How to Recover Deleted Videos From Your Computer

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recover deleted videos with Disk DrillStoring videos on your PC is never a smart move. A hundred things can go wrong with your PC, resulting in those video files getting deleted. However, if you’re only just realizing this after you’ve lost videos to accidental deletion or another reason, we’re going to explain the deleted video recovery process.

How to Find Deleted Videos on a Windows PC

Before you try to get deleted videos back using other methods, try to search for the folder using the following methods:

Search using Start Menu

In some cases, the video files might just be in a different location and not deleted from your computer altogether. You can search your entire storage space using the search functions on Windows.

The first search option is placed in the Start Menu. Click on the Start Menu and enter the name of the video file in the search bar. Select More > Videos to filter results so you only see the video files.

Search using the File Explorer Another way to search video files when they haven't actually been deleted is from the File Explorer. Launch the File Explorer by pressing Win + E, select Computer from the left sidebar, and enter the name of the video file in the search bar at the top.

Search using the File Explorer

Another way to search video files when they haven’t actually been deleted is from the File Explorer. Launch the File Explorer by pressing Win + E, select Computer from the left sidebar, and enter the name of the video file in the search bar at the top.

searching for a video file explorer

Recycle Bin

If you didn’t permanently delete the file by emptying the Recycle Bin or using the Shift + Del shortcut when deleting the file, you might see the deleted videos in the Recycle Bin. Just go to the Recycle Bin, and if you find the video files, right-click on them and select Restore.

restore files from recycle bin

How to Recover Permanently Deleted Videos

You can try multiple methods to recover permanently deleted videos on a Windows computer. We’ve listed the most effective ones below.

Method 1: Try a Video Recovery Software

Disk Drill efficiently recovers deleted video files as well as many other types of lost data. Use the following procedure to restore deleted videos with this effective software tool.

    1. Download and install Disk Drill to your computer or an external storage device. Select a device that did not contain the deleted video to avoid inadvertently overwriting it when you install the recovery program. You will need to supply an administrator’s credentials when prompted by the installation.
      installing disk drill
    2. Start Disk Drill and select the drive that contained the lost video files from the list presented in the app’s main window.
      disk drill restore deleted files
    3. Click the Search for lost data button to start scanning for deleted videos. You can let Disk Drill run all of its algorithms in the optimal order or select to run a specific type of scan. The best results will be achieved by letting the software fully scan the target drive. search for lost data
    4. Preview recoverable files. The names of recoverable video files will be listed in the Video folder as the scan progresses. You can pause the scan or open the folder at any point to see what has already been found. Clicking on the file allows you to preview its contents and you select files for recovery by checking the box next to their names.preview the files
    5. Click the Recover button after making your selections to perform the recovery. You will need to supply a safe storage location for the recovered files that is not on the same device that suffered the original data loss. Using this device risks overwriting or corrupting the files that you want to recover.recover selected videos

You should stop using the disk or device that contained the deleted videos as soon as you realize they are gone. This will minimize the chance of overwriting the files you want to recover.

Method 2: File History Backup

Windows has a feature called File History that automatically backs up versions of a file. However, for this method to work, the File History backup option should already be set up on your PC. Assuming that it is, here is the deleted video recovery process using File History:

  1. Search for File History in the Start Menu and select the Best match.
  2. Click on Restore personal files from the options at the left.
  3. You’ll see a list of folders that are being backed up. Navigate to the file location you want to recover the video file from.list of folders in file history
  4. Select the video file (or the entire folder) you want to recover and click the green recover button at the bottom.recovering files using file history

The video files will be recovered in their original location. Remember that the recovered video file may not be the latest version so if you performed any edits recently, those might be lost.

Method 3: Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery is a Microsoft-made tool for recovering files on Windows. However, the utility is a command-line utility and doesn’t have a graphical interface, so you’ll need to be comfortable with using the Command Prompt.

Also, the utility is only available on Windows 10’s May update or newer versions and Windows 11.

