In case of unexpected, accidental or erroneous deletion of files it is often necessary to restore them later, because often deleted files are very important for end users.

The main ways of recovering deleted files in “Windows” operating system will be discussed in this article.

The data flow that users use on a daily basis is enormous. And its processing, control and monitoring require multifunctional, versatile software that can function successfully on any device.

This kind of software, which combines the universality of system content, user-friendly interface, high performance, which does not depend on the internal components of computer devices, is the operating system “Windows” from the corporation “Microsoft”.

The first version of the system was presented in 1985 and has undergone many significant changes that significantly improved its performance and safe use. Working in close cooperation with end users, Microsoft Corporation has improved its operating system, thus achieving its wide recognition by users around the world.

Taking a leading position in the list of programs for managing computer devices and processing user data, the “Windows” operating system is helped by the availability of built-in standard tools and applications aimed at performing a variety of activities.

The Windows system monitors and is responsible for error-free maintenance of internal components of the system, management and control over the performance of individual elements and the computer device as a whole, diagnostics and troubleshooting, system multi-level elements of user information security and other processes.

The system pays special attention to the safe storage of user data and methods of its recovery, which are aimed at the implementation of various tools: “Windows Recycle Bin, File History, System Backup and Restore, Operating System Image and Recovery CD, OneDrive Cloud Storage, etc.

To learn more about the features of the above mentioned tools of user data backup in “Windows” operating system you can find in the video overview: “Windows Backup (OneDrive, File History, System Image, Recovery Drive)”, which is available for viewing on our official video channel.

However, it is not always possible to recover user data with the built-in tools of the Windows operating system.

Files deleted in a specific way or under specific conditions may not be available to users using standard “Windows” operating system tools. Then you will have to use third-party recovery applications.

In this article we will try to describe the main ways to recover files deleted past the Windows Recycle Bin.

Overview of Windows Trash and ways to delete files

“Windows Shopping Cart” was introduced in the earliest versions of the operating system “Windows”, is available at the moment and is a standard pre-installed security tool of the system.

It is a special reserved area of disk space marked and allocated by the system for temporary storage of deleted user data.

Its main task is to ensure the safety of data moved to the “Windows Cart”, with the appropriate settings, and the safe recovery of unintentional, accidental or erroneously deleted files.

User files are placed in the trash after certain actions and under certain conditions. A single file or a group of files that have been previously marked will be placed in the Windows Recycle Bin after deletion using the usual deletion method:

  • The user right-clicks on the selected files and then selects “Delete” in the pop-up context menu;
  • After selecting the files, the user presses the “Delete” button on the keyboard.

In both cases, the security service of the “Windows” operating system will display a warning message before the deletion process is executed asking for confirmation of the specified action, and only then will it start the procedure of deleting files.

It should be especially noted that the specified ways of deleting files with the mandatory transfer of such files to the “Windows Recycle Bin” are implemented only on internal or externally connected hard disks (“HDD”).

For all other types of devices, deletion of files will be performed immediately and irrevocably, without necessarily moving the deleted files to the “Windows Recycle Bin”.

This is due to the design features of the storage devices and the technologies used there (for example, in order to speed up the process of reading new data, the function “TRIM” is used, which immediately after deleting the file clears the memory cells of the device, where the content of the deleted file was located).

After moving files to the Windows Recycle Bin, they are available for recovery using the built-in features of the tool.

But often, files are deleted past the Windows Recycle Bin, and the main reasons are the following:

  • “The Windows Recycle Bin is configured to instantly delete files when they are deleted;
  • Users use the irrevocable method of deleting files by pressing the “Shift + Delete” key combination on the files prepared for deletion, or by pressing the “Shift” key when selecting the “Delete” section in the context menu;
  • Files deleted from data media that do not support deleting files to the Windows Recycle Bin, e.g. USB flash drives, memory cards of different formats, etc;
  • “The Windows Recycle Bin has been forcibly cleared;
  • The amount of data exceeds the limit of temporary storage specified in the “Windows Recycle Bin” settings, which results in automatic deletion of files previously placed in the “Windows Recycle Bin”;
  • Malicious impact of malicious programs (viruses) causing forced removal of important user data, etc.

In such cases, you will not be able to restore deleted files with the “Windows Trash” tool and you should use other methods.

You can learn about the methods of restoring deleted folders or files from a computer device running the “Windows” operating system on our video channel from the step-by-step guide: “Software for restoring a deleted folder from the Recycle Bin or Windows archive”.

Why is it possible to restore files in the Windows operating system?

Based on the previous section, we can conclude that files can be deleted for various reasons and in various ways.

But in any case, the process of deleting files implies that they can be recovered with rare exceptions (for example, in most cases, files that have been deleted from solid state drives (SSDs) cannot be recovered). An introduction to how to recover data from SSDs and the conditions under which it is possible are available on our video channel: “How to recover SSD data after deleting or formatting”.

However, it is incorrect to say that when files are deleted, they are completely deleted from the hard drive.

With normal deletion, files that have been moved to the Windows Recycle Bin remain there until it is cleared in one way or another. If the deleted files are in the Windows Recycle Bin, you can easily restore them using the built-in features of the tool.

If the files are permanently deleted, they do not fit into the Windows Recycle Bin, but they still physically exist on the hard drive, just are hidden from the operating system at the moment. When a file is deleted, only the information that indicates the location of the file, its size and other individual parameters disappears, and the entire contents of the file remains on the hard drive.