How Can You Recover Deleted Files Easily – This Tells All

File deletion is used frequently to release free space on the target device. However, people tend to make mistakes during file deletion – they may delete useful files accidentally. On this occasion, how to recover deleted files becomes the thing that people care the most about.

In the following content of this article, we'll show you how to recover deleted data on different platforms, in different situations, from different storage devices and how to recover different types of files. Among them, both the built-in functions and a third-party data recovery tool (MiniTool Power Data Recovery) will be involved. You can download a free edition now to have a look.

Chapter 1 - Why Deleted Files Can Be Recovered

Yes, recovering deleted files becomes necessary when you can't find the files you need. But before you start to restore deleted files, we'd like to tell you why you're able to recover your deleted files.

In general, after a file was deleted, it is not moved out from your storage device immediately. On the contrary, it still exists, but marked with a deletion tag, so the operating system will not access it; meanwhile, it's waiting to be overwritten by new data. As a consequence, you should find powerful deleted file recovery tool at once to retrieve deleted files before they got overwritten (data overwriting will lead to permanent data loss).

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The methods for retrieving deleted files are a little bit different under different circumstances. Considering this, we decide to tell you how to recover deleted files/folder on PC/other devices respectively. In the following content, we'll classify file deletion cases by different conditions to give you the specific guides. You should choose the most similar situation to read and learn how to recover deleted items carefully.

Warning: before embarking on deleted files recovery, you must remember to stop using (especially stop writing new data to) the device on which deleted files are located.

Chapter 2 - How to Recover Deleted Files on Windows/Mac

Undeniably, Windows and Mac are the two most popular mainstream platforms, so we found a lot of people asking how to recover deleted files on Windows or on Mac. Here, we are going to show you how to recover deleted data in detail.

Recover Deleted Files in Windows 7/8/10

The methods and steps to recover deleted files in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and even Windows XP are basically the same, so we'll take Win 8 as an example.

Situation 1 – get back files from recycle bin.
That is to say, you need to check the recycle bin at first because sometimes, the deleted files are only moved to recycle bin, not marked with deletion tag yet. Checking recycle bin is often a great way to recover accidentally deleted files and recently deleted files. If you are lucky enough to find the deleted files in recycle bin, you should start to recover deleted files from recycle bin immediately.

solution 1 How to recover deleted files from recycle bin without software (here, we take how to recover recently deleted photos as an example):

  • Double click on Recycle Bin icon on the desktop to open it (or right-click on the icon and choose "Open").
  • Locate the photos you need (check each photo one by one or use recycle bin search tool to find an exact file by filename).
  • Select the photo(s) you want to recover and then drag it (them) out of recycle bin to desktop or other locations (or you can right-click on the photo and choose "Restore" to put it back to its original place).

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Now you can go to see the recovered photos.

Situation 2 – recover shift deleted files.
But, the question is – what if the files are deleted permanently (using shift + delete) or have been deleted/emptied from recycle bin? You must be eager to know how to recover deleted files from recycle bin after empty or how to recover permanently deleted files in Windows? There are actually two solutions available.

solution 2 Recover files deleted from recycle bin with backup: if you have kept File Recovery function in Windows 8/Windows 10 (or Backup and Restore function in Windows 7/XP) enabled before the files are shift deleted or cleared from recycle bin, you can rely on the backup function to find back the files. Of course, if you have made backups regularly with other back software, you can rely on that software to restore deleted data easily.

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Here's how to recover lost or deleted files in Windows 7 with the help of the previous version.

solution 3 Recover permanently deleted files with the best deleted file recovery software:

1. Download the free edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery or obtain an advanced edition. You can click here to see the comparison between different editions.

2. Save the setup program and double click on it to install the software to your computer/a movable disk, but remember not to install it to the drive with deleted files. (We'll take the Personal Edition as an example)

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3. Run the software and copy & paste the license you have to the text box; then, click on "Register" button and choose "OK" to see the main window of software, in which you'll see 5 different modules.
4. You are suggested to click on "Undelete Recovery" in the main window, which is specially designed for deleted file recovery. Then, select the drive including deleted files and press "Scan" button in the following interface.

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5. Wait for the scan. The time required for scan depends on many factors, like how long you have deleted the files and the capacity of the drive that holds the deleted files. So the scan process may last for a few minutes or up to few hours.
6. Browse the found files at the end of the scan and decide which ones to recover; check the needed ones and then click on "Save" button in the lower right corner to select a directory to save files. Please be sure that the drive you select is not the one, which saves the deleted files previously, and make sure that the free space of selected drive is large enough for storing the recovered files.

