How to Recover Previously Deleted Files in Windows

This tutorial will guide you through the process to recover files that you may have accidentally deleted from your Windows computer, using completely free software.

  1. Get started by downloading Restoration 2.5.14. Even though it hasn’t been updated in a long time, Restoration works in all modern versions of Windows, including Windows 10. When you run the file it will ask you to extract its contents to C:\Restoration, which is as good a place as any. With that said, you can extract the contents anywhere you want, just remember where.

    Navigate to that folder and double-click Restoration.exe. NOTE: if you’re using Windows 7, 8 or 10, right-click on the Restoration.exe file and select Run as administrator

  2. a windows file explorer window

  3. Select the drive you want to scan (the default is C:) from the Drives drop down list. Then, click the Search Deleted Files button.
  4. the Restoration app main window with the search deleted files button highlighted
    click to enlarge

  5. Sit back and watch as Restoration searches for files that have been previously deleted. Depending on the size and speed of your drive, how many files you’ve stored and deleted, it can take up to a minute to complete the scan.
  6. Restoration app recovering lost files in Windows
    click to enlarge

  7. And then you’ll be presented with a list of files that you can recover. On my 200GB C: drive, that I haven’t wiped clean in a couple of years, I was able to find 11,721 files that could be recovered.

    Side Note: that’s a LOT of files to be able to restore. This is another example of why you should use the Eraser utility to securely delete files.

  8. list of files in Windows that Restoration can recover
    click to enlarge

  9. Use the search box to narrow down the files you want to restore. In the example screenshot below there were 2 Firefox cookie files, and one IE cookie file that I could have restored.
  10. Using the Restoration search feature to recover a specific file in Windows
    click to enlarge

  11. You can also search for files by type – for example – enter in .txt, click Search Deleted Files, and all of the recoverable text files will be listed.
  12. searching by type in the Restoration app
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  13. To restore a file, select it by clicking on it once, then click the Restore by Copying button.
  14. copying a file
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  15. You’ll be prompted to choose a location to save that (recovered) file to. Click Save when you’re done.
  16. saving a recovered file
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  17. If you opted to save the file on the save drive that it was recovered from, Restoration will ask if you’d rather save it on another drive. Click Yes to save the file anyway (without changing the location) or No, to change the save location. Repeat as needed until all of the files you need to recover are restored.
  18. choosing the location to save a file
    click to enlarge


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