[Full Guide] Recover Deleted Files from Recycle Bin

How to recover deleted files from Recycle Bin if you empty your recycle bin by mistake? In this post, you’ll learn several ways to recover lost files in recycle bin.


By Lucas / Updated on July 24, 2024

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Can you recover deleted files from Recycle Bin?

Accidentally deleting important files can lead to significant issues. While the Windows Recycle Bin is intended to protect users from losing valuable data, it may not be sufficient in certain cases where files have already been emptied from the Bin.

The good news is that when a file is deleted on a Windows operating system, it isn't necessarily removed immediately from the storage media. Despite being invisible and inaccessible, recovery of the deleted data is still possible, as long as it hasn't yet been overwritten by new data. Therefore, it's crucial to avoid using the computer or the drive containing the lost files until after you've successfully restored them.

One frequent method for recovering deleted files from the Recycle Bin is to utilize third-party data recovery software. This kind of tool can examine the storage medium for lost items and restore them, and backup alternatives such as cloud storage or external hard drives are another choice. You can quickly recover the deleted data from these sources if you have already backed up your files.

In conclusion, utilizing recovery software or backup solutions can help retrieve lost files, but it's important to avoid further usage of the storage media until after a restoration has been completed.

Best tool to recover deleted files from Recycle Bin after empty

As we’ve mentioned when you accidentally empty your Recycle Bin, the best choice is to stop all operations and find recovery software to retrieve files.

Here, we highly recommend you try AOMEI FastRecovery, to employ the “Recover Data” feature to recover the lost files. This handy tool supports all Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7 and Windows Server systems, and more Pros make us recommend you it:

• Easy to operate: AOMEI FastRecovery includes an easy and polished user interface that simplifies the entire data recovery procedure with a single click on the Recover button.
• Powerful recovery: It supports 200+ file formats and can restore them from all storage devices and file systems: Excel, Word, pictures, videos, audio, emails, etc.
• Wild devices support: Recover deleted or missing files from internal disks (HDD or SSD), external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, etc.
• Original name & path Recovery: Using powerful algorithms that evaluate file system metadata and other information, this tool can restore files with original names and directory structures.
Free DownloadWindows PCs and Servers
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI FastRecovery. Choose the exact partition or disk where your data lost and click Scan.

Select drive

Step 2. Then, the recovery tool start to scan and search. lt will execute the “Quickly Scan" first for finding your deleted data fast, and then execute the “Deep Scan" for searching other lost data.


Step 3. Once the scan is completed, all deleted files, recycle bins and other missing files will be displayed. Please select the file you would like to recover and then click "Recover".

Choose files

Step 4. Then, select a folder path to save your recovered files.

Save the recovered data

Step 5. Wait patiently for this process of recovering ends.

How to recover deleted files from recycle bin (no software use)

If you don’t want to use a third-party tool, then some Windows built-in skills may also be helpful.

Method 1. Recover deleted files from Recycle Bin with Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery is a free program that can recover deleted data from the Recycle Bin even after it has been emptied. It is applicable to Windows 10 2014 and later and necessitates a thorough understanding of its recovery modes and switches.

Press Win+E to open This PC > right-click on the drive where you have deleted files from> click Properties.

Check file

Both Regular Mode and Extensive Mode are available on PCs that use the NTFS File System. If you're not utilizing the NTFS file system, you can utilize WINFR's Extensive Mode.

Step 1. Go to Microsoft Store to Get Windows File Recovery.

Windows file recovery

Step 2. Run Windows File Recovery as administrator, then input the command line based on syntax: winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

For example, if you need to recover zip files from the Recycle Bin under C: drive to E drive, you need to input commands like: winfr C: E: /extensive /n \C:\Recycler\*.zip


Step 3. Wait for the recovery to complete. Then a folder named "Recovery_(date and time)" will be generated automatically in the destination.

Note: The source and target drives must not be the same.

Method 2. Restore deleted files from File History

In recent versions of the Windows operating system, there is a backup feature called File History. When activated, this function creates regular backups of files in the Documents, Music, Photos, Videos, and Desktop folders.

As the name suggests, the File History feature generates incremental backups of files, allowing users to restore previous versions at a later time. This means that it's possible to revisit older versions of a file that may have been overwritten some time ago as if traveling back in time.

Step 1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security and click File History.

File history

Step 2. Select Restore personal files. It will open the file history recovery window.

Restore personal files

Step 3. Click the left arrow to locate your deleted files, and click the Restore to original location icon to restore deleted files from Recycle Bin.

Restore deleted files

Method 3. Recycle Bin recovery with the previous version

If you clear the Recycle Bin on a regular basis, you can still restore prior versions of files or folders. It is necessary to enable system restoration and have system restore points accessible. This way may also recover lost Word files.

Step 1. Start File Explorer/This PC. Locate the folder which is used to save the deleted file.

File Explorer

Step 2. Right-click it, and then select Properties > Previous Version.

