Troubleshoot | Windows Defender Automatically Deleted Files

Found Windows Defender automatically deleted files? This article can help you fix it and teach you how to restore files from Windows Defender quarantine.


By Lora / Updated on April 3, 2024

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“How do I stop Windows Defender from automatically deleting files?”

Computers without an antivirus will be vulnerable. Viruses are good at disguising themselves, pretending to be harmless software programs to enter your computer, attacking boot sectors and file systems, and deleting/hiding/encrypting valuable data.

After getting infected, many computers will become paralyzed after getting infected, so many users are forced to remove the virus using CMD only.

Therefore, the vast majority of users will enable Windows Defender to prevent their machines and data from being damaged.

And there comes the problem. A bunch of users discovered that Windows 11 Defender not working; severely; some users found files getting deleted automatically when used/clicked/right after downloaded.


How to stop windows defender from deleting a program?


I use some programs with .exe extension, windows defender reads those as a virus, and it deletes them while I still want them! How to stop windows defender from deleting a program that I want to keep it?!


- Question from Microsoft Community


Did you encounter similar situations? You may ask, "Why are my files automatically deleted”.

It is because when Windows Defender scans your hard disk and considers specific files suspicious/deceptive/dangerous as viruses, thus delete them before it starts to damage your device.

But sometimes, users are sure the downloaded files are safe. And now they wonder how to stop Windows Defender from deleting files.

This post will give you answers, solutions, and how to restore files from Windows Defender quarantine.


Solutions: Windows Defender automatically deleted files

In the first place, it is necessary to stop the files from being removed again. There are two ways to achieve so.

Fix 1. Add exclusions to the Virus & threat protection settings

When Windows Defender deletes suspicious files, it is similar to blocking/banning someone on social media. You could also free a particular file/folder/file type from the blocklist to the safelist.

In Windows Defender settings, you could add exclusions to the safe files, folders, or file types.

Please ensure the files are genuinely secure before adding them to the exclusions.

Step 1. Click Start menu > Windows Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection.


Step 2. Scroll down to Virus & threat protection settings > Manage settings.


Step 3. Scroll down to Exclusions > Add or remove exclusions.


Step 4. Click Add an exclusion > choose File/Folder/File Type/Process according to your specific needs. E.g., add the Downloads folder to it.


Thus you could stop Windows Defender from deleting files again.

Fix 2. Disable Windows Defender

Another method to solve the problem of “Windows Defender automatically deleted files” is to turn off the Windows Defender, which is pretty dangerous.

If you are to carry out this solution, please make sure you have scanned (it is suggested to run a full scan) the computer using antivirus and make sure there are no viruses and threats. 
Do not use this method before you are sure the downloaded files are safe. 
If you are a Windows 11 user, please seek help to turn off Windows Defender on Windows 11.

Step 1. Go to Virus & threat protection settings > Manage settings.


Step 2. Switch off the Real-time protection.


Step 3. Try to re-download the deleted file (if you can still access it).

How to restore files from Windows Defender?

You could settle the "Windows Defender automatically deleted files" issue with these two approaches above. But what if the files have been deleted, and there is no access to the files anymore for you?

Don't worry; it is easy to recover them.

Method 1. Recover from protection history

Besides deleting files directly, Windows Defender also quarantines files to a restricted area where they cannot harm your machine. Quarantined files will stay there temporarily and will be removed automatically.

You could try to check if your wanted files are still there. Now follow the detailed steps to learn how to restore files from Windows Defender quarantine.

Step 1. Go to Virus & threat protection > click Protection history.


Step 2. You can view the quarantined files and process them as you like. Click Actions > Restore.


Method 2. Restore files that are already deleted by Windows defender efficiently

As we have discussed, Windows Defender won't keep quarantined files there for too long. If you found the files were removed already, how to recover them quickly and safely?

In general, users will think of backups. If you possess a backup made in advance, you could restore files from backup in Windows.

But, frankly speaking, files downloaded just now or not so long ago are seldom backed up that quickly.

Therefore, a professional Windows data recovery program will be a good option. MyRecover is your second-to-none choice since it is efficient in data recovery in several aspects.

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  • Apply to all-inclusive data loss circumstances, including deletion, formatting, recycle bin emptying, virus, system crash, etc.
  • Restore deleted, and missing files from healthy/formatted from HDD/SSD/USB flash drive/SD card, etc.
  • Choose 200+ types of data to restore, e.g., photos, videos, documents, spreadsheets, compressed files, etc.
  • Support data recovery while scanning.
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Remember to save your recovered files to another drive than the original place. 
The scanning process is bounded by Quick Scan & Deep Scan. The former is for deleted files, while the latter is for missing files.

Step 1. Run the software > Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. Extensions, filenames, and filters like Type, Size, Path, etc., help you target the needed files faster.


Step 2. Extensions, filenames, and filters like Type, Size, Path, etc., help you target the needed files faster.


In this way, you could efficiently restore files deleted by Windows Defender. Also, if you found Google Drive automatically delete old files, use this tool to get your files back.

Wrap things up

Users who found Windows Defender automatically deleted files could check out this article.

We introduce several means to help you stop Windows Defender from deleting files again by adding exclusions or turning off Windows Defender;

In addition, we also walk you through how to restore deleted files from Windows Defender quarantine and directly use data recovery software for Windows.

Moreover, users are better off not disabling Windows Defender readily. Meanwhile, To cope with viruses and threats, it will be a better bet to back up essential files regularly using backup software for Windows.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.