Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.

Whether it’s due to a tired brain or just a random slip-up, we can all run into situations where we’re worried that a file we need has been permanently deleted. However, this is often not the case. You just need to know where to look.

Read on, and learn several ways that you can go about finding a file or folder that may have accidentally been deleted. With any luck, the file will be perfectly fine and you’ll be able to use it as needed.

Find out if the File Was Actually Deleted

You may be lucky enough to find that the file actually wasn’t deleted, but instead may have been closed out before saving, accidentally moved, or you may have started the process of deleting it but (luckily), didn’t complete that process. There’s only one way to find out!

Related Reading: How to Format an External Hard Drive for Mac

Step One

If you already know which folder the file or folder was in, then go ahead and check it using your file explorer. If you aren’t sure or want to see if it was moved, you can simply enter the name of the file or folder in your Start search bar and see if a matching result pops up.

Step Two

If you are able to find what you’re looking for, fantastic! Otherwise, it’s going to be time to move onto the next steps for locating your file. Not to worry, the file can still be found.

Restore the File if You Can

Another option available to you is to restore the file. In some cases, your computer may automatically do this when you open up the program that the file was on. Most often, this is in regard to something like a Word or Open Office document. Try those is they apply!

From a Backup

If this is something you’ve been working on for a while, there may be a backup available for it somewhere on your computer. Checking through the backups available can be a great idea, but keep in mind that the backup may not always be as up to date as the original file may have been.

Step One

Begin by hitting the “Start” button in the lower left corner. Then, type in “control panel” and select the result that matches.

Step Two

In the control panel, choose the option that reads: “System and Maintenance.” Follow that up by clicking on “Backup and Restore.”

Here, you’ll see an option to restore your files. Select it and follow any instructions provided.

From a Deleted File

You can also opt to restore a deleted folder or file through your file explorer. This isn’t a guaranteed option, but it’s one that is worth trying, especially if the file you need was deleted just recently.

Step One

Select the “Start” button and then go to “Computer.”

Search for whichever folder contained the one you are looking for. For example, if you’re looking for an article that was kept in your documents, you’ll want to travel to the “Documents” folder. If it was a larger file, you can also do this using the C: folder.

Step Two

On the title of the folder, right-click and then opt to restore the previous version. Now, check to see if your missing folder or file has returned. If not, there are still further options available to find what you’re looking for.

Try Checking the Recycle Bin

In most cases, files that are deleted typically end up in the recycle bin. The good news is that items that are in the recycle bin aren’t yet actually deleted. This is really just a kind of storage space that gets files you no longer want out of your site. Furthermore, it gives you an opportunity to make sure that you really no longer want the files within before you delete them permanently.

Read Article: How to Disable Avast

Step One

You’ll need to start by finding the recycle bin. Typically, this is located on your desktop screen. However, if for some reason it isn’t, you should be able to locate it by opening up the Start menu and typing “recycle bin” into the search bar. The matching result should appear.

Step Two

Once you reach the recycle bin, take a look through it to see if the file you need is there. If it is, then you can get it placed back into the correct folder. However, if it isn’t, then there’s still one more method you can try out in order to find that missing file. When all else fails, a recovery program can sometimes be just the answer you need to find your file.

Try a Recovery Program

Some can find recovery programs to be quite useful when it comes to locating missing files. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that some of these programs are made as excuses to get you to purchase the program or download unnecessary software or even things like malware. As a result, you need to be careful.

Step One

Start by taking the time to look for a recovery program with a good reputation. You’ll likely want something reliable and trustworthy. If you can find something from a familiar brand, that’s often a good way to go. Just don’t download anything on a whim.

Step Two

Follow the instructions provided by the program you choose, and it will guide you through finding the files if it is still possible.

Other Options

You can also try these solutions when it comes to finding missing files or preventing them from being deleted completely in the future:

  • If you’ve sent the file anywhere by email, it may still be on one of your email accounts, or in the account of whoever you sent it to
  • Consider whether or not you may have used a cloud resource for the file, like Dropbox or Google Docs. If you have, the file may be located there. If not, these resources are worth making use of in the future, at least for containing backups of your files just in case.