Accidentally Deleted an Important Computer File? Here’s What to Do


If you’ve ever accidentally deleted an important computer file, you know how panic-inducing the experience can be. Suddenly, all your work is gone, and you have no idea how to get it back. Don’t worry – we’re here to help! This blog post will discuss some methods for recovering deleted files on your computer. Keep reading to learn more!

How to recover deleted files on Windows

Check the recycle bin

If you’re using a Windows computer, there are a few different ways to try to recover your deleted files. First, you can check the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin is a temporary storage location for files that have been deleted from your computer. If the file you’re looking for is in the Recycle Bin, you can restore it by right-clicking on the file and selecting “Restore.”

Use a file recovery utility

If the file you’re looking for isn’t in the Recycle Bin, don’t worry – there are still some things you can try. One option is to use a data recovery software program. These programs can often undelete files that have been accidentally deleted. There are many different data recovery programs available, so you may want to research the best one for you. Popular tools include Recuva and EaseUS.

Restore from a backup

Another option is to try to recover the file from a backup copy. If you have a recent backup of the file, you can restore it from that backup. Alternatively, if your computer uses cloud-based storage or backup service (such as Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive, you may be able to recover the file from there.

Restore from previous versions

If you have enabled File History on your Windows computer, you may be able to restore the deleted file from a previous version. File History is a built-in backup feature in Windows that saves copies of your files every hour. This can be helpful if you need to recover a deleted file that was changed or edited recently.

To restore a deleted file using Windows File History, open the folder where the file used to be and click the “History” button, normally located on the “Home” menu. You can then navigate backward through the file history using the “Previous” button to find and restore the most recent backup of the file.

Use Windows File Recovery

In 2020, Microsoft introduced a Windows File Recovery tool that can help you recover deleted files. This tool is designed specifically for recovering accidentally deleted files, and it can be used for both local storage and removable drives. To use the tool, you must be running the May 2020 update of Windows (version 2004) or higher, or Windows 11. It’s available at no charge from the Microsoft Store.

Windows File Recovery is a command-line tool that could be daunting for typical users. If you want to give it a try, here’s a guide on how to use it.

Restore deleted files using a System Restore Point

While it might be considered the “nuclear” option, one way to recover a deleted file is to restore your computer to a previous state when the file still existed. To do this, you would have manually or automatically created a System Restore Point sometime in the recent past. If you did not, you can skip the rest of this section, but read on if you are unsure. Note that System Restore will not restore documents, photos, or other personal files but will restore anything related to the system and installed applications.

Restoring your computer from a System Restore Point will revert all your files and settings to how they were at the restore point. To do this, open the Start menu and search for “System Restore.” Click “Create a restore point, click “System Restore” on the dialog box that appears, then click “Next” when prompted. You’ll see a list of recent restore points, and you’ll be able to choose one to restore.

How to recover deleted files on Mac

Use Undo Command on Mac to restore a deleted file

If you’re using a Mac, there’s a good chance that you can recover the deleted file using the Undo command. To do this, highlight the Finder or other application used to delete the file, open the Edit menu in the menu bar, and click “Undo Move of ‘filename’.” Note that undo needs to be done within seconds of the accidental file deletion, or it is unlikely to work.

Check the Trash

The Trash is a temporary storage location for files that have been deleted from your Mac. Open the Finder and click on the “Trash” icon in the sidebar to check the Trash. If you see the file you’re looking for, you can drag it from the Trash to another location on your Mac to restore it.

Check other Trashes

macOS stores files that have been deleted from removable media (i.e., external hard drives, thumb drives) in hidden folders named “.Trashes”. To view these folders and potentially restore files, open Finder and press Command+Shift+G (or go to Go > Go to Folder…) and type the following into the text field: ~/Library/Trash/. You can also try typing this into a Finder window’s address bar. If you’re using macOS Sierra or later, you can view hidden files in Finder using the SHIFT+CMD+. hotkey.

Restore from cloud-based backup

As with Microsoft Windows, macOS files that are copied to cloud storage can often be recovered from that storage if you accidentally delete the local copy. Note that must have set up cloud storage backup before the file was deleted.

Restore with Time Machine

Time Machine is a built-in backup feature on Macs. Time Machine can help you recover deleted files and older versions of files that have been changed or edited. This approach assumes that you had previously enabled Time Machine on your Mac for manual or automatic backups.

To restore files on a Mac using Time Machine, open the “System Preferences” application, then click on the “Time Machine” icon. Select your backup disk and click “Select Backup Disk.” You can then choose a specific date and time to restore from.

Use a file recovery program

Many third-party data recovery utilities are available for macOS. You can try a data recovery program like Disk Drill, which can scan your computer for deleted files and restore them. Check the Mac App Store or the Internet to see what programs are available.


If all else fails, it may be time to consider taking your system to a company that offers data recovery services. This approach can be costly, but if you need your file(s) back and you have tried everything else, one of these services may be able to recover the missing data for you.

We hope this article has helped you understand what to do if you accidentally delete an important file on your computer. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send them our way. Thanks for reading!

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