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How do I recover my lost file in Windows?

Losing files from your PC or laptop can be stressful, but luckily, there are quite a few methods you can try to get them back.

Tip 1 - Check Your Recycle Bin Folder

Windows Support: I Lost My Files - How Do I Get Them Back?

Sometimes you can be deleting your files but not actually removing them from your device - In this case, it is wise to check your recycle bin and restore the file from there, this mistake is widespread as people believe that deleting your files removes them, but it is the action of permanently deleting them that

will wipe them off your PC or laptop completely.

Tip 2 - Restore Previous Versions

If you know the folder location where the previously deleted file was held, right-click on this and select "Restore Previous Versions", this can sometimes be a good tool if you use restore points or backups. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be ineffective.

Windows Support: I Lost My Files - How Do I Get Them Back?

If you remember the date you may have accidentally deleted the file/s, choose the date closest to that date and restore that version, this can help you convert lost files in a particular file location.

Tip 3 - Use A Third Party Recovery Tool

If neither of those steps worked, it is probably best to use a third-party tool, such as Stellar Recovery or Recuva. These programs search all of the drives embedded onto your PC to find any lost files or files that have been lost through device crashes, version updates or anything else you can think of.

Windows Support: I Lost My Files - How Do I Get Them Back?

If you know the folder where the file was before it was lost, you will search for specific files in these programs. If and when your files have been found, it is best to restore them to a different drive; this doesn't have to be a hard drive; you can use something like a USB stick if there is enough space. The reason for this is to maximise the chances of a full recovery, as sometimes the files can turn out to be partially or even thoroughly corrupted.

Top Tips For File Recovery:

  • Always utilise the backup and file history tools built into your Windows device.

  • Install a third-party recovery software, e.g. Recuva or Stella Recovery; these are usually free and can scan your entire device's hard drive.

  • Act early: The longer you take to try and recover, the higher chance you have of losing your files due to them being overwritten by new files.

  • If you accidentally delete files, check your recycle bin and don't save or download any new files moving forward, to minimise the chances of your lost files being overwritten.



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