How to Recover Deleted Files/ Folders without Using Software

Posted by Britt Duncan - April 24, 2014

Accidentally, we could delete certain files or folders without thinking about it twice. However, we may want them back as they are of great importance. Actually, we can download and install many third party programs to restore deleted files back with payment or none. But what if we can get back the deleted content without using additional software? That’s it! Any new Microsoft Operating System like Windows 7 has the capability to restore deleted files/ folders, which is called Previous Version feature.

What is Previous Version Feature?

Previous Version feature is function coming with Windows 7 and helps the Operating System to record and view earlier versions of files or documents. That is, when you empty the Recycle Bin or delete files with shortcut Ctrl + Shift, the system does not really delete the content but back it up in a safe place. Then Previous Version feature will be helpful there.

How to Activate Previous Version Feature?

Generally, the system activates the Previous Version feature by default. In case it’s off for unknown reasons, please take the following steps to activate the Previous Version feature.

Step 1. Click Start menu, then Control Panel

control panel


Step 2. Click System under System and Security

system and securtiy


Step 3. Select System protection in the left pane

system protection

Step 4. Click Configure, and tick “Restore system settings and previous versions of files” or “Only restore previous versions of files”. Then click OK



How to Recover Deleted Files with Previous Version Feature?

After checking the feature is activated, we can now use it to get back deleted files or folders.

Restore Deleted Files

Step 1. Locate the folder where your removed file was put, right click on the folder and select Restore previous versions

right click

Step 2. You’ll get some lists under Folder versions. You can highlight one and click Open to check whether it is the one you want. Or you can directly click Restore

previous versions

Restore Removed Folders

Step 1. Create a new folder and rename it exactly the same name as it used to be


Step 2. Right click on the folder and select Properties


Step 3. Open Previous Versions tab, select the one you want and click Restore

previous versions

Windows makes it rather simple and easy to get back the deleted files or folders. But it’s still advisable to think twice when clearing the Recycle Bin or deleting documents directly. In some cases, the deleted files cannot be restored only when you turn to third party software.

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TESTED:  21 Jun