Step 3. Select the folder version which is exactly the one before you delete it, and click Restore to restore deleted files to the previous version.

Previous restore

Method 4. Restore Files from Windows Backup and Restore

Backup and Restore, like File History, is a built-in Windows backup program that allows you to back up and restore data. It debuted in Windows 7 and was later renamed Backup and Restore in Windows 8, 10, and 11. If you make a backup of your files ahead of time, you can try it.

Step 1. Navigate to Control Panel > System and Security and select Backup and Restore (Windows 7). Then, click Restore my files.

Restore my files

Step 2. In the Restore Files box, you may search for and restore files and folders.

◤ Search: enter a portion of the filename and pick the deleted files to recover.
◤ Browse for files: Go to the folder containing deleted files from the Recycle Bin and select it. Next, choose Add Files.
◤ Browse for folders: choose the full folder containing deleted files.

Search files

Step 3. Select a location to restore deleted files from Recycle Bin. You can choose the original location or browse to a new location. Then, click Start Restore.

Method 5. Restore deleted files from Recycle Bin with OneDrive

If you back up your local files to OneDrive, then you can download the files whenever you need, even after you delete the Recycle Bin.

Step 1. Go to https://onedrive.com/ and log in with your Microsoft OneDrive account.

Step 2. Navigate to the folder containing deleted files. Select the file you want to restore and click the Download button to retrieve deleted file from Recycle Bin.

OneDrive download

Method 6. Recover deleted files from Recycle Bin after empty using Command Prompt

You can enter Command Prompt to use command lines to try to recover deleted files.

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box and select it with administrator priority.

Step 2. Type chkdsk /f C: and press Enter. It will automatically scan disk errors and fix the error it found.

Chkdsk f

Note: C: is the drive letter for drive containing deleted files in Recycle Bin. Please replace it with your own.

Step 3. Type ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D C:*.* and press Enter to display hidden folders with deleted files.

Attrib CMD

How to prevent data loss in daily usage

Recycle Bin is a temporal storage that allows users to retrieve deleted data from the Recycle Bin if they do not empty it. To prevent unexpected data loss, we have some suggestions for you. You can choose some of them to protect your important files from mistakenly deleting.

1. Well maintain your computer

Storage devices such as hard drives are prone to failure, especially when they're exposed to conditions such as overheating, excessive vibrations, high humidity, and dust. These factors can cause components within the storage device to degrade and malfunction, ultimately resulting in data loss.

Fortunately, there are several preventive measures that can be taken to avoid sudden and irrevocable hardware failure causing data loss. Proper maintenance of your computer can help ensure that the risk of such failures is minimized. This includes regularly cleaning your computer's internal components to remove dust and other debris that may accumulate over time. Additionally, it's important to keep your computer in a cool and dry environment, free from exposure to excessive heat or moisture.

2. Back up data

To further safeguard your data, it's wise to back up your files regularly using an external hard drive or cloud-based storage solution. By backing up your data, you can ensure that critical files are still accessible even if the primary storage device fails.

Regularly backing up your important data is critical in preventing its loss. While dedicated backup storage devices like external hard drives or backup and recovery software tools are reliable options, it's not always necessary to purchase them.

By utilizing cloud storage for data backups, you can avoid potential hardware failures, theft, or other unforeseen events that could result in data loss. Additionally, having your data stored in the cloud ensures that it remains safe and easily recoverable in the event of a disaster or system failure.

3. Choose reliable hardware components

Choosing reliable hardware for your PC is essential to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. Any hardware components have a lifespan. If some components almost reach their limits, you need to change them, especially the hard disks, if you feel your hard disk is failing, install a new one as soon as possible.

You can research reputable brands to look for well-known and respected brands in the industry that have a proven track record of producing reliable hardware. Choose hardware components that fit your specific requirements. And don’t forget to ensure that the hardware you're considering is compatible with your computer's motherboard, power supply unit, and other components.

How to make better use of Recycle Bin

To help you avoid losing files from Recycle Bin again, there are some suggestions for you:

1. Enable deletion confirmation on your computer

Right-click on the Recycle Bin icon, and select "Properties." Choose the "General" tab. Now, check the box next to "Display delete confirmation dialog." Then, save the changes by clicking "OK" or "Apply." Exit the Properties window.

Deletion confirmation

2. Share more space for Recycle Bin

Go to the Recycle Bin Properties window, check Customize Size and modify its value to a larger one. Click OK and Apply.

3. Change retention period to longer

Usually, Windows keeps files in the Recycle Bin for 30 days or until its space is exceeded. You can change it to longer by clicking System > Storage > Change how we free up space automatically and selecting a longer option.

Change retention period

4. Don’t use shortcut keys (Shift) to delete files

If you delete files using Shift key, the files will be permanently deleted instead of being moved to Recycle Bin.


To recover deleted files from recycle bin, the most reliable method might be using a professional data recovery tool. However, if it doesn’t work, there are other ways to have a try.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.