Comprehensive Guide: Where Do Deleted Files Go?

Find where do deleted files go in Windows 10/11 or on iPhone in this guide. And you can get corresponding ways to recover deleted files and prevent data loss.


By Penny / Updated on April 3, 2024

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Are deleted files really gone?

Are you wondering where do deleted files go? When you first delete a file, the Windows operating system will send your deleted files to its temporary storage place, Recycle Bin.

These recently deleted files in the Recycle Bin are not marked for deletion and they still occupy disk space. But if you’re going to delete files from hard drives by emptying the Recycle Bin, these files are not wiped out.


What is erased is the bit of information that points to the location of the file on the hard drive because the OS uses references to build the directory tree structure (the file allocation structure). Then you can locate the file path on the hard drive based on the tree structure.

If you remove the file path, the corresponding deleted file is still on your PC although the file is invisible to the Windows operating system. As you add new data to the same location where save the deleted/lost data, your desired deleted files will be erased after data coverage.

Part 1. Where do deleted files go in Windows 10/11?

Where do deleted files go in Windows 10/11? As mentioned above, you can still recover the deleted/lost files before data coverage.

Moreover, two points deserve your attention.

Please avoid writing new data to the same storage device after data loss.
Please remember that the sooner the data recovery process, the better your chances will be.

You can restore files from backups or utilize data recovery software to recover them.

Solution 1. Recover deleted/lost/damaged files via File History

Let’s perform how to recover deleted/lost/damaged original files via File History if you have enabled File History or System Protection of the local disk that includes the files you want to restore.   

File History is good at making files in Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Desktop folders, and OneDrive offline files saved on your PCs.
After activating File History or System Protection, the Previous Version is also allowed for you. Then you can recover overwritten PowerPoint files in Windows 10/11 via recovering previous versions of PPT files.
Win7 users are not permitted to use this method because File History made its debut in Windows 8.0 operating system.

Step 1. Open Control Panel by entering it in the search bar on your PC, then click the “System and Security” button.


Step 2. Go to File History and select the “Restore your files with File History” option.


Step 3. Click the “Restore personal files” button.


Step 4. You can “Restore” your deleted files to the original location or right-click on it and select the “Restore to” option to save them in another location.


Solution 2. Recover deleted/lost files using data recovery software

Since you’ve learned where do permanently deleted files go and how to restore the files from backups, let’s set out to perform file recovery via data recovery software.

There’re some criteria for the selection of data recovery tools. 


  • Use powerful features to recover varied types of data regardless of data loss scenarios.


  • Work with most families of the Windows OS and offer easy-to-follow operating steps.

In this case, MyRecover is powerful enough to meet the above requirements.   

Recover the deleted/lost Word document, Excel, PPT, PDF, Photos, Videos, Audio, folders, compressed files, and other 200+ types of data from HDD, USB, etc.
Retain the original path, filename, and format for the deleted data.
Search your needed files by typing their filenames in the search bar or wait to find all the deleted and other lost files on your computers after scanning.  
Support NTFS, exFAT, FAT32, and ReFS file systems.

Step 1. Download and install this tool on your Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Windows Server computers.

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

Step 2. After loading the disk, hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 3. Quick Scan and Deep Scan will detect all the deleted and other missing files. Or you can also search to locate your needed files quickly.


Step 4. Go to Deleted files/Other missing files folder, then click “Recover x files” to restore your selected files. Please remember to save them in another location.


Part 2. Where do deleted files go on iPhone?

Where do deleted files go on iPhone? The same principle is followed. For the recently deleted photos, go to the Recently Deleted folder to restore them within 30 days.

For the permanently deleted photos, you’re also supposed to restore your iPhone from iCloud or iTunes backups. Naturally, you can also use iPhone recovery software to restore them.

Solution 1. Recover deleted data from iPhone 13/14 with backups

Where do permanently deleted photos go on iPhone? They’re still on your iOS devices. If you need, try to restore deleted data from iPhone 13/14 via backups.

But before restoration, please ensure your selected iCloud/iTunes backup that contains your desired data due to the following reasons.

Both iCloud and iTunes backup cannot include the data saved in iCloud.
Apple users are not allowed to preview all the files and restore selected data to their iPhones before the restoration process.
After restoration, your selected iCloud/iTunes backup will overwrite all the existing data on your iOS devices.

Let’s take iTunes backup as an example because this app nearly covers all the content and settings on your iPhone.

Step 1. Run the latest iTunes on your PC, and connect your iOS device to your computer. Then click the “iPhone” icon.


Step 2. Click “Summary” and select the “Restore Backup” option.


Step 3. Select an iTunes backup you want among all the listed backups. Then click the “Restore” button.


Solution 2. Recover deleted data from iPhone 13/14 via iPhone data recovery software

Without iCloud/iTunes backup? Can’t ensure your backups include the iPhone data you want? Unwilling to erase all the current data?

If you’re worried about the above concerns, professional iPhone data recovery software like AOMEI Data Recovery for iOS can exempt you from them.

Please turn on your iPhone, and the iPhone data recovery process will not overwrite all the content and settings.   

Key features
Preview all the files and recover the partial data.
Recover Photos, Videos, Contacts, Notes, Reminders, WeChat History, Call History, Voice Memos, etc.
Work well with varied types of iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhones like iPhone 13/14.   
Be compatible with iOS 10.0 and later like the latest iOS 15/16.
Download Software iOS 10 and later
Secure Download

Step 1. After running AOMEI Data Recovery for iOS on your PC. Then connect your iPhone to the computer.


Step 2. Trust This Computer” on your iPhone, then click “Scan Now” to begin the scanning process.


Step 3. Select the data you want from all the recoverable data and click the “Recover” button.


Relevant Q&A for file recovery

After reading this tutorial, you may have a deeper understanding of where do deleted files go. If you want to figure out where do deleted files go in Windows 10/11 and where do deleted files go on iPhone, please refer to the corresponding part. 

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.