McAfee Antivirus is a useful tool to protect your devices from viruses and malware. However, sometimes along with viruses, it can delete your important files as well if they seem suspicious.
Luckily, these files aren’t removed permanently and can still be recovered. In this article, we will show you how to recover files deleted by McAfee and also whitelist them so that they are not deleted again.
Can I Recover Files Deleted by McAfee?
Before we answer the question, it is important to understand how antivirus software works. Unlike us, tools like McAfee and Avast cannot tell the difference between files based on their importance to us. They are instructed to scan your storage regularly, and based on the preset parameters they classify files as harmful or safe.
Once a file is marked suspicious, it is sent to the quarantine zone and kept isolated from the rest of your data. Then one day McAfee notifies you to delete these files and you do it without noticing that some of those files were actually important.
If the data was deleted months or even weeks ago, and the drive where it was initially stored has been overwritten multiple times by new data, it can be really challenging to recover it. On the flip side, if you act right after the deletion, you have a very good chance of recovering it.
How to Recover Files Deleted by McAfee?
If McAfee recognizes a file as suspicious, it quarantines it for a while before ultimately deleting them. When a file is quarantined in, it means that the file has been identified as containing malware or a virus. The file is then moved to a special location where it cannot do any damage, and a warning is displayed to the user.
Even though you can recover your file from the quarantine zone, it’s highly likely that McAfee will flag it as a virus again in the next scan. To avoid that, make sure to whitelist it. More on that later down the article.
🔎 Pro Tip: Do note that antivirus software add suspicious files to quarantine for a reason, so before you unquarantine a file, make sure that they are not malicious.
Also, always make sure that the source of the files you download is trustworthy, and try to avoid downloading unknown files. However, if you believe that the file you’ve downloaded is safe and McAfee has deleted it, you can still recover your deleted downloads by using data recovery software.
How to Recover Files Permanently Deleted by McAfee?
If your files have been permanently deleted, that is, they have been deleted or shredded by McAfee, you can still recover them using data recovery software. In the following section, we’ll be guiding you on how to use Disk Drill to recover the files deleted by antivirus. But why did we choose Disk Drill for the job?
Well, that’s because Disk Drill is one of the best data recovery software that can recover deleted files from your computer, even if they were emptied from the Recycle Bin. It’s the perfect software to use to recover data deleted not only by McAfee but also by other antivirus software like Avast, Norton or even Windows Defender.
It supports hundreds of file formats, including file types such as images, videos, executable files, archives, and more. Since these files are most commonly misunderstood as a virus by antivirus software, you’ll find Disk Drill to be a lifesaver.
Disk Drill is also very easy to use, and it can recover up to 500 MB of data for free. It offers a number of advanced features, such as the ability to recover files from a virus-infected USB.
Check out our detailed Disk Drill review to learn more about all the features offered by Disk Drill.
Here’s how to use Disk Drill to recover shredded files by McAfee:
- Download Disk Drill from the official website. Once the download is complete, install and launch the program.
- On the home screen, you’ll notice your primary as well as all other storage drives connected to your PC. Select the drive/partition you want to perform recovery on.
- Click on Search for lost data to scan your storage for lost files.
- Disk Drill will scan the storage for all lost files. You don’t need to wait for the scan to finish, as you can click on Review found items at any time and let the scan run in the background. Files will pop up in the list as Disk Drill finds them.👀
Scanning through thousands of files to find the one you are looking for can be very challenging. To make this job easy, DiskDrill comes packed with a bunch of features that can sort through files and filter them on the basis of type, size, and date of deletion, and you can even directly search for the file by name.
- In the next window, you can sort all the files Disk Drill has found based on type by selecting the file type on the left sidebar. For example, we will be recovering a few video files.
- You can also use the search bar to filter files by name to find them easily. You can also use it to find files with a specific file extension. Since we’re recovering video files, we’ll search for “.mp4”.
- You can also see the probability of a successful recovery next to each file.
- Find and select the files you want to recover. Then, press the Recover button to continue.
- Lastly, select a destination for your recovered files and click on OK to finish the data recovery process.
All your files have now been safely stored on your PC in your provided folder.
How to Retrieve Files From McAfee Quarantine?
If instead of straight-up deletion, McAfee has restricted your files to a secured location, you can recover those quarantined files from within the McAfee app itself. Here’s how to do it:
- Open your McAfee Antivirus software and click on the three-dot icon on the left side of your screen.
- Now, go to My Protection, located under the Home icon.
- In the My Protection menu, navigate to Quarantined Items.
