead of going to the Recycle Bin. How can I restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10? It would be better if it is free.”

- Question from a user

Except for the reason mentioned above, there are more common reasons behind permanent file loss:

  • Using the “Shift + Delete” keys to delete files
  • Emptying the Recycle Bin accidentally
  • Virus infection or malware installed on your computer causes file corruption.
  • Using the command line to delete any file

No matter how you have permanently deleted your files, you are able to retrieve them back using the methods mentioned below.

How to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 for free without software

In the beginning, we’ll introduce how to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10 without software. Two methods are mentioned in this section.

Method 1. Restore permanently deleted files from a Windows backup

The first method to get back permanently deleted files is to restore them from a Windows backup making with the Windows built-in utility Backup and Restore if you have this feature enabled in advance.

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

Open Control Panel

Step 2. Click System and Security and then Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

System and Security

Step 3. Here you’ll see if you have this function enabled. If you do, click Select another backup to restore files from. If you don’t, jump to the next method.

Select Another Backup to Restore Files from

Step 4. Select the backup and then click Next.

Select a Backup

Step 5. Search for your excel file by using the Browse for files or Browse for folders option.

Restore with Windows Backup

Step 6. Choose a location to save the backup, select your files and click Restore to recover it.

Bonus tip: Backup files to avoid data loss via AOMEI Backupper

You can also use the third-party backup freeware AOMEI Backupper. It allows you to back up your partitions to the destination you designate in just a few simple steps.

Step 1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper for Windows on your computer. 

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

 Step 2. Under the Backup tab, select the Partition Backup option.

Partition Backup

 Step 3. You can set a Task Name to help you distinguish backups from each other. Click Add Partition or Volume to choose the partition you want to back up. You can also choose a location to save your backup. After, click Start Backup.

Add Partition or Volume

Step 4. Click Start Backup to carry out partition backup and wait until the operation is complete. Click Finish to exit the interface.

Backup Finish

Method 2. Use the Previous Versions facility to revert to an older copy of the files

You are able to save copies of your files using the File History feature so that you can recover them if they are lost or damaged. You need to enable this feature on your Windows PC before deleting your files. Let's learn how to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10 without software.

Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > File History.

File History

Step 2. Here you’ll see if you have this feature turned on. If yes, click Restore personal files. If not, go to the final method.

Restore Personal Files

Step 3. Select the excel file you need to recover and then click the Restore button.

Locate Deleted Excel File Restore

How to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 for free without backup

If neither of the previous two methods works for you, you can try MyRecover, a free but powerful data recovery tool. You can use it to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10, even if you don't have a file backup or a file history.

Download, install and launch MyRecover on your computer.  

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

Step 1. Hover the mouse over the drive, and click Scan.

Scan D Drive

Step 2. Then the scanning process will start automatically. You don’t need to wait for the process to complete if you find the files you want to recover.

Scan Lost Data

Step 3. Choose the files that you want to recover. Click Recover xx files and choose a destination path to save the restored files.

Select Deleted Excel Files Click Recover

How to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 free using CMD

Of course, you can also recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10 using CMD. With Windows File Recovery, the Microsoft-developed command-line tool, you are able to recover permanently deleted files with commands. Note, this tool only works with Windows 10 versions 2004 and up.

Preparation work:

Check your File System first before using this tool. Go to This PC, right-click the partition containing the deleted files, and then select Properties.

Check File System SD Card

 In addition, you need to use recovery mode and switches to get back your files. To decide which mode to use, refer to this table.

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 are used to filter the scanning range, thus can save the scanning time.

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. NTFSSegment
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFSSegment

Step 1. Download and install Window File Recovery on your computer from Microsoft Store and then open it.

Install Windows File Recovery

Step 2. Open Powershell or Command Prompt (run as administrator). In the Command Prompt, enter commands in the following command format:

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

For example, if you need to recover deleted pdf files from F: drive (the external hard drive) to D: drive, then the command will be like:

winfr F: D: /regular /n *.pdf

Winfr Regular External Hard Drive Files


This post primarily gives four methods to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10 for free. You can choose the most suitable one according to your own situation.

If you’ve enabled Backup and Restore, you can restore permanently deleted files from a Windows backup. If you’ve turned on File History, you can revert to an older copy of the files. If you don't have a file backup or a file history, MyRecover can help you recover permanently deleted files without any limitations. You’re also able to recover files via Windows File Recovery, but this tool is technical-demanding.

Ellie · Editor
Ellie, a professional and experienced writer who is good at solving iOS-related problems and writing iOS backup/transfer tips.