How to Recover Deleted Text Files on Windows 10

Losing important text files can be a frustrating experience, especially on Windows 10. Whether it’s due to accidental deletion, a system crash, or a virus attack, the loss of valuable data can disrupt your work and cause a significant amount of stress. However, there are several methods available that can help you recover deleted text files on Windows 10. In this blog post, we will explore these methods and provide step-by-step instructions on how to retrieve your lost files.

Video Tutorial:

Why You Need to Recover Deleted Text Files on Windows 10

  • Mistaken Deletion: Accidentally deleting a text file happens to the best of us. If you’ve accidentally removed an important document or text file, you’ll want to recover it.
  • System Crash: A sudden system crash, power outage, or hardware failure can lead to the loss of stored data, including text files. Recovering these files is essential to avoid any data loss.
  • Virus or Malware Infection: Viruses or malware can corrupt or delete files on your Windows 10 system. Recovering deleted text files is crucial to regain access to your valuable information.

Part 1: Using File History to Recover Deleted Text Files

File History is a built-in backup feature in Windows 10 that automatically creates copies of your files. If you have enabled File History and regularly backed up your text files, you can easily recover deleted files using this method. Below are the steps to recover deleted text files using File History:

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder where the deleted text file was originally located.
  2. Click on the "History" tab in the top menu bar.
  3. You will see a list of previous versions of the folder. Find the version that contains the deleted text file.
  4. Right-click on the file and select "Restore" to recover the deleted text file to its original location.
Pros Cons
1. Easy and straightforward process to recover deleted text files. 1. Requires File History to be enabled and configured beforehand.
2. Can recover previous versions of the file, allowing you to choose the most recent or relevant one. 2. File History feature may not be available on all Windows 10 editions.
3. Does not require any additional software or technical expertise. 3. Recovery success depends on the availability of previous versions and the frequency of backups.

Part 2: Using File Recovery Software to Recover Deleted Text Files

If you don’t have File History enabled or it doesn’t contain the deleted text file you’re looking for, you can use third-party file recovery software to retrieve your lost data. These software solutions scan your computer’s storage devices for deleted files and attempt to recover them. Here are the steps to recover deleted text files using file recovery software:

  1. Download and install a reputable file recovery software on your Windows 10 computer.
  2. Launch the software and select the drive or location where the deleted text file was originally located.
  3. Start the scanning process and wait for the software to analyze the selected drive for recoverable files.
  4. Once the scanning is complete, browse the recovered files and look for the deleted text file or files.
  5. Select the desired text file and choose a location to save the recovered file.
Pros Cons
1. Can recover deleted text files even if File History was not enabled. 1. Requires installing third-party software, which may come with potential risks.
2. Allows for a more comprehensive scan of the storage device, increasing the chances of recovering the deleted text file. 2. Recovery success may vary depending on the extent of file fragmentation and overwriting.
3. Can potentially recover deleted files from formatted or corrupted drives. 3. Some file recovery software may have limitations in the free version and require a paid license for full functionality.

Part 3: Using Shadow Copies to Recover Deleted Text Files

Shadow Copies, also known as Volume Shadow Copies or Previous Versions, are snapshots of your files and folders taken by the Windows operating system. If you have Shadow Copies enabled, you can restore previous versions of files, including deleted text files. Follow these steps to recover deleted text files using Shadow Copies:

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder where the deleted text file was originally located.
  2. Right-click on the folder and select "Restore Previous Versions" from the context menu.
  3. A list of available previous versions of the folder will appear. Choose the version that contains the deleted text file.
  4. Open the selected version and locate the deleted text file.
  5. Copy the file to a different location to restore it.
Pros Cons
1. Built-in feature of Windows 10, no additional software required. 1. Requires Shadow Copies to be enabled and sufficient disk space allocated.
2. Can recover previous versions of the file, allowing for multiple restore points. 2. Recovery success depends on the availability of Shadow Copies and the frequency of snapshots.
3. Allows for quick and easy recovery of deleted text files without the need for specialized software. 3. May not be available on systems with certain Windows configurations or editions.

