As helpful as it is, one of many shortcuts that keep PC users’ heads scrambling after misapplying is the Ctrl +z shortcut.

Ctrl +z is a shortcut to undo the last command. It is a nice feature to have when you want to retrace your steps as you work on a document or undo an operation you performed on a file and restore it to its original state. However, it does not function for all operations and could accidentally delete some crucial files when used carefully.


In this article, we will examine how you can recover files lost by control +z on windows 10.

How is it possible that files can be lost with Ctrl + Z?

There are many scenarios where using ctrl +z Can lead to file loss. Let’s go over a few:

  • 🛑 While running multiple operations simultaneously on your PC, accidental deletion with control +z is more common. The reason is that you may not be able to trace all your actions and the order in which they were performed. As a result, you may type Ctrl+z hoping to undo one thing, but you end up altering another or sometimes delete it.
  • ⛔ When files are moved with cut-paste operations in this manner, it no longer appears in the original folder. When Ctrl+z is used to reverse that operation, the files could be deleted, especially when new data overwrites the original drive due to another process performed on it. Ctrl+ z Deletion is also common during file transfer between PC and external media or from one drive partition to another.
  • 🚫 Interrupted Connections between external media and PC could also lead to files getting lost by Ctrl+z. The undo last command operation may be interrupted, damaging the file or keeping it in temporary storage, making it directly inaccessible on the drive.

How to Recover Files Lost by Ctrl + Z

There are so many ways to recover accidentally deleted files. As long files have not been overwritten, the data fragments still exist on the drive, and the data can be reconstructed. Some methods require simple commands on the PC, while others can only be performed with recovery software. Let’s take a look at a few:

Option 1: Use Ctrl +Y to recover files lost by Ctrl + Z

Fast and easy, pressing Ctrl+Y after Ctrl +Z nullifies the effect of the Ctrl+Z operation. If it doesn’t work, use the steps below to undo the deletion and recover the lost files.

Option 2: Undo Delete to recover files lost by Ctrl+Z

  1. Go to “Start” and click on “Computer.”
  2. Look for the folder that contained the deleted file.
  3. After this, right-click the folder and select “Undo Delete.”

Option 3: Restore From Recycle Bin

  1. Sometimes, files can be found in the Recycle Bin of your PC after accidental deletion. Restoring such files is an easy task for any level of a computer user. Just follow the steps below.
  2. Open the “Recycle Bin” from your Desktop.
  3. Look for the accidentally deleted files or folders you wish to recover.
  4. Select and right-click on the file.
  5. Click on the  “Restore” option to recover the lost files from the drop-down menu.
  6. Alternatively, after selecting the desired files and folders, click on the “Restore selected items” option in the navigation tab.

All the files and folders restored from the Recycle bin Return to their original location.


So far, we’ve covered scenarios where files are deleted but can easily be found in the Recycle Bin. There are instances where that is not the case. Before you fall into despair at the prospect that your files are lost forever, consider this final option:

Using Data Recovery Software to Recover Files lost by Ctrl+Z

The market is full of many custom and enterprise solutions that perform data recovery to a high degree – some better than others. This article will share 3 of the best-rated software used to recover accidentally deleted files on windows. All three have unique capabilities (combinations of features, functionality, and price) that make them appealing to their users.

Option A: Disk Drill

With its signature one-click recovery process and intuitive UI, Disk Drill is an industry leader in terms of User-friendliness. The Software comes with proper data backup and data protection tools, allowing users to protect all essential files against accidental deletion, corruption, and hardware malfunction.

Disk Drill addresses all types of data loss scenarios, including accidentally formatted disks, recovering files from an emptied Recycle Bin, and corrupted SD cards. Beyond the protection it offers, it has top-notch ability to recover files that have been accidentally deleted, including files lost by Ctrl+Z. Its deep scan algorithms scan your drive for recoverable data and even piece together damaged or fragmented files. Scans can be paused, saved, and restarted, giving the user flexibility in recovering their data. The following steps will guide you on downloading, installing, and running Disk Drill on your PC.

  1.  Download and install Disk Drill.Disk Drill App
  2. Launch the app and select the storage location you want to recover from. Click Search for lost data.Search for lost data
  3. Preview and select the files you want to recover.Recover using Disk Drill
  4. Click the Recover button and choose where to save the files.Disk Drill Recover Location

Data Recovery with Disk Drill is straightforward. For detailed information on how to use Disk Drill, here is our comprehensive Disk Drill review showing you exactly how to use it. It is complete with details about the features and functionality of the software.

