By Jessie / Last update October 13, 2021

The Issue: Files are deleted accidentally in Windows Server 2012 R2

"One file is missing from E drive which is used for user data and on Windows Server 2012 R2. He deleted it and wants it back now. Checked the Recycle Bin and it is not there. Guessing it was deleted from the Recycle Bin or has had been hard delete (Shift Delete). What should we do to recover deleted file from Windows Server 2012 R2? Any advice will be appreciated."

Data loss is a common issue that troubles users a lot. The file may be lost without a reason or just be deleted in an accident. Usually, Word and Excel keep a copy for a short while. Look in the Options, File Locations area to get them back. In general, the files that are deleted can be found in Recycle Bin when it is not too large. So, normally recovery could be completed by clicking restore in the Recycle Bin.

However, what if the deleted files are not in the Recycle Bin after deleting, or were deleted permanently from the Recycle Bin? What should you do to get those files back?

How to recover deleted files from Server

In the first place, it is not suggested to re-write data to that volume or path where you’ve lost files. As mentioned, data loss is troublesome so many users have the awareness of data backup. The very first way that you can use to recover deleted folder or files in Server is the Windows Server Backup images, and the precondition is you’ve imaged Windows Server 2012 in advance.

Recover deleted files from Windows Server Backup image

Step 1. Open Windows Server Backup from the tools menu. In the wbadmin console, select Local Backup.

Step 2. Click Recover in the right pane.

Step 3. Select This server if you’ve stored the backup image on the disk attached to this server. If you’ve stored the backup on a remote drive, you may need to provide the share path.

Step 4. Select the Backup Date, the time when your files are not deleted.

Step 5. On the Select Recovery Type step, check Files and folders.

Step 6. On the Select Items to Recover step, expand the server to select the folder that you want to restore.

Step 7. On the Specify Recovery Options step, choose Original location normally. You can also choose Another location if you have a different plan.

Windows Server Backup Recovery Wizard

Step  8. On the Confirmation step, be sure you’ve chosen the right files. Click Recover then. Wait for the process to be completed. Close the Recovery Wizard after.

It would be quite easy to recover shift deleted files in Windows Server 2012 R2 with the help of backup images. Nevertheless, what if you did not create a backup before the files been deleted? Don’t worry. You can check this solution out.

Recover deleted files with previous versions

In general, Windows Server creates shadow copies for all saved versions. Check if you could recover deleted files from this way.

Step 1. Go to the directory on the Windows Server 2012 R2.

Step 2. Right-click the white space in the Windows Explorer and click Properties.

Step 3. In the pop-up window, select Previous Versions. It should list the shadow copies. See if there is any file you need.

Step 4. Choose the right version and click Restore to start.

Previous Versions

That method is simple as well. By now, you can use those methods to recover deleted files in Windows Server 2008 R2 as well. However, some users report that there is no restore previous versions option in Windows Server 2012 R2, or the shadow copy does not enabled.

Further, some users try to do a system restore to get the files back. If you’re using a domain and server, the system restore will not fix the problem. In that case, it is suggested to recover the deleted files by recovering deleted partition in Server or sending it to professionals.

Quick fix for files deleted accidentally in Windows Server 2012 R2

As you can see how easy it is to recover deleted files with backup images. However, many a user does not remember to create a backup for important files, folders or volumes in advance. That could result from complicated backup steps (you have to add roles and features before you start), the Windows Server Backup service missing without reasons, or Windows Server Backup limitations (like does not work properly with volume greater than 2TB).

A quick fix for files been deleted accidentally is to create regular backup for important files. Finding a powerful file backup tool for Windows Server is quite urgent. AOMEI Backupper Server edition is a reliable backup software designed for Server operating systems.

  • It helps you create backups for important files, folders, partitions, operating systems, or entire disks.
  • It allows you to save the backup on the hard drive as well as to the external hard drive, NAS, network share, etc.
  • It has many useful features, such as, daily/weekly/monthly backup, incremental and differential backup, USB plug in, wake the computer to run scheduled tasks, etc.

With the easy-to-use and user-friendly interface, you can easily backup Windows Server 2012/2016/2019/2022. Get the 30-day free trial and have a try.

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Step by step guide: Backup files in Windows Server 2012 R2

Step 1. Open AOMEI Backupper Server and then click Backup > File Backup. You can also choose to backup Server 2012 system, the whole hard drive, individual partitions as per your needs.

File Backup

Step 2. Click Add File or Add Folder to select the files/folders you want to backup.

Add File Or Folder

Step 3. Select a destination location to store the image file.

Select Backup Destination

Step 4. Click Schedule Backup to set automatic backup. You can do the following schedule settings:

  • Daily/weekly/monthly schedule backup: To continuously backup files in Server 2012, you can enable daily backup, weekly backup or monthly backup.

  • Event triggers: To backup files at a specific event, such as, System Shutdown, can help you avoid interference.

  • USB plug in: To backup files flexibly and take it everywhere, you could prepare a USB flash drive and then create a scheduled backup with this feature. Then, this program will automatically backup your files to USB when connected. 

  • Wake the computer to run scheduled tasks: To backup files during off-peak hours, especially for large files, this feature is very useful. You can create a scheduled backup with this feature, and set the backup time to midnight or any other time, then your computer will be wake up 2 minutes before the task start.

Schedule Settings General

Step 5. Click Backup Scheme to delete file backup regularly. Then, confirm the operation and click Start Backup.

Backup Scheme

Note: When you want to restore deleted files, you can simply click Restore to make it. It supports selective files restore to recover specific files instead of the entire the backup image.


To recover deleted files in Windows Server 2012 R2, you can turn to Windows Server Backup or Previous Versions in File Explorer. However, to protect important files in all-round, it is highly recommended to perform file backup on a regular basis.

Besides, AOMEI Backupper Server can not only backup files but also can backup system, disk or partition. In a word, it’s one comprehensive Server backup software that keeps your data safe all the time.

If you want to protect unlimited PCs and servers within your company, AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus is applicable. It offers unlimited billable technical services to clients. It also enables you to copy installation directory for portable version creation.