By Lily / Last Updated March 12, 2021

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The issue: files lost after reinstalling Windows 10

Can I recover files after reinstalling OS?

My laptop hung up in endless automatic repair loop (blue screen), none of the recommended solutions have worked. Finally I have reinstalled Windows 10 Home by using Windows 10 Media creation Tool.
During an installation I have seen the old files being saved (I think). The laptop is working fine right now, but I do not see my old files/folders anywhere. Can I recover them? Thanks for help.

- Question from Microsoft Community

There are times when you have to reinstall Windows 10. For example, Windows system files or boot files are deleted or corrupted; Windows registry has been corrupted; the system is attacked by stubborn malware, etc. You should have known that the system partition will be reinitialized and all your personal files under the “Users” folder will be deleted. What if you haven’t moved user profile to another drive in Windows 10 before reinstallation and lost your files? Don’t worry! Learn how to recover lost files after reinstalling Windows in the next part.

2 easy ways to recover files after reinstalling Windows 10

To recover lost files after reinstalling Windows 10, you may first look for a folder named Windows.old in your C drive. If it exists, your personal files will be located under C:\Windows.old\Users\Username. You can copy the files you need into the correct folders on your PC.

If you don’t get the Windows.old folder, you can try the two methods offered below. Method 1 is based on a backup you created before. If you forgot to make a backup, method 2 is at your hand.

Method 1: recover files with a backup

If you know what to backup before reinstalling Windows 10 and have made a backup with File History, you can follow the guidance below to recover lost files:

1. Tap the Search button on the taskbar and type “file history” in the search box. Select Restore your files with File History from the search results.

2. In the pop-up window, choose what you want to restore by clicking your way through the libraries, folders, and files until you spot the item or items you’d like to restore.

3. Move forward or backward in time to find the version you’d like to restore.

4. Click the Restore button to restore your desired version.

Restore Files with File History

Note: If Windows notices a naming conflict with the item you’re trying to restore, you should choose how to handle the conflict—Replace the File in the Destination Folder, Skip This File, or Compare Info for Both Files.

5. Close File History.

Method 2: recover data without a backup

If you haven’t made a backup before Windows reinstallation, you can turn to a specialized data recovery tool—Recoverit Pro. It enables you to recover all kinds of lost files from your computer, including videos, pictures, documents, audio files, emails, etc. Learn how to recover data after reinstalling Windows 10 as follows:

1. Install and run Recoverit. Select the “Deleted Files Recovery” mode to start.

Select Recovery Mode

2. Select a location where you lost your data and click “Start” to scan for the data.

Select a Disk

3. Wait for the scanning process to be done. Tick the files you want to retrieve and click “Recover”. It is recommended not to save the files into the hard drive where you lost your data.

Recover Deleted Files

Tips: If you cannot find your lost files, you can click “All-Around Recovery” on the left-bottom from the screen to do a deep scan, which will consume additional time.

All-around data protection for Windows 10/8/7

As you can see, data recovery will be much easier if you have made a backup. With a backup at hand, you won’t need to struggle your way to look for lost files because you know very well where to get back all your files. Here I’d like to recommend the best free backup software—AOMEI Backupper Standard to you.

  • It offers you four types of backup: System/Disk/Partition/Files Backup, which can meet your different needs.
  • With the Schedule feature, you can set your backup tasks to run daily/weekly/monthly.
  • You are allowed to do incremental and differential backups to improve the backup efficiency.
  • All Windows PC operating systems like Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP are supported.

Just download this freeware to have a try. After you click “Backup” on the left-hand panel, you’ll see all the backup types available. Choose one based on your needs, and then follow the wizard to perform a backup. All you need to do are a few clicks!

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

AOMEI Backupper Backup

Verdict

Now you know how to recover files after reinstalling Windows 10 with/without a backup. You can also recover files after factory reset Windows 8 via the same methods. To conduct all-around data protection for Windows 10/8/7, you can use AOMEI Backupper which provides you with comprehensive backup options! You may use it as an alternative when Windows backup freezes at 97%. Try it out right now!