There is a misconception that when you delete files, they are completely deleted from the hard drive. The deleted files move to the Recycle Bin and remain in that folder until it is being emptied. If the deleted files are in the Recycle Bin, then you can easily restore them.
When you delete files using “SHIFT + DELETE” command, then the files don’t move to Recycle Bin, but they still exist on the hard drive, just hidden from the operating system. When a file is deleted, only the information that points to the location of the file is deleted and the bits and bytes of the file still remain on the hard disk.
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The operating system uses file allocation table to build the directory which consists of the pointers for every file on the hard disk and when the pointer is deleted, then the file becomes invisible to the OS and the space occupied by the file is ‘’deallocated’’. It implies that the space is available for writing new data. Once the space with no pointers is overwritten, then it’s quite difficult to restore the deleted files. Simply put, the longer the deallocated space remains on the hard disk, the greater the probability of it being overwritten.
It is possible to restore deleted files which are not in the recycle bin either by using Windows utilities or a file recovery software.
Let’s discuss this further:
Method 1: Restore files through Windows Backup
To restore files through Windows Backup, ensure that the backup saved is accessible. Follow these steps to restore your deleted files:
- Open Control Panel and select System and Security < Backup and Restore
- Click Restore my files and follow the necessary steps.
Figure illustrates Backup and Restore files option
Method 2: Restore from Previous versions
Follow the below-mentioned steps to restore deleted files from Previous versions:
- Go to the folder that used to contain the deleted file, right-click it, and then select Restore previous versions
Figure represents Restoring files from previous versions
- From the list of the available previous versions of the file, select the required one and click Restore.
Figure represents selecting previous versions file
Method 3: Restore files with File History
Windows File History lets you recover permanently deleted files. Below are the straightforward steps to restore your files:
- Type Restore your files in the search box and select Restore your files with File History
- Browse through the different versions of files that you’re looking for. Select the required version and hit the Restore
Figure illustrates restoring files with File History
File History is off by default. Ensure that the File History is activated, so that Windows automatically backup your files. Here’s how to activate File History:
- Open Control Panel < Update and Security
- Under Update and Security, select Backup option and then activate File History option
Figure illustrates activating File History
Method 4: Restore deleted files with a file recovery software
One of the best ways to efficiently recover deleted files is to leverage a file recovery software. The market is inundated with lots of software that will assist you in recovering your deleted files. Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery – Home is one such file recovery software that can restore your deleted files which are not in the recycle bin. Apart from that, it supports a myriad of external storage devices and recovers data from inaccessible partitions and corrupt hard drives as well.
Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery – Home is a sure shot solution to recover your deleted files.
Follow these simplified steps to recover your data:
- Run Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery – Home and select the type of the data that you want to recover.
Figure illustrates to select the type of data
- Now, select the location where you want to recover your data from. It could be the folder, internal or external hard drives etc.
Figure illustrates to select the location
- After selecting the location, click Scan to start the scanning process
- You can preview the files while scanning is in progress
Figure illustrates to preview the recoverable files
- After the scan is complete, view and sort the results accordingly
Figure illustrates to view and sort the files
- Select the required files and press Save to save the files to the destination
Figure illustrates saving the files
The Bottom Line
When a file is deleted, then the space it occupies is marked as “available” and is ready to be used to store information. As long as the space is not overwritten, there is a good probability that you can recover your files. You can implement the aforementioned methods and recover your deleted files.
In the absence of a backup system or for some reason, you’re unable to restore the deleted files, you can go with a reliable file recovery software. Here, Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery – Home serves the purpose!