Being able to recover deleted folders can be invaluable to restore accidentally deleted files. If you’re currently searching your computer for a particular folder and wondering why you can’t find it where you thought it was, it could be that you are just looking in the wrong place — but what if it has been deleted instead?
Before jumping to that conclusion, make sure you search thoroughly. You can do that on a Windows PC by opening File Explorer, selecting ‘Computer’ on the left sidebar, and entering the folder’s name in the top-right search bar.
If none of this leads you to unearth the folder at last, you might need to start familiarizing yourself with how to recover a deleted folder. A folder can be lost to deletion for any of these reasons:
- Human error: We all make mistakes, which is why this risk’s potential to cause data loss can never be eliminated entirely as long as human input continues to be required for computer operations.
- Heat and moisture: Both of these environmental factors can exert major strain on storage devices and result in them shedding data. To guard against this risk, keep the hardware cool and dry.
- Malware attack: Using an anti-malware solution like iolo’s Malware Killer, you can prevent malware from wiping out folders. It is also wise not to plug flash drives from untrustworthy sources into your computer.
Knowing all of the following means for how to recover a folder only recently deleted from a Windows PC can help you to act suitably quickly lest the invisible vestiges of that folder disappear for good.
Look in the Recycle Bin
This can often be the first step people suggest when you ask them for advice on how to recover a deleted folder, as it is the quickest and simplest method in many instances.
You might have deleted the folder by right-clicking on its icon and using the ‘Delete’ option on the menu that subsequently popped up.
Even if this all seems like a strangely elaborate thing to do accidentally, you may have done it rather absentmindedly and mistook the folder for a different one you had genuinely wanted to delete.
The good news is that to recover a folder deleted in this manner on a Windows PC, all you may need to do is:
- Double-click the Recycle Bin icon.
- Look inside the Recycle Bin for the folder.
- If you do find that folder there, right-click on it.
- Click ‘Restore’ on the consequently appearing menu.
Then it’s just a matter of waiting for the folder to be restored to where it was deleted from on your computer.
A Useful Keyboard Shortcut
If you used the above-mentioned procedure to delete the folder, you could press your keyboard’s Ctrl and Z keys together to bring that folder straight back from the Recycle Bin without even having to look inside the latter.
However, you would not be able to recover the deleted folder in this specific way if either of the following apply:
- You deleted the folder by using the Shift and Del keys simultaneously.
- The deleted folder was sent to the Recycle Bin but you later emptied it.
Restore a Previous Version of the Folder
Why are you eager to know how to restore the deleted folder? Perhaps it’s because the folder contained many things of sentimental value — such as photos of much-missed times — or documents essential for work purposes.
Whatever the motivating factor in your case, you may find that Windows already has an earlier version of the folder. To restore that version, you could:
- Open ‘My Computer’.
- Head over to the folder in which the deleted subfolder was located.
- Right-click that parent folder before selecting ‘Restore previous versions’.
- Use the ‘Restore’ button to recover a previous version of the deleted folder.
After the third stage, you might be presented with a long list of previous versions saved as restore points or made with Windows backup.
Retrieve the Folder from a Backup
If you regularly handle vital files, why not consider transferring all or most of those to a specific folder?
It might be best for you to sort some of those files into a number of folders — for example, if you want to avoid accidentally sending a work contact a folder containing both corporate documents and personal photos.
In any case, though, one good reason to go down the folder route is how it could help you simplify the process of backing up the files contained within.
It would also mean that, if the folder is deleted from its ‘main’ location, you will know where to go to fetch your most recent backup of that folder. It is possible to back folders up to these sources:
- External drives, such as plug-in hard drives and USB flash drives
- Other removable media, like CDs, DVDs, and memory cards
- Cloud storage services, e.g. Google Drive and Apple iCloud
A word of warning here: contrary to what you may have assumed, Microsoft’s OneDrive is intended more for syncing — rather than backing up — files.
You can easily view your OneDrive-stored folders via a Windows PC — but, if you use it to delete one of those folders, it will disappear permanently.
Use Data Recovery Software
Even if none of the other folder restoration procedures detailed in this article work for you, the deleted folder might not strictly be gone forever.
One reason is that even a folder deleted ‘permanently’ — for example, from the Recycle Bin — on the computer’s hard drive will initially remain on it.
That’s because, at first, it will just be the drive’s reference to this folder — not the folder itself — that goes. The latter will remain until enough new data has been written to the drive for it to axe the folder altogether.
In the meantime, iolo’s Search and Recover tool could be just what you need to restore that folder. Our data recovery software can be used for effectively recovering various files — including documents, photos, music, and videos.
Have any remaining questions about our expertise in data recovery? You can reach out to our Pasadena-based team by phoning (801) 523-6763.