6 Proven Ways to Recover Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 10

Last Updated Date: 4, Dec 2023

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you accidentally deleted an important file on your Windows 10 computer, or after a sudden power failure you can’t find your files? Well, even the most experienced users encounter this. It’s a common occurrence on Windows 10. 

In some cases, you might permanently delete data without knowing it, especially if you’ve used the “Delete” button while holding down the Shift key, bypassing the recycle bin and making the data harder to retrieve. But don’t despair! This article provides several effective methods to help you recover your lost deleted files on Windows 10.

Causes for permanent file loss

In some cases, you may have deleted the file by mistake (of course this is often the main reason), and perhaps for other scenarios, the following reasons usually cause the file to be permanently deleted.

  • Virus software or any malware causes file corruption and loss
  • The partition was formatted (or by mistake)
  • The computer suddenly lost power
  • Hard disk drive failure

No matter what the cause leads to the file being permanently lost, there are always ways to handle this kind of situation.

Before We Start

It’s important to remember that when a file is deleted, it is not completely erased right away. The pointer to the file is removed, but the file still exists in its original location. This frees up memory for other files. If you need to recover permanently deleted files on Windows 10, it’s crucial to act quickly and retrieve them before they’re overwritten. To do this, it’s best to avoid using your computer, close unnecessary applications, and refrain from writing or reading data. Make sure you check the recycle bin first to see if any deleted files are there. And if you haven’t found them, you may begin to follow the steps.

Restore Deleted Files from System Restore Point

A useful tool in the Windows 10 operating system is “System Restore”, which allows for convenient data backup and recovery. It takes an automatic snapshot of the system to reverse any undesired modifications, restoring the computer to an earlier point in time of your choosing, so that you may have a chance to get your files back.

Step 1: Open the start menu

start menu in wondows 10
image source: GCFGlobal

Step 2: Type create a restore point and press Enter

Step 3: Click System Restore

image source: AOMEI Backupper

Step 4: Click Next after you choose a time point to restore

Step 5: Confirm and click Finish

Step 6: Wait for the Computer to shut down and start again.

This method may only apply to the situation where some system files are lost or permanently deleted.

Restore Deleted Files from System Restore Point

Restore Deleted Files Using File History (Backup)

To assist you in recovering deleted items, Windows 10 provides a built-in backup and restoration tool called File History. Your files are sometimes automatically backed up. If you discover that the file has been backed up (Go back to the desktop, press the Windows logo key and the F key, and search all disks for .gho files, if there are any, it means your computer has a backup), you can retrieve it as follows:

Step 1: Open the taskbar, and type restore files in the search box.

image source: Microsoft Support

Step 2: Select Restore your files with File History.

Step 3: Find the version of the file you want to recover.

Step 4: Select restore to save it in the original location after finding the version you want (if you want to save it to a new location, right-click restore, select restore to, and then select a new location).

Restore Deleted Files Using Command(CMD) Prompt

The ATTRIB command is commonly used to recover some permanently deleted files, which is one of the most effective methods. Or you can use the ATTRIB command to display hidden files in a partition. By giving commands to the Command Prompt box, the program will execute it in progress. There are several commands that can be used to recover deleted files. As follows.

the ATTRIB command prompt
image source: Wikipedia

Make sure you run this progress as an administrator.

Step 1: Type CMD or Command Prompt in the search box on the taskbar and click Run as an administrator (the Command Prompt window will pop up).

Restore Deleted Files Using Command(CMD) Prompt

Step 2:Type chkdsk  E : /f and press Enter (E represents the driver letters where the lost files are located). Wait for the command to complete (If you’re prompted to comfirm, press Y).

Step 3: TYPE attrib -h -r -s /s /d E:*.* And press Enter (change E with your actual drive letter. This command will instruct recovery right away).

Restore Deleted Files Using Command(CMD) Prompt

When this process is complete, a new folder will be created on the drive (for storing all recovered files in. CHK format). You can change the format of these files, or you can save them to a new location you want.

Restore Deleted Files Using Windows File Recovery

If none of the above methods work, you can also use Windows File Recovery, which you can download from the Windows store, but of course, some computers already have it pre-installed. This program can recover lost files that have been deleted from storage devices such as HDD, SD card, and USB devices, and it also makes it possible to retrieve lost files from the Recycle Bin. Whether it’s photos, documents, videos, or anything else, Windows File Recovery can help you recover. Unfortunately, network drive file recovery is not supported. The drawback is that the interface is not intuitive. Not everyone is comfortable with using commands. 

Tip: This app requires Windows 10 build 19041 or later (See which version of Windows 10 you have).

Step 1: Download and launch the app (Some Computers may already have this software pre-installed)

windows file recovery tool
image source: HelpMeGeek

Step 2: Press the Windows key, in the search box, type Windows File Recovery, and click it.

Step 3: Select YES after the following prompt window appeared.

Step 4: Type winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches] after the Command Prompt window pop up (there are two modes, check below).

Step 5:Press Y to start when you are prompted for confirming to continue. If you want to stop, then press Ctrl+C.

Restore Deleted Files Using Windows File Recovery

You can also click the video link below to comprehensively understand how to use WinFR and how to restore deleted file with it.

Windows File Recovery uses two modes to retrieve deleted files.

  • Regular: This mode looks for files on the volume’s master file table (MFT). This mode is best employed when you have just removed a file because the file data is more likely to remain intact in the file system. This is generally for unaffected NTFS drives
  • Extensive: This mode offers comprehensive recovery possibilities for all file systems.

Restore Deleted Files from a System Image 

This method means restoring the entire system to the previous one. This option can be used if the hard disk or computer has permanently lost some important system files. However, it will not recover individual files.

Step 1: Open the Start menu, type settings, and press Enter 

Step 2: Select Update & Security, on the bottom right corner, select Recovery

Step 3: Click  Restart now under Advanced Startup after you had your work saved.

Restart now under Advanced Startup
image source: gHacks

Step 4: Click Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > See more recovery option > System Image Recovery.

Restore Deleted Files from a System Image 

Step 5: Choose a System Image backup file and press Next.

Step 6: Choose additional restore options and press Next.

Step 7: Review details and click Finish to begin.

Restore Deleted Files using third-party recovery software

Third-party data recovery software applications can recover permanently deleted files that are no longer visible on Windows 10 operating system. For many users, it’s more convenient, effective, and simple. 

There are many alternatives, for example, ONERECOVERY, the best data recovery application with advanced technology and algorithms, which guarantees you a 95% successful recovery rate. It allows you to download and preview files for free. Through these steps below, all problems get solved.

Restore Deleted Files using third-party recovery software

Step 1: Select a Location to Start (where your files are lost).

Step 2: Scan Your Computer or Device (the filter will help you locate files easily).

Step 3: Preview and Recover Lost Data (preview specific recovered files before recovery, you can choose to recover what you want).


Losing or accidentally deleting files can be daunting, but don’t worry, Microsoft’s system offers 6 ways to recover them. Additionally, you can use third-party software like ONERECOVERY, which is a fantastic option to retrieve lost files. If you want to get more information about Windows, you can visit Windows Twitter to get them.

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