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Recover Deleted Mac Files

In this part, we'll mainly focus on Mac deleted file recovery.

Situation 1 – recover deleted files from trash Mac.
Of course, the first thing to do after deleting a file mistakenly on Mac is checking the trash. If it is saved at this place, you can put it back easily within a few clicks.

solution 1 How to recover deleted files on Mac without software (we'll take how to recover deleted pictures on Mac as an example):

  • Double click on the Trash icon in the Dock to open it (or right click on the icon and choose "Open").
  • Look through the files here carefully and select the ones you want to recover to make them highlighted.
  • Drag the files out to desktop or anywhere you want (or right click on the highlighted area and choose "Put Back" to recover them to original place).

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Situation 2 – recover files deleted from trash Mac.
Some Mac users face the same problem as Windows users – the files are deleted or emptied from Mac trash. At this time, they should try the following two solutions to recover permanently deleted files from Mac.

solution 2 Restore deleted files on Mac with Time Machine:

Likewise, if you kept Time Machine turning on when you deleted files permanently from Mac, you can open it; then, finish Mac deleted files recovery with Time Machine Quickly easily. Besides, you can also rely on the backups that you have made by using the third-party backup software.

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solution 3 How to recover deleted files on Mac with free software:

1. Acquire an advanced edition of MiniTool Mac Data Recovery or download the free edition to experience first if you doubt its performance, and then decide to get a license or not.

2. Save the program to your Mac OS, and then run it to start Mac file recovery immediately. (We'll take the Free Edition as an example in the following content)
3. Choose "Undelete Recovery" from the main interface. (You must notice that the free deleted file recovery software for Mac has a 1MB restoration limit. Even the size of a single file could exceed this, so we advise you to get an advanced edition)
Note: to recover deleted photos/pictures on Mac, you can also choose "Digital Media Recovery" in this step.

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4. Select the drive that contains your deleted files on Mac and then press "Scan" to detect files.

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Note: if the partition you select in this step is an HFS+ partition, you'll receive a prompt saying that you need to turn to "Damaged Partition Recovery" and use "Full Scan".

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5. Check the ones you need from the found files at the end of the scan. Then, click on the "Save" button to set a storage path for the checked files and click on "OK" to confirm.

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Chapter 3 - How to Recover Deleted Files from Different Devices

Internal hard drive, external hard drive, memory card and flash drive/thumb drive are the mainstream storage devices you can find easily on the current market. The ways to recover files deleted from different places are a little bit different. Now, we'll show them to you.

Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive

Files deleted from the external hard drive will be sent to recycle bin first unless you delete them by pressing "Shift" + "Delete" at the same time. Therefore, you are also advised to check the recycle bin before it is emptied in order to recover deleted files from hard drive. Here, we'll mainly focus on recovering deleted data from external hard drive with data recovery tool in Windows 8.

Note: To know how to recover deleted files from the hard drive built-in computer, you should refer to chapter 2, situation 2 under "Recover Deleted Files in Windows 7/8/10".

solution 1 Recover data deleted from external hard drive:

1. Download MiniTool Power Data Recovery, install it on your computer and then connect your external hard drive to this computer.
2. Run the software and choose "Undelete Recovery" module by clicking on it the main interface.
3. Take a look at the partition list shown in the picture below. Then, select the one that represents your external hard drive and press "Scan" to search for deleted data.

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4. When the scan finished, you will see a software interface provided with a lot of found files. At this time, the right thing to do is browsing those files and pick out which ones are needed and which ones are not.
5. Check all the files you would like to recover by adding a check mark in front of them. Then, click on "Save" button to choose a destination for the files waiting to be recovered and click on "OK" to confirm your selection.
Note 1:

If you can't find all the data you need by looking at the scan result, you may as well go back to the main interface and choose "Damaged Partition Recovery" (which is also suitable for dead external hard drive recovery) to do another round of scan.

Note 2:

If you find the free software refuse to recover deleted files for you, you may have reached the limit (the free edition has a 1GB recovery limit). On this occasion, you have 2 choices:
a). click on "Export Scan Result" to save the "*.rss" file to a local drive and then, upgrade the software to an advanced edition and click "Load manually saved scan result" in the partition list interface.
b). upgrade the software to an advanced edition directly and then scan the drive again to recover data.

