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Simple steps to recover your deleted photos on Windows

Simple steps to recover your deleted photos on Windows

Imagine capturing the perfect moment on camera, only to accidentally delete it from your Windows computer. The sinking feeling as you realize the photo is gone can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there are several strategies to attempt recovering deleted photos on Windows. In this comprehensive guide, I will share my personal experience on how to recover those cherished memories, including the Disk Drill method. Whether you faced unintended deletion, corruption, or a system crash, this article covers practical methods to help you retrieve your irreplaceable images.


Common Scenarios:

Accidental Deletion 😰

  • Right-clicking and unintentionally hitting ‘Delete’ instead of ‘Rename’
  • Emptying the Recycle Bin without checking its contents
  • Using ‘Shift+Delete’ combination which bypasses the Recycle Bin

System Issues 🙁

  • Experiencing a system crash that results in lost data
  • Encountering a malware attack that corrupts files
  • Having a hard drive failure where photos were stored

Software Malfunctions 😞

  • Dealing with a photo editing software crash that leads to unsaved work getting lost
  • Upgrading to a new operating system without a proper backup, causing data loss
  • Experiencing file system corruption which affects image files

Step-by-Step Guide. Recovering Deleted Photos:

Method 1: Restoring from Recycle Bin 📥

  • Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking its icon on the desktop
  • Locate the deleted images and select them
  • Right-click and choose ‘Restore’ to recover the photos to their original location

Note: This method works only if the files are not permanently deleted and the Recycle Bin has not been emptied.

Conclusion: Restoring from the Recycle Bin is the simplest method, provided the files are still present within it.

Method 2: File History Backup 📅

  • Go to Settings > ‘Update & Security’ > ‘Backup’
  • Click on ‘More options’ under ‘Back up using File History’
  • Choose ‘Restore files from a current backup’
  • Use the arrows to find the version of the folder where your photo was stored and click the ‘Restore’ button to recover it

Note: File History needs to be set up prior to data loss for this method to be effective.

Conclusion: The File History function provides a reliable way to restore lost photos if it has been previously activated.

Method 3: Previous Versions (Shadow Copies) 💾

  • Navigate to the folder that contained the deleted photos
  • Right-click the folder and select ‘Restore previous versions’
  • Choose a version before the photos were deleted and click ‘Restore’

Note: This method relies on System Restore points and might not always be available.

Conclusion: Previous Versions can be a lifesaver for photos lost to minor system changes or recent deletions.

Method 4: Using Command Line 💻

  • Open Command Prompt as an administrator by typing ‘cmd’ in the search bar and selecting ‘Run as administrator’
  • Type ‘chkdsk [drive letter]: /f’ and hit Enter to check the disk for errors
  • After completion, type ‘ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D [drive letter]:*.*’ and hit Enter to recover hidden or system files

Note: This command line technique may recover system files and hidden files but is not specifically designed for photo recovery.

Conclusion: While not a direct way to recover photos, this method can be useful if the deletion caused file attributes to change.

Method 5: Disk Drill Recovery Software 🔥

  • Download and install Disk Drill by recovering deleted photos on your computer
  • Launch Disk Drill and select the drive you wish to recover photos from
  • Click on ‘Recover’ to start scanning for lost files
  • Preview recoverable photos and select those you wish to restore
  • Choose a recovery location and click ‘Recover’ to get your photos back

Note: The free version of Disk Drill allows for a limited amount of data recovery.

Conclusion: Disk Drill is a comprehensive tool that offers a robust option for recovering lost images, whatever the cause of deletion.


Youtube video to watch


Precautions and Tips:

Lost Photo Prevention 🔒

  • Always have a backup of important photos, preferably in multiple locations like external drives and cloud services
  • Before deleting files, double-check to ensure they’re not important
  • Regularly update antivirus software to protect against malware that can lead to data loss

Maintain Your Memories

Recovering deleted photos on Windows can be a daunting task, but it isn’t impossible. In addition to the methods outlined above, there are further steps one can take to increase the chances of successful data recovery.

First and foremost, it’s essential to stop using the storage device immediately after you realize that photos have been mistakenly deleted. Writing new data to the device can overwrite the lost files, making them harder, if not impossible, to recover.

Moreover, it’s advisable to use a dedicated recovery drive when installing and running data recovery software. This measure prevents potential overwriting of photos during the recovery process. As an additional safety measure, restored photos should be saved to a different drive than the one they were recovered from.

If standard recovery methods fail, it might be time to consult a professional data recovery service. Professionals have the expertise and technology to recover data in cases where software solutions fall short, such as physical hard drive damage.

For more guidance, check out reliable online resources such as Microsoft’s guide on how to restore files from the Recycle Bin, or visit Data Recovery Digest for in-depth insights into data recovery techniques.


In conclusion, if you’ve experienced the misfortune of deleting precious photos, don’t despair. As I’ve personally discovered, whether through the simplicity of the Recycle Bin or the advanced capabilities of Disk Drill, there are multiple avenues you can explore to get your memories back. With the right approach and tools, recovering your cherished photos is more than just a possibility—it’s likely. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so make backups a regular part of your digital routine. And if you ever find yourself in a bind, revisit these proven methods to restore what was lost..


Yes, it's possible to recover photos even after they've been removed from the recycle bin. Photo recovery software can scan the hard drive for remnants of deleted files and restore them.

Many smartphones have a recently deleted album or trash that retains deleted photos temporarily. If the photos are not there, specialized data recovery apps may help retrieve them.

Cloud services like Google Photos or iCloud often keep deleted items in a trash folder for a certain period (usually 30 days) allowing users to recover accidentally deleted photos.

Avoid using the storage device from which you've deleted photos. This minimizes the risk of overwriting the data, increasing the chance for successful photo recovery.

Yes, there are free software tools available like Recuva (website) that can help to recover deleted photos from various storage devices.

Such software scans the selected storage medium, identifies the deleted files' data, and attempts to piece it back together to recover the deleted photos.

Formatting doesn't necessarily erase the data completely; it just marks the space as available. Recovery tools might still be able to retrieve photos from a formatted SD card.

The success rate decreases with time, but if the space hasn't been overwritten, data recovery services may still be able to recover photos deleted a long time ago.

It depends on the importance of the photos and your comfort with technology. For irreplaceable images, or if you’re unsure, consider hiring a professional data recovery service.

Yes, just like other storage devices, deleted photos may remain in a camera's internal memory until overwritten, allowing potential recovery using the right tools.