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How to Recover Deleted Files Not in the Recycle Bin

How to Recover Deleted Files Not in the Recycle Bin

Losing an important file with no trace in the Recycle Bin can be a daunting experience, but fortunately, there are ways to recover such files. In this article, I’ll share the methods I’ve successfully used to recover deleted files that were not in the Recycle Bin, including the use of data recovery tools like Disk Drill. This article provides solutions for recovering files that are not in the Recycle Bin, utilizing data recovery tools and Windows features.


Common Scenarios:

Accidental Deletion 🗑

  • If you’ve pressed ‘Shift+Delete’ unintentionally, the file bypasses the Recycle Bin.
  • Command prompt deletions also skip the Recycle Bin.
  • Files that are too large for the Recycle Bin are permanently deleted.

Software Overwrites 🔨

  • Sometimes software installation or updates can overwrite existing files.
  • Using disk cleanup utilities without checking what is being deleted.
  • Third-party applications sometimes manage and dispose of files without the Recycle Bin.

File System Corruption 📉

  • Viruses or malware can cause file system damage leading to vanished files.
  • Power outages or system crashes may result in files being lost.
  • Corrupted hard drive partitions can make files inaccessible.

Step-by-Step Guide. Deleted Files Not In Recycle Bin:

Method 1: Checking the Recycle Bin 🗑

  • Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking its icon on the desktop.
  • Look for the deleted file by sorting the items by deletion date or using the search function.
  • If found, right-click the file and select ‘Restore’ to recover it.

Note: This method only works if the file was not permanently deleted and is still in the Recycle Bin.

Conclusion: Always check the Recycle Bin first as it’s the simplest way to recover recently deleted files.

Method 2: File History 🕒

  • Navigate to the folder where the lost file was originally saved.
  • Right-click on the folder and select ‘Properties’.
  • Click on the tab titled ‘Previous Versions’.
  • If available, select a previous version that contains the file and click ‘Restore’.

Note: This method requires that File History was enabled before the file was deleted.

Conclusion: Using File History can quickly bring back files if system protection settings were configured.

Method 3: Restore Previous System State ⏪

  • Access ‘System Restore’ by typing it in the Start menu search box.
  • Choose a restore point from before the file deletion occurred.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to restore your system.

Note: Ensure to select a point that won’t result in significant loss of important subsequent data.

Conclusion: System Restore can recover files indirectly by rolling back system changes that may have caused file loss.

Method 4: Using Data Recovery Software – Disk Drill 😓

  • Download and install Disk Drill from their official website.
  • Open Disk Drill and select the drive where your file was originally located.
  • Click on the ‘Recover‘ button to start the scanning process.
  • After the scan, preview the found files and select the ones you need to recover.
  • Click ‘Recover‘ again and choose a safe location to save the recovered files.

Note: Try to avoid installing the software on the same drive where the deleted file was located to prevent overwriting data.

Conclusion: Disk Drill is a powerful tool that can recover files even when they are not found in the Recycle Bin.


Precautions and Tips:

Stay Prepared 🛡

  • Always have backup copies of your important files in different locations, like an external hard drive or cloud storage.
  • Enable File History on Windows for easy recovery of previous file versions.
  • Avoid using Shift+Delete for file removal to ensure files go to the Recycle Bin for potential recovery.

Diving Deeper into File Recovery

When dealing with the loss of important files that are not in the Recycle Bin, understanding the underpinnings of how data is stored can be invaluable. Every file on your computer is stored on the hard drive in a series of sectors. When you delete a file normally, the file system just marks the sectors as free without actually erasing the content immediately. This peculiarity is what allows for data recovery after accidental deletion.

However, continued use of the storage device can overwrite these sectors with new data, which makes recovery increasingly difficult. That’s why it’s essential to stop using the storage medium as soon as you realize a file is missing. Additionally, there are some differences between file systems, like FAT32 and NTFS, in how they handle deleted data, which can impact recovery prospects.

Preventing data loss entails more than just regular backups. It also involves employing disk management best practices, such as avoiding moving large numbers of files recklessly and checking for errors regularly using tools like CHKDSK. Implementing strong anti-malware defenses is also crucial, as malicious software is a common cause of data loss.

While this article focused on the Disk Drill software for recovery, there are other reputable data recovery tools available as well. Data recovery services, albeit more expensive, offer specialized expertise if all software solutions fail.


To conclude, recovering deleted files that are not in the Recycle Bin isn’t always a lost cause. Whether it’s through Windows features like File History and System Restore, or robust data recovery tools like Disk Drill, there’s a good chance that you can get your files back. It’s important to act quickly and sensibly by not overwriting any data and using the right tool for your situation. And of course, preemptive measures such as regular backups and proper disk management will save you a ton of trouble down the line.


To recover files that aren't in the Recycle Bin, you can try using a third-party data recovery tool like Recuva or EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. You can visit their homepages at CCleaner and EaseUS respectively.

Files may bypass the Recycle Bin if they are too large, deleted from external media, deleted using Shift + Delete, or if the Recycle Bin has reached its size limit.

Yes, it's possible to restore files even after the Recycle Bin is emptied by using professional data recovery software or checking for file backups.

A system restore can revert system files and settings, but it does not typically recover personal files that have been deleted.

Some recovery programs can find files because deletion usually marks the space as available, but the data remains on the drive until it's overwritten.

The recoverability of deleted files is not time-dependent but relies on whether the space they occupied has been overwritten by new data.

If you had enabled cloud backups before deletion, services like Dropbox or OneDrive could help restore the missing files not found in the Recycle Bin.

Recoverability is not guaranteed, as it depends on the file's overwrite status and the effectiveness of the recovery tool used.

Formatting a drive can erase files, but with professional recovery tools, there is still a chance to retrieve data unless it's a secure format.

Using third-party recovery software can be safe, but ensure you download it from reputable sources and verify it with antivirus software before use.