Digital data is an indispensable part of our lives. We save our important files on computers, external hard drives, USB flash drives, and so on. However, we may delete files mistakenly or lose data because of unknown issues on these storage devices. This MiniTool post mainly discusses how to retrieve deleted files including permanently deleted data on PC.

What Happens When a File Is Deleted or Lost

When files are deleted, Windows will move them to Recycle Bin and mark it as deleted. In this case, you can restore the deleted files from Recycle Bin directly if needed.

If you delete files permanently or clear the deleted files in Recycle Bin, you will lose the entries of these files on your computer. But the files still exist on the hard drive until other files are saved to the same location. This is why we can use professional data recovery tools, like MiniTool Power Data Recovery, to recover permanently deleted files.

However, if you deleted files permanently and do not recover them in time, these files are possible to be overwritten and then can’t be recovered by any data recovery software.

How to Retrieve Deleted Files on PC

If you deleted a file or the entire folder by mistake in Windows, you can recover it from backup, Recycle Bin, or even the emptied Recycle Bin with professional software. As for how to recover deleted files on PC, please read the steps below.

Recover Deleted Files from Recycle Bin

If you delete or move files into Recycle Bin and don’t clear Recycle Bin, data recovery can be done easily with Recycle Bin. Please follow the next steps to recover your deleted files.

Step 1: Double-click the Recycle Bin on your desktop.

Step 2: Select the file you want to recover.

Step 3: Right-click the file and choose Restore from the context menu. You can also select Restore the selected items choice on the top left.

recover deleted files from Recycle Bin

Restore Previous Versions

If you have enabled System Restore in Windows, you can choose to restore previous versions. The Restore previous versions feature allows you to restore to a saved version on your computer conveniently. You can use it to recover accidentally deleted data with the following steps.

Step 1: Press Windows + E to open File Explorer.

Step 2: Find the folder that contains the lost file or folder.

Step 3: Right-click on it and select Restore previous versions.

select Restore previous versions

Step 4: Select a version that contains your wanted files and click the Restore button.


You can also use File History to restore files or folders from previous versions. But you need to open the File History manually in advance, otherwise, you will find no previous version.

Recover with Third-party Software

If you have cleared the Recycle Bin or permanently deleted files, you need to seek the help of third-party data recovery software to find them back. MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a good choice. This is the best free data recovery software for Windows, which supports various operating systems and file systems.

With its free version, you are able to check whether the disk contains your wanted files and restore up to 1 GB of files. Besides, you can scan files from specific locations like the desktop, Recycle Bin, or the selected folders. Setting scan conditions before the scan process or selecting filter functions to reduce distraction choices are also supported in this software. All these designs are efficient in saving time. Why not have a try?

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1: Download and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery by clicking the button below.

Step 2: Run the software and switch to the Scan Settings tab to set scan conditions, such as file system and file types. (If you want to scan a partition directly, please skip this step.)

set scan conditions

Step 3: Then click OK to save changes and back to This PC interface.

Step 4: Select a partition that contains your wanted files to scan.

scan a partition


If you don’t know the specific location of the file, turn to the Devices tab to scan a whole drive.

Step 5: Wait until the scan process ends. It will take a few minutes but please be patient to ensure the best data recovery results.

Step 6: Find and select your wanted files. Before you save the chosen files, you can use the Preview function to verify whether the selected files are what you want.

Step 7: Click on the Save button.

save wanted files

Step 7: Select a save destination and click OK.

save files

Restore Deleted Files on Mac

Solution 1: Recover Data from Trash

When you find you have deleted files from the desktop, folders, or other places, you can first restore your data from Mac Trash if you haven’t clear it.

Step 1: Open the Trash can.

Step 2: Find and right-click your wanted file.

Step 3: Select Put Back from the context menu.

The file will be recovered to the original place. If the original path no longer exists, you can drag it out from the Trash directly.

Solution 2: Recover Data with Stellar Data Recovery for Mac

If you have a Mac OS and want to do data recovery on Mac, you can use Time Machine. But you have a better option: using the file recovery program Stellar Data Recovery for Mac.

Step 1: Download Stellar Data Recovery for Mac.

Step 2: Run the software and choose the file types that you want. To do this, you can turn on Recover Everything or manually select the file type.

select file types

Step 3: Select the drive containing the deleted Mac files.

Step 4: Click on the Scan button at the bottom right.

Step 5: Wait for the scan to be completed.

Step 6: Browse the data found and select the files you need. You can retrieve documents, photos, and other types of data.

Step 7: Click on the Recover button and choose the file path.

Step 8: Click on the Save button to confirm and wait for the file recovery on Mac to be completed.

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Recover Your Deleted Files in Other Cases

In addition to losing or deleting files on a PC, other storage devices may suffer the same problem. In this part, we will briefly introduce how to recover files from:

  • External disks
  • USB flash drives
  • Memory cards
  • Android devices

How to Recover Deleted Files from Other Devices with MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Recover data from external hard drives.

  1. Connect your external hard drive to the computer.
  2. Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery to restore your lost files in external hard drive.

Recover files from USB flash drives.

  1. Connect your USB to the PC.
  2. Open the recovery software and use it to restore files that were deleted/lost from your flash drive.

Restore files from memory cards.

  1. Insert the SD card into a card reader.
  2. Connect the card reader to your PC.
  3. Use the software to scan it for deleted data.
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Recover files after a virus attack.

Power Data Recovery can not only help you restore files deleted permanently but also get back files deleted by virus attack.


If your PC is unable to boot after a virus attack, please resort to the MiniTool Power Data Recovery with a snap-in WinPE Bootable Media to rescue your data. 

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Recover files from deleted partitions.

Partitions may turn into formatted, lost, damaged, or RAW status because of incorrect operations. To recover data from the problematic partitions, please read this passage: How to Recover Lost Files in Multiple Cases.


If you want to recover deleted files on Android, you can make it with MiniTool Mobile Recovery for Android. This software provides two recovery modes: Recover from phone and Recover from SD-card.


Deleted/lost data is a common problem in our daily computer use. To avoid overwriting, you are supposed to rescue your data right away. MiniTool Power Data Recovery can retrieve your data from both internal and external devices and cause no damage to your data.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Even if you’re a beginner, you can learn how to retrieve deleted files on PC and other devices with the right data recovery tool. Try the methods above to restore your data and tell us your puzzles when using this free data recovery software via [email protected].

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