Part 4: Using Previous Versions from File Properties to Recover Deleted Text Files

In addition to Shadow Copies, Windows 10 also allows you to access previous versions of individual files through their properties. This method is useful if you know the exact location and name of the deleted text file. Here’s how you can recover deleted text files using Previous Versions from file properties:

  1. Locate the folder that previously contained the deleted text file.
  2. Right-click on the folder and select "Properties" from the context menu.
  3. In the Properties window, go to the "Previous Versions" tab.
  4. You will see a list of available previous versions of the folder. Select the version that includes the deleted text file and click "Open".
  5. Locate the deleted text file in the opened version and copy it to a different location to restore it.
Pros Cons
1. Allows for quick access to previous versions of individual files without the need for additional software. 1. Requires the user to know the exact location and name of the deleted text file.
2. Provides a simple and straightforward method of recovering deleted text files. 2. Recovery success depends on the availability of previous versions and the frequency of snapshots.
3. No additional configuration or technical expertise required. 3. May not be available on systems with certain Windows configurations or editions.

What to Do If You Can’t Recover Deleted Text Files

If you are unable to recover your deleted text files using the methods mentioned above, don’t despair. There are alternative solutions that you can try:

  • Check the Recycle Bin: Deleted files are often sent to the Recycle Bin before they are permanently removed. Open the Recycle Bin on your desktop and look for your deleted text files. If you find them, right-click on the file and select "Restore".
  • Use System Restore: If you have enabled System Restore on your Windows 10 computer, you can try restoring your system to a previous point in time when the text files were still present. Open the Control Panel, search for "System Restore", and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Consult Data Recovery Experts: If all else fails, and the deleted text files are of utmost importance, consider consulting professional data recovery experts. These experts have specialized tools and techniques to recover lost or deleted data from various storage devices.

Bonus Tips

Here are some bonus tips to keep in mind when attempting to recover deleted text files on Windows 10:

  • Stop using the affected storage device immediately after the deletion to prevent further data overwriting, which can reduce the chances of successful recovery.
  • Regularly back up your important text files to an external storage device or cloud storage service to minimize the impact of data loss in case of accidental deletion or system failure.
  • Consider using file recovery software that offers preview functionality. This allows you to view the recoverable files before initiating the recovery process, ensuring you can retrieve the exact text files you need.

The Bottom Line

Losing important text files can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can recover deleted text files on Windows 10. By utilizing File History, file recovery software, Shadow Copies, or Previous Versions, you can increase your chances of retrieving your lost data. However, it’s important to act quickly and avoid using the affected storage device to maximize the chances of successful recovery. Remember to implement preventive measures such as regular backups to minimize the impact of data loss in the future.

5 FAQs about Recovering Deleted Text Files on Windows 10

Q1: Can I recover text files if I don’t have any backups?

A1: Yes, you can still attempt to recover deleted text files using file recovery software or by utilizing the Previous Versions feature in Windows 10.

Q2: How long does the file recovery process take?

A2: The duration of the file recovery process depends on various factors such as the size of the storage device, the extent of file fragmentation, and the complexity of the recovery task. It can range from a few minutes to several hours.

Q3: Can I recover text files deleted a long time ago?

A3: The chances of successful recovery decrease over time, especially if the storage device has been extensively used since the deletion. However, it’s still worth trying file recovery software or other methods mentioned in this article.

Q4: Are there any risks associated with using file recovery software?

A4: While most reputable file recovery software is safe to use, there is a slight risk of inadvertently installing malware or damaging your files if you download software from unreliable sources. It’s important to use trusted software and follow the instructions carefully.

Q5: Can I recover text files from a formatted or corrupted drive?

A5: Yes, file recovery software can potentially recover text files even from formatted or corrupted drives. However, the chances of successful recovery may vary depending on the extent of disk damage and overwriting.