The problem of accidentally deleting important files has plagued computer users since people first started using these powerful machines. You can store an incredible amount of data on a computer’s hard drive, and it is reasonable to expect to find your files and folders when you need them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you use computers for any length of time you are bound to experience some type of data loss situation.
Data loss can occur for a variety of reasons including human error, malware attacks, physical damage to the hard drive, and software glitches. No matter what caused the data to be lost, you will most likely want to get back your information as soon as possible. There are a few methods you can use to retrieve your data. We believe the best way to recover lost files on Windows 7 is with data recovery software.
How to Recover Deleted Files on Windows 7 in a Few Simple Steps
Due to the way that the Windows operating system deletes files, the data can often be recovered if you act quickly after it has been erased. When you delete a file or format a partition, Windows makes the data logically inaccessible to the system. The missing documents or other data is still physically present on the hard drive. As long as the files have not been overwritten, data recovery software can be used to essentially undelete them.
Today we are going to use Disk Drill. Disk Drill has demonstrated itself to be a reliable software solution with a proven track record of successful recoveries.
Therefore, the most important step you need to take if you find some items have been inadvertently deleted is to stop using the disk or partition that contained that data. Failure to follow this guidance will make it less likely that you can successfully recover deleted files on Windows 7.
To recover lost data using Disk Drill, follow these steps:
- Download the tool: Download Disk Drill for Windows. If you are attempting to restore data from your system’s main hard drive, we strongly recommend using a USB drive for this procedure. This will minimize the chances that you overwrite a file before you get a chance to bring it back.
- Launch the application: You will be asked if you want to allow to make changes to your device. Click ‘yes’.
- Choose the storage device: Select the disk on which you will perform the recovery from the list presented by the tool.
- Search for the lost data: Click the ‘Search for lost data’ button to start Disk Drill’s scanning procedure.
- Preview the files: Preview the files that have been identified as being recoverable by the application.
- Select the files to recover: Select the files or folders you wish to recover. Choose a location where they will be stored. Don’t use their original location as this can lead to file corruption during the recovery process.
- Restore your files: Click the ‘Recover’ button to restore your files to the storage location you have chosen.
Disk Drill is a professional-grade data recovery software application for Windows 7 and newer versions of the OS, including Windows 11. You can use it to recover up to 500 MB of data for free on a Windows system before upgrading to the Pro version.
Disk Drill employs advanced scanning algorithms that interrogate your drive and identify files that can be recovered from hundreds of different file formats. The application also provides additional features to assist in protecting and maintaining your system’s hard disk.
How to Restore Deleted Files on Windows 7 Without Software
There are ways to restore deleted files on Windows 7 without using data recovery software. Here are three methods.
Method #1: Use the Recycle Bin
Files deleted in the recent past may still reside in your system’s Recycle Bin, so you should check to see if a lost file has simply been recycled.
Follow this procedure to locate and restore these files:
- Open the Recycle bin by double-clicking or right-clicking and selecting Open.
- Choose the file you want to recover.
- Right-click on the photo and select Restore.
Method #2: Restoring Previous Versions of a File
Windows is capable of restoring previous versions of a file.
To try this method, follow these steps:
- Open File Explorer.
- Navigate to the file or folder which contained the file that you wish to recover.
- Right-click and select Restore previous versions from the menu.
- Select the version you wish to recover from the list provided by Windows.
- Click the Restore button to recover the file.
Note: This method will only work if there were previous versions of a file on the machine.
Method #3: Using a backup
If you have backed up your computer, you may be able to use the backup media to restore an old version of the deleted file.
- Start up your backup and recovery tool.
- Search for the file to be restored.
- Return the file to its original location from the backup.
Data Recovery Software vs Basic Windows Tools
Basic Windows Tools
Ability to recover files from an emptied Recycle Bin.
Yes. Disk Drill can recover your files even if they have been permanently deleted from the Recycle Bin.
You cannot recover files from an empty Recycle Bin with native Windows tools. You may be able to recover a previous version of the file if it has existed for a period of time.
Recover data from a formatted hard drive.
Yes. Disk Drill can recover files from a logically formatted drive or partition.
No. You will not be able to use basic Windows tools to recover data from a formatted hard drive.
Recover deleted items from external storage.
Yes. If the storage device can be attached to your computer, Disk Drill can recover its data.
No. Files deleted from external storage often do not make it to the Recycle Bin and will not be recoverable with basic Windows tools.
Recover recently deleted files.
Yes. Recently deleted files are often found in the Recycle Bin and can easily be recovered.
I was able to completely recover all the files I was missing! I appreciate all that you have made, and I wish you the best.
Why Windows 7 Remains So Popular Among Users
Windows 7 is still extremely popular with computer users worldwide, many of whom are not interested in the advanced features found in later versions of the OS. This is due to a number of reasons including:
- Popular features;
- Software compatibility;
- Familiarity and reticence to upgrade.
Many users are reluctant to upgrade due to the problems encountered with Windows 8. They prefer the stability of their Windows 7 system and would like to keep it as long as possible. Unfortunately for those individuals, Windows 7 support ended on January 14, 2020. This may force users to upgrade or risk using an unsupported operating system.
Most Common Windows 7 Problems
💻 Aero is not working
Solution: If you are experiencing transparency issues with the Aero GUI on your Win7 machine, these are the steps to take to resolve the problem:
- Right-click an empty area on the desktop and select Personalize;
- Click the Troubleshoot problems with transparency and other Aero effects link;
- Click the Advanced link and check the Apply repairs automatically box;
- Windows will search for the cause of the problem and fix it automatically while producing a report that explains the problem and fixes in detail.
📁 Missing Explorer Folders
Solution: This issue may be caused by an incorrect option setting. To fix it, follow these steps:
- Right-click on the desktop;
- Select View and then Show desktop icons;
- Ensure the option checked.
🔍 Hidden extensions
Solution: Windows does not display file extensions on your PC by default. To view file extensions follow these simple steps:
- Click the Start menu;
- Type folder options and click on Folder Options at the top of the Start menu;
- Click the View tab in the Folder Options dialog box;
- Uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types box;
- Click the OK button.
There are several methods by which you may be able to recover deleted files from a Windows 7 computer. The most effective way is through the use of data recovery software such as Disk Drill. It offers you the best chance of recovering files even if you have emptied your Recycle Bin or accidentally formatted a partition. You can download it for free and perform real data recovery to test it out. If you value the data on your computer, you should have a copy of this data recovery tool on your machine.
Robert Agar is the Content Writer & Managing Editor for Handy Recovery. Robert brings over 30 years of experience in data storage, security, compliance, backup, and recovery to the HandyRecovery team. Several years ago, he turned his attention from hands-on technical roles to develop a career as a freelance writer concentrating on technology and its impact on society. Areas of focus include the cloud, data recovery, artificial intelligence, and industrial automation.
Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor for Handy Recovery. Andrey is a software engineer expert with extensive expertise in data recovery, computer forensics, and data litigation. Andrey brings over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair to the team.