What to Do If You Accidentally Delete Files

Imagine you’ve been making great progress on an important project. You get a lot done and close out your file. The next day, you come into work to realize that your file can’t be found anywhere and realize it has been deleted. Here are instructions on how you can recover a lost file.

For Windows 7, 8 & 10

First, check your recycling bin to see if it ended up in there. If your file is in there, all you have to do is right click and select “restore.”

If you don’t see the file in your trash bin, try right clicking when inside the recycling bin and select “sort by > date deleted.”

If you can’t find the file in your recycling bin, create a new file with the same name as your missing file. Go into My Computer/My Documents and click on “Properties,” then choose “Previous Version.” You will then be prompted to select a previous version of the file. If you find that there are no versions available, you might be out of luck. If it’s a Word document, you might be able to recover the file directly in your version of Word.

For Mac

If you just accidentally deleted the file, you can hit Command+Z to undo and get the file back. If not, click on the trash icon on your dock and it will open a Finder window. Start entering the file name in the Search bar. If you find the file, you can simply drag it onto your desktop to remove it from the trash bin.

If you have backed up your computer recently and remember that the file is included in your backup, you can open up Time Machine from System Preferences and search for your file there. You can either sort by date or use the search feature in Finder to find your file.

If you don’t find the file through either of the means above, then you may need to download and pay for a third-party file recovery software. Ensure that the program you choose is reputable and rated well. Wondershare is the most popular option available and can recover files from your hard drive, along with iPods, Android phones, and any other external storage you have.

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