Losing important files is always a frustrating experience, especially when you don’t have a backup of them. But the good news is that there is still a chance to recover your lost or deleted files, even after emptying your recycle bin or formatting your hard drive. In this blog, we will discuss the challenge of accessing deleted files on Windows 7, four methods to recover them with detailed steps, reasons for failure, and six frequently asked questions related to this topic.

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The Challenge of Accessing Deleted Files on Windows 7

When a file is deleted from your Windows 7 computer, the operating system does not immediately wipe out its content. Instead, it marks the space as available for reuse, and the file will remain on the hard drive until new data is written over it. Therefore, the sooner you try to recover your deleted file, the higher the chances are for a successful outcome. However, accessing deleted files on Windows 7 can be a real challenge, especially if:

• Your deleted files have been overwritten by new data
• Your hard drive is physically damaged or corrupted
• You have formatted the hard drive
• Your operating system has crashed or is infected with malware

Despite the challenges, there are four methods that you can try to recover your deleted files. Let’s take a closer look at each method.

Method 1: Check the Recycle Bin

The first place to look for your deleted files is the Recycle Bin. When you delete a file on Windows 7, it is moved to the Recycle Bin instead of being permanently deleted from your computer. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Double-click on the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop.
2. Search for the deleted file(s) that you want to recover.
3. Right-click on the file(s), and then click on "Restore." The file(s) will be restored to their original location.

• Quick and easy.
• Free and already built into the Windows operating system.

• Only works if the file(s) has not been permanently deleted from the Recycle Bin.
• Limited to files that are smaller than the storage space of the Recycle Bin.

Method 2: Use File History

If you have enabled File History on your Windows 7 computer, you may be able to recover your deleted files using this feature. File History automatically backs up your files to an external hard drive or network location, allowing you to restore previous versions of them. Here’s how to use it:

1. Connect the external hard drive or network location that you used for File History backups.
2. Click on the "Start" menu and type "File History" in the search box.
3. Select "Restore your files with File History."
4. Search for the deleted file(s) that you want to recover.
5. Click on the "Restore" button to restore the files.

• Automatically backs up files.
• Can restore previous versions of files.

• Requires the setup and maintenance of File History.
• Might not work if the file(s) was not backed up by File History.

Method 3: Use Third-Party Recovery Software

If your deleted file(s) cannot be recovered using the previous two methods, you can try using third-party recovery software, such as EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, Recuva, or Stellar Data Recovery. These software tools can scan your hard drive for deleted files and recover them for you. Here’s how to use them:

1. Download and install the third-party recovery software of your choice.
2. Launch the software and select the type of file(s) you want to recover.
3. Select the location where the file(s) was deleted from.
4. Start the scanning process.
5. Preview the deleted file(s) and select the one(s) you want to recover.
6. Click on the "Recover" button to restore the file(s) to a safe location.

• Can recover files that have been permanently deleted or overwritten.
• Allow for more customization than built-in recovery methods.

• Some recovery software may require payment for full functionality.
• Scanning and recovering files may take a lot of time and processing power.

Method 4: Hire a Professional Data Recovery Service

If your deleted file(s) are still inaccessible after trying the first three methods, you may need to hire a professional data recovery service. These services employ advanced techniques to recover data from damaged or corrupted hard drives. However, they can be expensive, and there is no guarantee of success. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Research and select a reputable data recovery service.
2. Ship your hard drive to the service provider.
3. Wait for the provider to analyze your hard drive and provide a quote for the cost of the recovery.
4. Approve the quote and wait for the recovery process to be completed.
5. Receive the recovered data on a new storage device.

• Experts guarantee professional results.
• Can recover data from physically damaged hard drives.

• Very expensive.
• No guarantee of recovery.

Why Failed to Access Deleted Files on Windows 7

There are multiple reasons why you might not be able to access your deleted files on Windows 7. Some of these reasons include:

1. The files were permanently deleted and are no longer recoverable.
2. The files were overwritten by new data.
3. The hard drive is physically damaged or corrupted.
4. You do not have appropriate access permissions to recover the files.
5. You are attempting to recover the files too late.

To fix these issues, you need to have a solid backup and recovery plan in place to prevent data loss. This plan should include:

1. Regularly backing up your files to an external hard drive, cloud storage, or a network location.
2. Enabling Windows system restore or recovery tools such as File History.
3. Using robust and reliable security software to prevent data loss due to viruses and malware.


Q: Can I recover files that were deleted a long time ago?

A: It depends on whether those files have been overwritten by new data or not. The recovery success rate decreases with time, so the sooner you try to recover the files, the higher the chance of success.

Q: Can I recover files after emptying the Recycle Bin?

A: Yes, you can recover files after emptying the Recycle Bin using a third-party recovery software.

Q: How long does it take to recover deleted files using a third-party software?

A: The time it takes to recover deleted files depends on the amount of data on your hard drive and the specific recovery software used. It can take from a few minutes to several hours.

Q: Can I recover files from a physically damaged hard drive?

A: Yes, you can recover files from a physically damaged hard drive by contacting a professional data recovery service.

Q: Are there any free recovery software available?

A: Yes, there are several free data recovery software options such as Recuva and MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

Q: Should I stop using my computer if I accidentally delete files?

A: It is advisable to stop using the computer immediately after discovering that you have accidentally deleted important files. Continued use of the computer might overwrite the deleted files and make them unrecoverable.


Losing important files on your Windows 7 computer can be a frustrating experience. However, by using the four recovery methods outlined in this blog and following good backup practices, you can increase the chances of recovering your deleted files. Remember that prevention is the best defense against data loss, so make sure to take regular backups, use appropriate security software, and maintain your computer regularly.

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