Option B: PhotoRec

Whether you are looking to retrieve files from a digital camera, a USB drive, a memory card, or a hard disk drive, PhotoRec has the chops to grant you a successful data recovery operation. Maybe due to its product description, most of PhotoRec’s customer base consists of  DSLR camera owners and operators. This notion does not take away that this recovery tool allows for the recovery of many different file formats and data loss scenarios.

Here’s how to recover files using PhotoRec.

  1. Download PhotoRec.Download PhotoRec
  2. Select the appropriate disk, navigate to Proceed, and hit Enter.Select disk partition
  3. Select the source partition.Select source partition
  4. Make changes to the list of options as applicable.PhotoRec options
  5. Select files to recover and choose the file system type.Recover filesChoose file system type
  6. Form the partition or unallocated space only and select where recovered files should be written.

Data Recovery with PhotoRec is effortless. If you want a complete overview of the app, including details about the perks and functionality, see our comprehensive PhotoRec review.

PhotoRec is entirely free to use and open-source. The Graphic User interface with a basic command-line aesthetic is a bit of a let-down for the average PC user. But for Tech-Savvy operators, it offers a behind-the-scenes perspective on how the software performs data recovery.

For a more robust, equally-effective software package, consider our next option.

Option C: R-Studio

R-Studio offers versatile solutions to help you undelete and restore lost data.

It supports many different file formats and can recover data from damaged RAID setups. It features a file viewer to preview recoverable data. There is also S.M.A.R.T. monitoring to help you spot an imminent HDD failure and recover data as quickly as possible.

R-Studio covers many scenarios of Ctrl+Z data loss. The advanced data recovery algorithm can recover files not found in a standard scan, uncover lost partitions, and retrieve missing files from devices with non-standard or unknown file systems.

Data Recovery with R-Studio is straightforward, but it’s also pricey compared to similar apps such as Disk Drill. The user interface isn’t what many users would prefer in a data recovery app as it lacks simplicity.

The app offers a collection of support tools should customers run into trouble with recovery. A technical support team can respond to queries 24/7, with an average response time of 4 hours. You’ll also find help on the R-Tools Technology forum, which features active boards for file recovery, undelete, and repair topics.

To recover files using R-Studio, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install R-Studio.Downloading R-Studio.
  2. Launch the app and select the storage device you want to recover from.Select Partition in R-Studio
  3. Click “Scan” to begin the search for lost files.Scan for files
  4. Once the scan is completed, a subfolder containing your recovered files is created. Click “Recover” to save them to a preferred location.Recover files

This comprehensive R- Studio review provides additional information on R-Studio.

So there you have it! 3 Solid ways to recover lost files in Windows 10. In our comprehensive guide to Windows 10 data recovery, we cover more and in much greater detail.


When you accidentally delete a file, it may be in the recycle bin of your computer. Check to find and restore the file from there. If it is not there, you may need recovery software to retrieve the file.

Cmd + Z for mac works just like Ctrl +z for windows. If you lose files while using this shortcut, you can use recovery software compatible with macOS to recover lost files.

There are many ways to find lost files in Windows 10. Open start, search and open “File Explorer Options” to ensure it isn’t hidden. Under the View menu, select “Show hidden files, folders, and drives.” If the file you want still does not appear in the search or in the recycle bin, you would have to use recovery software such as Disk Drill, PhotoRec, or R- Studio to retrieve it.


Losing your files when performing simple operations like Ctrl+Z is a common problem. It can also be frustrating. Thankfully, there are many ways to recover these types of files. The recovery process is smoother when you are vigilant and keep track of your files. The operations you have running on them because, sometimes, the problem with losing files by Ctrl +Z is that you are not sure which files have been lost, primarily when multiple files were being worked on. Whether you prefer to do everything yourself or you have the budget to pay for software or a professional service, knowing the options available to you will save you time in your bid to recover lost files.

Author • 9 articles

Michael is passionate about Finance and Technology and has worked with several teams, startups and organizations in the Finance & Technology industry, both full-time and part-time. As a Content Writer, Michael brings over 6 years’ experience developing content around topics such as Artificial Intelligence, IOT, RegTech, Futuretech, Cybersecurity, Blockchain & Data Recovery. Michael desires to make an impact and he translates this by using his writing skills to assist individuals and businesses unearth their true potentials.

Andrey Vasilyev

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.