Restore files from the Recycle Bin

The Recycling Bin only holds deleted files from local storage (e.g., files on the hard drive or SSD). If you deleted files from removable storage devices like USB drives or external hard drives, they may not be in the Recycling Bin. If you used "Shift + Delete" or bypassed the Recycling Bin, the files won't be found there, and you'll need to use data recovery software to attempt recovery (more on this below).

Locate and open the Recycling Bin:
Look for the "Recycle Bin" icon and double click it on your desktop. You will normally find it in the File under "Computer" or "This PC" if you can't see the icon on your destop.

Find the deleted files:
You can look through the list of deleted files and folders to find the ones you want to recover on the Recycling Bin window.

Recover deleted files:
If you want to recover a file, select "Restore" on the context menu after right-clicking. However, you can just select the files to be restored and click on the "Restore the selected items" which is in the top bar menu.

Look over the original location:
When the files have been recovered, before deletion they will go back to their original location. They will show again if the original location was on a desktop. Although you will need to go to that folder to find the recovered files if they were in a specific folder.

The Recycling Bin has a limited capacity, and if it becomes full, older files will be automatically deleted to make space for new deletions. So, if you recently deleted files and they are not in the Recycling Bin, it's possible they got permanently deleted due to this reason. If you can't find your files in the Recycling Bin or you have emptied the Recycling Bin, you might still have a chance to recover them using data recovery software. These programs can scan your storage device for traces of deleted files and attempt to recover them. However, the success rate of recovery depends on various factors, such as the time elapsed since deletion and the extent of disk activity after deletion. Popular data recovery software options include Recuva, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, and MiniTool Power Data Recovery. When using data recovery software, try to install it on a different drive than the one you are trying to recover from to avoid overwriting the deleted data.



Further reading

Windows File Recovery command prompts

Hard drive beeping

Windows 11 security features