- Now, all you have to do is select the files from the quarantine manager you want to recover and click on Restore. We didn’t have any files in the quarantine section, so our screen might look different. But it may show some files on your end.
Reasons Why McAfee Keeps Quarantining a File I Need?
McAfee is designed to detect and remove viruses, worms, and other types of malware. However, sometimes it also detects and removes files that are known as “false positives.” A false positive is a file that is incorrectly identified as a virus, worm, or another type of malware.
There are a number of reasons why McAfee antivirus programs might see a normal file as a threat.
- 💽 The file might be corrupted: If a file is corrupted, it can cause your computer to crash or freeze. McAfee is designed to scan for and remove corrupted files.
- ⚠️ It really contains a virus: Even if the file is not currently infected, it may still contain code that could infect your computer if you open it. McAfee is designed to detect and remove such kind of potential threats.
- ☠️ Trying to access sensitive information: Files that might be trying to access sensitive information on your computer are also considered a potential threat sometimes as they might be acting as a gateway for other malicious files to enter your system.
- ❓Unknown source: Finally, some files may be flagged as threats because they are simply suspicious. This could be because they are from an unknown source or because they contain strange or unexpected code. McAfee is designed to flag these files so that you can investigate them further.
All the suspect files or folders will be sent to isolation within a secured quarantine zone. But if you feel that McAfee has falsely accused something of being a threat, you can easily remove a file or folder from quarantine.
How Do I Stop McAfee From Quarantining Files?
Unfortunately, there is no way to stop McAfee entirely from quarantining files, as it is an important feature against virus and malware threats. However, if you find that McAfee is quarantining the same files over and over again, even though they do not pose any harm to your PC, you can provide them with a quarantine exemption so that they won’t get automatically deleted.
Here’s how to do it:
- Launch McAfee Total Protection and click on the side-panel button.
- Now go to My Protection.
- Here, select Real-Time Scanning.
- You will notice a section called Exclude Files. This option will allow you to add files to a list, and that list won’t be put through the antivirus scan. Click on Add File to continue.
- Now, select a file and click on Open.
- Your file has been successfully added to the quarantine exemption list.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at a few commonly asked questions related to recovering files deleted by McAfee:
If your McAfee antivirus tool spots a suspicious file, it can either put it in the quarantined zone or remove it altogether. However, mostly these files aren’t deleted permanently and can be found in the file shredder located within the antivirus software. In case the antivirus has permanently deleted a file, you can use a data recovery tool to restore McAfee deleted files.
If McAfee finds a potentially dangerous file or folder, it will move it to a secured location that is cut off from the rest of your storage. Here, all the quarantined items are encrypted so that no file, folder, or cookie can interact with files outside the quarantine and harm your PC.
An easy way to locate the files quarantined by McAfee is to launch the app and click on the three-dot option on the homepage. Then, go to My Protection and scroll down to navigate to Quarantined Items. Here, you will find all the files that were marked as malware by your antivirus software.
Here’s how to delete quarantined items:
- Launch McAfee
- Expand the sidebar for more options.
- Go to My Protection.
- Now, go to Quarantine Items.
- Select the file you want to delete from the quarantine zone.
- Click on Delete.
You can still recover shredded files by McAfee by using data recovery tools such as Disk Drill. Simply launch Disk Drill and scan your storage drive. The tool will scan and locate all the deleted files and bring them up in a categorized manner. There you can select which files to recover and proceed to recover them.
If you’re wondering where your McAfee vault disappeared, don’t worry – it’s still there, just hidden. To view it, simply open the McAfee program and click on the “Vault” tab. If you don’t see the Vault tab, click on the “Show Hidden Tabs” button at the top of the window.
If you’re using quality antivirus software such as McAfee, Avast, and Norton, you get the option to customize the behavior of the real-time malware scan. Simply put, you can create a list of files and folders that will go untouched during real-time scanning. Hence, your antivirus won’t needlessly highlight them as a threat and accidentally delete them.
McAfee Antivirus offers solid protection against malware and viruses. However, just like most other antivirus software, it’s not perfect at identifying suspicious files and ends up deleting some important files from your computer too which may be harmless. Luckily you can recover your lost data by using a data recovery software like Disk Drill.
Ojash started his tech journalism journey six years ago after quitting his job as an SEO analyst. Fueled by his passion for technology (and coffee), he writes how-to guides that help people solve problems with their computers and smartphones. When not writing, you can find him in his garage working on his electric cars or a new Arduino project.
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.