Recovering Deleted Files on Windows 7

Category: Windows-7

Sooner or later, everyone deletes a file which they wish to recover. Recovering deleted files on Windows 7 systems is often possible, but it requires a gentle touch and a bit of luck. Here are some things try when you want to recover a deleted file...

Recover Deleted Files Windows 7

How To Recover Deleted Files

"Wait... I didn't mean to delete that file!" It happens to everyone... a stray mouse click or fumbling fingers, and the document or spreadsheet you just spent hours creating is gone. Or maybe not.

First, look in the Recycle Bin. When you "delete" a file, it is moved to the Recycle Bin and not erased permanently. Double-click on the Recycle Bin icon to open a window that displays the Bin's contents. Click on the item you want to recover to highlight it and then click "Restore this item" on the menu bar. The file will be restored to its previous location. When no items are selected you will see the menu option to "restore all files." This trick will not work if you have recently emptied the Recycle Bin.

If you made a backup copy of all your data before deleting a file, the file may be recovered from the backup. Use the Restore function of your backup program to locate and restore a specific file. If you used Windows 7 Backup and Restore, here is the procedure for restoring a file from backup:

  • Click the Start button, then Control Panel, then System and Maintenance, and finally Backup and Restore.
  • Click "Restore my files" and follow the steps provided in the wizard to specify which file(s) to restore.

More File Recovery Tools

The System Restore function of Windows 7 provides another way to recover a deleted file. The nice part is that you may be able to recover versions of a file that you did not back up. That's because Windows automatically creates System Restore Points during certain major operations, such as installing new software. The Restore Points are essentially backup copies of files, folders, and settings. Here is how to restore a file from a System Restore Point:

  • Click the Start button, then click Computer to display the drives on your machine.
  • Click on a drive and navigate its folder tree to the folder that contained the deleted file.
  • Right-click on the folder and select "restore previous version" from the drop-down menu.
  • Select the most recent Restore Point (or Windows Backup) file and click "Restore."

Note that you must be in the folder where the desired file was actually stored, not in a Library folder. Libraries are not actual folders on your hard drive but simply indexes of files and the folders in which they are actually stored.

If these methods fail, you may still be able to recover a deleted file using a free third-party data recovery program such as Recuva or FreeUndelete. Such programs can recover files that have been emptied from the Recycle Bin (or deleted in such a way that the Recycle Bin was not involved), but only as long as the disk space occupied by the file has not been overwritten.

That's where a bit of luck and the gentle touch come into play. The longer you wait before attempting to recover a deleted file, the less your chances of getting it back in one piece. That's because the space occupied by deleted files is marked as available, and can be overwritten when you create or save a new file, download from the Internet, or by various operating system functions.

Do you have experience with recovering deleted files? Post your comment or question below...

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This article was posted by on 23 Mar 2011

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Most recent comments on "Recovering Deleted Files on Windows 7"

Posted by:

John Carpenter
24 Mar 2011

For some time now I have been using Oops!Backup to backup up all my important files hourly. It’s then very easy (a) to recover any file deleted in error, or (b) to restore one of a series of earlier versions, such as a photo that I had over-tweaked without keeping the original.

I find that this unobtrusive program offers more scope than relying on features of Windows 7, or of any other OS, come to that.

Posted by:

25 Mar 2011

Bob ... Bob ... Bob !
I use Windows 7 Ultimate and there is no "System and Maintenance" in Control Panel. It's "System and Security".

Posted by:

27 Mar 2011

Thanks for your useful website and e-mail newsletters. Your website is a treasure in today's messy internet. Simple and uncomplicated with a user-friendly environment yet useful and valuable. THANK YOU.

Posted by:

10 Apr 2011

The first thing to do, if you have done nothing after the delete, is to press -z to reverse the previous delete action.

Posted by:

08 Jun 2011

Deleting won't make your files deleted actually. They are just not visible but still in the hard drive which you saved them at. You can rely on some data recovery programs to help you find them back. You can try Card Data Recovery. Just install this program on your computer and use the function "all recovery", after a while your deleted files will be back soon.

Posted by:

a v samikkannu
02 Jul 2011

if one makes use of the SKYDRIVE, a part of the Windows Live to save [i.e. auto save] MSO files one needn't worry about accidental deletion/system shut down/crash; i speak from my personal experience

Posted by:

Dash Wnmiller
23 Nov 2013

Hi, We have dicuss you about one or more different way for recovering of deleted files on Windows 7 (Step by Step. With this you can easily recover all the lost/deleted/damaged files of Outlook without pay any extra charge. View more:

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