Recover Deleted Files from Flash Drive/Thumb Drive/Memory Card

Unlike the hard drive, if files are deleted from a flash drive, thumb drive or memory card, they'll disappear right away, instead of being put into recycle bin temporarily. Under this circumstance, you have no choice but to resort to the third-party program to recover deleted files.

solution 2 How to recover deleted data from flash drive (on Windows computer):

1. Of course, you need to download & install the free edition or the advanced edition. Then, take out your memory card like SD card from your electronic products, insert it into a card reader and connect the card reader to the USB interface on your computer.
Note: if you need to recover recently deleted apps or files on Android devices like Android phone, you should finish all those operations; but if you need to recover deleted files from thumb drive like USB flash drive, you just need to connect the drive to computer directly.
2. Choose "Undelete Recovery" from the main interface if you're pretty sure that your device is fine, only some files are lost (as for how to recover deleted files from Android phone, you should refer to this). Or choose "Damaged Partition Recovery" instead, if you need to recover files from a formatted SD card.
3. In the interface shown below, you can easily see the "Select the drive you like to recover" prompt. Now, you should do what the prompt says and then click on "Scan" button to start looking for the files.

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Note: if you can't find your USB device in this interface, you may click on "Refresh" button to have a try. If it still doesn't appear, you are advised to read USB Flash Drive Not Recognized – Don't Worry Too Much to know the exact reasons and solutions.
1. The scan will be started immediately after you clicked "Scan" and it will last for a few minutes to even several hours, depending on your device state. (You can choose to cancel the scan and take a look at the files found till now)
2. Browse the found files and folders carefully in order to select the part you want to recover. Then, press "Scan" button in the lower right corner to see the following pop-up window, in which you're required to select a directory to save files. (Please don't choose the original USB device as the destination)

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This is the whole process of how to recover deleted files from memory card like SD card with free software. If you are interested in knowing more about how to recover deleted files from USB, you should read this.

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Chapter 4 - How to Recover Deleted Documents/Emails/Multimedia Data

In this era of diversification of information, everyone has access to a wide variety of data, such as photos, pictures, videos, emails and documents. Each kind of those files plays an important role in information storage and delivery.

So, when some files that are very meaningful to you are deleted, you must be freaked out. But, please don't be since we'll tell you how to recover deleted videos, how to retrieve deleted emails and how to recover deleted pictures from computer hard drive in a Windows system.

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Recover Deleted Videos or Other Multimedia Data from Computer

1. The first step is also the same: you should choose an edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery to get. Reading the license type comparison can help you choose a most suitable one. Make sure you get the right license and then run the setup program to finish registration.
2. Confirm the drive in which deleted data are contained and decide the place where you want to save the recovered data. (Connect a removable disk to your computer if necessary)
3. As we said before, you can choose "Undelete Recovery" for deleted data recovery. But when the data you want to recover are mainly multimedia data like pictures, photos, videos and music, "Digital Media Recovery" is also a good choice.

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4. When you see the following interface, the first thing you should do is selecting the drive that includes your data waiting to be recovered. Then, you'd better click on "Settings" button in the lower left area to set extra search for known file types.

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Here, you can check all types of "Document", "Graphics & Picture", "Audio & Video" and "E-mail"; you can also click on the "+" symbol to unfold them and check the exact types you need.

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1. Click on the "Full Scan" button in the lower right area and then wait for the scan.
2. Once the scan is finished, the following interface will appear automatically. At this time, please browse all the found files carefully so that you can select the exact ones you need by looking at its filename, file size and creation/modification time. As for pictures, photos and txt files, you can also click on "Preview" button to see the content clearly.

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3. After you have checked all the files you want to recover, you ought to click on "Save" button in the lower right area. Then, a prompt window will pop up to ask you to select a storage path for the files you have checked; you should choose the removable disk you have connected to the computer in the second step or choose a local drive, and then click "OK" to confirm.

Now, you only need to wait for the completion of the recovery. When all the videos/pictures/photos/documents/emails have been saved to the place you selected in the last step, you'll see a successful prompt window.

Chapter 5 - Conclusion

You have to admit that the accidental deletion and malicious deletion by virus attack, spyware or other people are unable to be avoided completely. Therefore, you must be vigilant anytime, anywhere and you'd better prepare some useful solutions in advance so that you can deal with the problem as quickly as possible when you discover it.

The methods we provide in this article have helped a large number of users to recover deleted files in different situations. More importantly, they will not bring any secondary damages. So you can choose the most proper one or try different ones to recover your deleted data effectively.

Note: as for the files that have already been overwritten, no software or agencies can help you get them back; that is to say, they're gone forever. This also explains why stopping using the device immediately when file loss is detected becomes so important.