To use Windows File Recovery:

  1. Install Windows File Recovery from the Microsoft Store.installing windows file recovery from microsoft storeinstalling windows file recovery from microsoft store
  2. Once it’s installed, search for windows file recovery in the Start Menu and select the Best match. If you see a UAC prompt, click Yes.

    Note: Windows File Recovery allows scanning for files in two modes: Regular and Extensive. If you want to recover recently deleted videos, use the Regular mode (which only works for NTFS drives). If it has been a while since you lost the video file, or if you want to scan a FAT32, ReFS, or exFAT drive, use the Extensive mode. In our example, we’ll use the Regular mode.

  3. Execute the following command assuming E: is the source drive and D: is the destination drive:
    winfr E: D: /regular

    If you know the extension of the video file, you can also filter the recovery results by adding a switch to the command like so:

    winfr E: D: /regular /n *.mp4

    When asked for permission press Y.pressing y to continue recovery

  4. Once the process is complete, check the destination drive and you’ll see a folder named “Recovery-[date]-[time]” containing the recovered files.recovery files stored in a folder

Method 4: Restore Video Files from Backup

If you periodically back up your files, you might be able to retrieve deleted videos just by copying and pasting them back into your computer.

For example, if you’ve backed up your files on an external hard disk, just plug it in and copy the video files back into your PC.

Alternatively, if you backup your data on a cloud storage service like Google Drive, you can download the files into your PC by right-clicking on the file and selecting Download.

Note: If you use OneDrive, you should know that OneDrive does not backup your data. It simply syncs your data to the cloud so it’s available across devices. If you delete a video from your PC, it will also be deleted from your OneDrive account and won’t be recoverable.

Common Causes of Video Loss

There is a good chance that at least some of the videos that you have taken and stored on your computer are important to you in some way. They may capture a moment that can never be repeated, such as your child’s first steps or a sibling’s wedding. While it is impossible to put a monetary value on these videos, their personal and emotional significance may be considerable. You certainly don’t want to lose them.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons that you might need to use data recovery software to restore lost or deleted videos. Some of them are:

  • 🧍‍♂️ Human error – The majority of data loss events contain an element of human error that contributed to the problem. This can be as simple as emptying a Recycle Bin after accidentally deleting some files or formatting the wrong SD card. As long as humans are involved, the potential of making a mistake is always present.
  • 🖥️ Hardware failure – A hardware issue with the disk or the device that contained it can lead to lost videos.
  • 💥 Extreme conditions – Exposing your computer or mobile device to very hot, cold or humid conditions can result in a damaged disk and possible data loss.

You can probably think of a number of additional scenarios that will lead to your videos disappearing. The common denominator in all of these situations is that you are left scrambling to recover the files in a timely manner.

Protecting Against Video Loss on Your Computer

If you consider your videos to be important you will want to take measures to protect them. As described above, there are many ways that you can accidentally lose your videos.

Here are some tips to help guard against their permanent loss.

  1. Keep multiple copies – It makes sense to have more than one copy of videos that are exceptionally important to you. Don’t keep all of your valuable memories on a single SD card or hard drive. Compared to the emotional cost of losing the videos, the price of some additional storage is negligible.
  2. Backup your videos – You might not think of backing up videos that are on SD cards or that reside on a mobile device. Think again. Take advantage of cloud storage or external storage devices and back them up. Think of it as insurance for those important videos.
  3. Protect your devices – Keep the devices that contain your videos and other important data away from conditions that may cause damage and data loss. Stay away from water and high temperatures. Avoid leaving computers and devices in parked cars or in direct sunlight.

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Arjun is an Tech ninja, codes HTML and CSS, and has received an honorary mention as the family’s go-to tech help during get-togethers. He has been writing guides for about six years and he’s currently a contributor on major Tech websites like MakeUseOf, HelpDeskGeek and 7 Data Recovery.
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Senior Data Recovery Engineer. Master's degree in Physics, Information Technology for Science Experiments.