How Do I Recover Permanently Deleted Files from My PC

How Do I Recover Permanently Deleted Files from My PC?


Can I recover permanently deleted files?

How Do I Recover Permanently Deleted Files from My PC

When we accidentally delete a file on our PC, our first instinct is to want to restore it. But we don’t know whether it is possible to recover permanently deleted files on Windows. Here I want to tell you: yes, you can.

When the user empties the recycle bin every time, although the deleted file cannot be found in Windows, the data of the file is not completely deleted from the computer. Because a copy of it still exists on the hard drive, it doesn’t disappear completely until new data overwrites its path.

So, you can recover recycle bin files before new data overwrites them.

How do I recover permanently deleted files from my PC?

If you’re looking for the most reliable file recovery method, you’ll definitely want to be patient. This section introduces some safe and effective file recovery methods, including Windows built-in tools and third-party software. Each is tested and you can choose the one that works best for you.

Solution 1. Using Windows File Recovery to recover deleted files

We can retrieve lost files using Windows File Recovery, a command-line data recovery program officially released by Microsoft. The advantage is high security, and the disadvantage is that command-line programs are not easy to use for ordinary users.

You can follow the steps below to learn how do I recover permanently deleted files from my PC with Windows File Recovery step by step.

Step 1. Install Windows File Recovery in the Microsoft Store.

Step 2. Figure out the file system of the disk where the deleted file is located.

Step 3. Open the Windows File Recovery. Then, type in:

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

Source-drive: The location where the file is located.

Destination-drive: The location where the files are restored.

[/mode]: Choose the mode according to the actual situation.

File system Circumstances mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted a while ago Extensive
NTFS After formatting a disk Extensive
NTFS A corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

[/switches]: Select the corresponding switch to narrow the scan range.

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

As you can see, as a command-line program that lacks a GUI, Windows File Recovery is not suitable for users without computer experience. Once the wrong command is entered, the lost files cannot be recovered successfully.

To avoid this problem, I recommend you to use WinfrGUI.  It is a free data recovery software for windows 10 and 11, it fully invokes the functions of Windows File Recovery, but provides a graphical interface. Users can recover lost files with just a few mouse clicks. It has the following advantages:

  • Recover media files/office files/ZIP files, etc., including JPEG//PDF/DOCX/MP3/EXCEL/ZIP, etc.
  • Recover lost Windows files from SSD/HDD/USB/SD card in Windows 10 2004 and above.
  • It’s completely free and doesn’t carry any bundled software during installation

Step 1.Select the partition where the deleted file is located and select the path to restoring the file.

Using Windows File Recovery to recover deleted files 1

Step 2.  Select Scanning Method. Select the scanning method according to the file system and data loss scenario. Advanced settings are available if desired.

Using Windows File Recovery to recover deleted files 2

Step 3. Click “Start Recovery”.

Using Windows File Recovery to recover deleted files 3

Solution 2. Recover deleted files from Previous Version

If you created a backup restore point of the drive before the files were deleted, you can revert to Previous Versions to get back the lost files.

Step 1. Find the folder where the deleted file is located, right-click and select “Restore Previous Version”.

Step 2. In this list you will see previous versions of the folder. Select the version you want by date or click Open to view it to make sure it’s the version you want.

Step 3. Click “Recover” to recover the folder.

Recover deleted files from Previous Version

Solution 3. Recover deleted files with File History

Besides reverting to the previous version, you can also try the File History feature. But this feature also requires you to turn it on before the file is lost, otherwise it cannot be used.

Step 1. Open “Control Panel” and click “System and Security”.

Step 2. Find “File History” in the list and open it.

Step 3. Next, click    on “Restore Personal files” in the upper left corner.

Step 4. Here you can see the deleted files, find the target file and click the “restore” button below.

Recover deleted files with File History


How do I recover permanently deleted files from my PC? I believe you already have the answer. Although Method 2 and Method 3 can help you retrieve lost files, their logic is to retrieve deleted files through backup. If you don’t make a backup ahead of time, you won’t be able to use these features. But WinfrGUI is more powerful and supports you to restore files without backup.

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