When you select a file or folder in Windows 10 then hit “Delete” on your keyboard or right-click and select “Delete” on the menu, the file moves to the Recycle Bin. There, it sits until you empty the Recycle Bin manually. This gives you time to change your time and restore the folder if you want.
Why Restore a Deleted Folder or Lost Files?
Maybe the folder has a file you forgot to move or backup. Or perhaps the folder was accidentally deleted and you wish to restore it before you move to permanently delete it. However, you can end up deleting a folder permanently by using the shortcut, “Shift + Delete”.
Is there a way to recover permanently deleted files that don’t end up in the Recycle Bin? How about folders you’ve deleted from the Recycle Bin? Yes, there are ways around that. Such solutions are outlined in the later sections.
Method 1: Recycle Bin
You can retrieve the folder or even individual files from the Recycle Bin. The bin exists to keep you from accidentally permanently delete files like in earlier Windows versions.
Step 1: Right-click the Recycle Bin icon and select “Open” from the menu to view its deleted files. You can also open it by simply selecting it and pressing “Enter” or double-clicking its icon.
Step 2: After opening the Recycle Bin, select the folder you wish to restore. Files and folders that end up in the Recycle Bin can still be restored without incident.
Step 3: You can right-click the folder and then select “Restore”. This recovers the folder and puts it back to its original location on Windows 10.
Method 2: Third-Party Software
If you end up deleting the folder for real even on the Recycle Bin, you can still restore it using third-party software.
Step 1: Download free file restoration programs like Disk Drill. This particular software is known for its user-friendly user interface and functionality.
Step 2: Select your hard disk and right-click to bring up the shortcut menu. From there, select “Search for Lost Data”.
Step 3: Let the program scan through your lost files and folders you’ve permanently deleted, which are separated by file types (Pictures, Videos, Audios, Documents, and Applications). Click on the “Review Found Items” on the upper-right corner.
Step 4: On the new Window, select the folder type you wish to peruse. Let’s say you lost a video folder, so click on the video folder.
Step 5: Click on “Existing Files” and peruse your recently emptied “Recycle Bin” and see if you can retrieve folders or files through there. Or you can click on “Found Files” and retrieve any lost folders and files from there.
Step 6: Wait a little longer and you’ll get even more restoration options, such as “Found Files“, “Reconstructed“, or “Reconstructed Labeled“.
Step 7: Once you find your folder or files, add the deleted folder to the recovery queue using the checkbox then click “Restore” and specify its recovery location. However, some files might end up as fragments or unrecoverable when all is said and done.
Method 3: Use the Restore Previous Versions Feature
If you’ve saved the folder you deleted through a previous version or checkpoint, you can retrieve it that way. To activate this feature, first do the following.
Step 1: Go to the search bar on the taskbar and type “System Protection.” Afterwards, click on the “Create a Restore Point” option there.
Step 2: On the new window, select the option, “Create a Restore Point…” Remember, do this before a folder is deleted instead of afterwards, or else you won’t be able to retrieve the folder! This serves as a kind of backup system.
You can also use this restore point if you’re having Windows startup problems.
Step 3: Give your Restore Point a name so that it’s easy to differentiate it from any future restore points you might create.
Step 4: Go to the folder where your lost folder belongs to then right-click on it. In this case, it’s the Document folder. Select “Restore Previous Versions” on the resulting menu.
Step 5: Now choose the Restore Point you’ve previously established in order to restore the deleted folder you’ve previously lost. Every Restore Point makes backups of the previous versions of your files and folders.
Step 6: You now have the folder you’ve accidentally deleted on both Windows and Recycle Bin retrieved. However, this only works if you’ve backed up such a folder
It’s easy to accidentally delete the wrong folder. Even the Recycle Bin isn’t enough to save a folder you’ve deleted, especially if you were to make the same mistake twice and delete the folder on your Recycle Bin.
Thankfully, you can use other means of folder restoration to recover such items. However, it’s harder to retrieve permanently deleted data compared to restoring folders and files from the Recycle Bin.
- Robert Agar, “7 Ways to Recover Permanently Deleted Files in Windows 10“, CleverFiles.com, January 13, 2022
- David Morelo, “How to Recover Permanently Deleted Folders on Windows 10“, HandyRecovery.com, January 26, 2022