Data loss isn’t always at the forefront of your thoughts. In an instant, your data can disappear for one reason or another. But, just because you’re using an older version of Windows doesn’t mean you’re stuck for options in terms of recovering your data.
We’re going to guide you through how to recover deleted files from your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 computer to get you back up and running. Before we start, though, make sure you avoid using the computer or drive until recovery can be performed to reduce the chances of your data being overwritten.
How to Find Missing Files in Windows 8
If your files disappeared in Windows 8, try searching for them first instead of trying to recover them immediately, as they may have simply been misplaced.
Missing files in Windows 8 can be found by using the Search function. The Search function can be found in your Windows 8 Start menu. By typing in keywords relating to your file or folder, Windows will scan the drive for any relevant files.
Here’s how you use Search in Windows 8:
In addition to the steps above, you can also access the Search function by pressing the Windows Key+Q combination on your keyboard, or by moving your cursor to the top-right corner of the screen and then clicking the Search charm.
File Explorer is another great way to find your lost files. It includes a built-in search function that gives you a bit more precision than the Search function. Specifically, if you have a hunch that your missing files are lost inside a subfolder among other folders, you can start your query at the topmost folder in the hierarchy, and it will scan all the subfolders within it.
Use these steps to search for your missing data using File Explorer:
Once you find the location of your files, move them to another folder. When you truly can’t find your files, then it’s time to begin retrieving the deleted files in Windows 8.
How to Recover Deleted Files in Windows 8
There are a few ways to recover files in Windows 8 if they have been accidentally deleted. Work your way through the methods outlined below to undelete your data.
Restore Files From Recycle Bin on Windows 8
Recycle Bin can be your best friend. When files are deleted (whether accidentally or purposefully), they will be sent to Recycle Bin before they’re permanently deleted. However, your data may skip Recycle Bin entirely if the files were too big, they were permanently deleted using Shift+Delete, or they were deleted after the Recycle Bin was disabled.
You can find the Recycle Bin in Windows 8 on your Desktop and restore them like so:
If your data isn’t there because it was permanently deleted after emptying Recycle Bin, you’ll need to use specialized data recovery software to get the data back before it’s truly gone for good.
Recover Files With Data Recovery Software
When you can’t find your files in Recycle Bin, you need to try the next best thing: data recovery software. Such software is able to recover files, even after they’ve been “permanently” deleted. This is because it’s usually only the references to the data that are deleted, not the data itself.
We recommend using Disk Drill. Disk Drill is a data recovery tool for Windows 8 and 8.1 that allows you to scan your drive for accidentally deleted files and restore them to a folder of your choosing.
Follow these guided steps to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 8 using Disk Drill:
Recover Permanently Deleted Files From File History
File History became the primary backup solution for Windows starting with Windows 8. Not only does it back up your data, but it also saves multiple versions of it, allowing you to restore a previous version of your Windows 8 files if you need to.
On your Windows 8 laptop or PC, follow these steps to restore deleted files on Windows 8 using File History:
Recover Files From Windows.old Folder After Upgrading to Windows 8.1
With the release of Windows 8.1, Windows 8 users were given the option to upgrade. During this process, you may have mistakenly chosen the Keep nothing option. Don’t worry, as your data is still temporarily available for 28 days (unless the drive was formatted before the upgrade).
Restoring deleted files from the Windows 8 to 8.1 upgrade can be done using the Windows.old folder. Here’s how:
These steps can also be used if you chose to reset, refresh, or reinstall Windows 8. And, to save yourself the hassle in the future, we recommend our readers check out our guide on how to reinstall Windows without losing files.
Accidentally deleting files in Windows 8/8.1 can be frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world. You should start by searching for the files in case they have simply been moved to another folder on your computer. If you can’t find them, recover them from a backup or use data recovery software such as Disk Drill.
- Right-click an empty part of your Desktop background, then click Personalize.
- Click Change desktop icons.
- Tick Recycle Bin, then click Apply. Recycle Bin should now be visible.