While cutting and pasting files is usually just a routine activity, in some cases, it may lead to data loss. Here, we will cover the possibility of this happening as well as solutions for recovering data in the case of data being lost during a cut and paste exercise.

How Files Can Be Lost During Cut and Paste

There are a few reasons that may result in files being lost during cut and paste. These include:

    • Abrupt/unexpected shutdown: If your computer is shut down abruptly during a cut and paste operation, there is a chance that the data that was being cut might be lost.
    • Incorrect storage device removal: If you are making use of a storage device such as a USB flash drive or an external hard drive, there is a possibility that if the device is removed during the process of a cut and paste operation that data might be lost.
    • Hardware Failure: If storage hardware fails fully or partially during a cut and paste operation then this will result in data loss.

Unfortunately for Windows user LynetteCone, she lost her precious karaoke files while trying to transfer files between external drives as well as between her laptop and an external drive.

Cut Paste Loss

Below, we will walk you through the process of recovering files lost during cut and paste if you have experienced something similar due to your files being lost during a cut and paste operation.

How to Recover Files Deleted During Cut and Paste

Even though you may not be able to see the files that were lost during a botched cut and paste operation, this doesn’t mean that they are totally lost. The files are still on your storage device but because your operating system likely thinks that they were successfully pasted, they may be earmarked for being overwritten.

If you act quickly, you can recover these files before they are overwritten. One of the best tools available for recovering deleted/lost files is Disk Drill Data Recovery which is a powerful data recovery application that has several advanced recovery algorithms that can scour drives carefully to find lost files.

Method #1: Using Disk Drill to Recover Files Deleted During Cut and Paste

Disk Drill has several features that make it one of the best data recovery applications available. For instance, it can be used to recover over 400 different file types. It also combines an intuitive user interface with advanced scanning algorithms that allow it to uncover the maximum amount of files possible. It is available for both Windows and macOS. To recover cut files with Disk Drill, do the following:

  1. First, you will need to download Disk Drill and then install it: After the installation has been completed, run Disk Drill and give it admin permissions so that it can recover the most files possible. When the Disk Drill window opens, select the drive that you want to recover files from as well as the All Recovery Methods option to get the recovery process started. Disk Drill Start Recovery
  2. Select Search for lost data to get the search process started: Doing this will start the process of thoroughly scanning your storage media for deleted files, including files that may have been deleted during a cut and paste operation. Search Lost Data
  3. After the search process is done, you will need to locate and select the files that you actually want to recover: Disk Drill displays a list of files that can potentially be recovered after the search process. You can filter by category to quickly locate the files you’re looking for. For example, searching under Documents will show you a list of all document files that can potentially be recovered. Disk Drill Files
  4. You will now have to save the files that you want to recover: You should save these files to a storage device that isn’t the one you’re recovering from. If you attempt to save files to the same storage device that you’re recovering from, then you could actually end up overwriting some of the same files that you’re trying to recover. Disk Drill will display a confirmation message letting you know if the process was successful or not. Recover Files

Method #2: Recovering Files Deleted During Cut and Paste Using Built-in Windows Utilities

Windows comes with tools already built-in that can help you to recover files. These tools make use of Windows’ File History Feature. For that reason, we will first go through the process of setting up File History on Windows before looking at how to actually recover files using it. Follow these steps to set up Windows File History:

  1. Open the Settings app in Windows 10 and go to Update and Security. Windows Update Security
  2. Select the backup option from the left sidebar. Windows Backup
  3. After selecting the backup option, you can now choose a drive that you want to use for your backups. Choose Backup Drive
  4. After selecting your backup drive, switch on the Automatically back up my files option to ensure that you don’t have to remember to carry out backups. This way will ensure that you always have up to date backups. Automatically Backup

Method #3: How to Recover Cut and Paste Files Using File History

With File History enabled, you have the ability to restore files that may have been lost during a cut and paste operation. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. First, start the restore process by going to Update & Security in the Windows Settings app, then Backup, then select Restore files from a current backup. Restore from backup
  2. You will now be able to browse through the folder where the file that was lost during the copy and paste. If a backup of the file that you’re trying to recover exists, you’ll be able to select it and restore it by clicking on the green Restore button. Choose Restore Files

Method #4: Recovering Files From OneDrive Backup

Using Microsoft OneDrive as a cloud backup option is also a powerful way of keeping your files safe. With OneDrive, you can keep your files backed up by selecting the folders you want to back up from OneDrive’s settings. If you happen to lose files during a cut and paste operation, you will be able to recover them from your OneDrive account. Before attempting file recovery, you will need to make sure that the folder where the file that was deleted was located was being backed up to OneDrive. If the steps below were completed before the accidental deletion, then you will be able to recover your file:

  • In the settings of the OneDrive client, under the Back up tab, choose Manage back up.OneDrive Backup
  • You can choose to back up your Desktop, Documents, and/or Pictures. Choose the combination of these options that you want and then hit Start back up.Choose OneDrive Folders

To recover files deleted by cut and paste with one drive, follow these steps:

  1. First, log in to your OneDrive accounts.
  2. In the left side panel of your account, select Recycle bin.OneDrive Recycle Bin
  3. If you see the file that was accidentally deleted, select it and then hit Restore to recover your file.Restore OneDrive File


Wrapping Up

If a cut and paste operation is interrupted, you might lose the files that you were trying to transfer. There are solutions to remedy this such as using data recovery software to try to retrieve the lost files or you could restore the lost files from a backup solution such as what is offered through Windows’ File History feature.

There are also many other backup solutions available that can help you to keep your files safe. In fact, a strong backup strategy can even prevent you from having to use attempt to recover your files in the first place, so consider putting one in place so that you don’t have to potentially suffer if you ever encounter any type of data loss, whether it be because of a botched cut and paste operation or otherwise.

William has been fiddling with tech for as long as he remembers. This naturally transitioned into helping friends with their tech problems and then into tech blogging and blogging about data recovery.

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.