If you possess a backup file, restoring lost or deleted files is straightforward. But what can you do if there is no backup available? Here this post on MiniTool Software introduces some feasible solutions to help you recover deleted files without backup on Windows and Mac.

Is It Possible to Restore Permanently Deleted Files Without Backup

“Recovery of old files without backup. Am I able to recover my personal files if I have not created a backup of any type? My PC crashed and so I reinstalled the system and I lost all personal files and docs.”answers.microsoft.com

Regularly backing up computer files is a wise practice. Backup files are usually stored on local disks, cloud storage, or external file storage media, so it is very convenient and fast to restore lost data from backups, and the consistency and accuracy of data can usually be ensured. However, if you lose important files and have no backup like the user mentioned above, is there still a chance to recover the lost files?

Fortunately, you are capable of recovering lost files without backup files. How to restore permanently deleted files in Windows 10/11 or Mac? Here are the detailed instructions.  

How to Recover Deleted Files Without Backup Windows

Several secure data recovery techniques are outlined below, and you can select the appropriate one based on your specific circumstances.

Way 1. Use the Ctrl + Z Keyboard Shortcut to Undo File Deletion

Ctrl + Z is a commonly used undo shortcut key, which is not only effective for undoing incorrect operations in text editors and some applications but also for undoing file deletion. If you inadvertently delete a file, promptly pressing the Ctrl + Z keyboard shortcut will most likely make the deleted item reappear.

Generally, this method only works if you do not perform other actions after deleting the file (such as opening another file or using another application) and instead immediately press Ctrl + Z to undo the file deletion.
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Way 2. Check if the Deleted Files Are in the Recycle Bin

If the Ctrl + Z key combination is out of work, you can open the Recycle Bin and check if the deleted files are there. Typically, Windows moves deleted files to the Recycle Bin for temporary storage instead of permanently deleting them.

Files deleted from a USB flash drive will not go to the Recycle Bin. Files deleted from an external hard drive will only appear when you reconnect the external hard drive to your computer.

On your desktop, find and double-click the shortcut of the Recycle Bin to open it. Next, check if the wanted files are there. If yes, right-click the required item and click Restore to recover it. In addition, you can use the Ctrl or Shift button to select multiple files, then right-click on them and choose Restore to restore them all.

restore the files from the Recycle Bin

Sometimes the Recycle Bin is grayed out or corrupted, preventing you from accessing it and restoring deleted files. In this case, you can try some solutions to repair the Recycle Bin or take another way to recover your items. If the Recycle Bin has been emptied, you should also take the following approaches to perform file recovery.

Way 3. Use MiniTool Power Data Recovery to Restore Permanently Deleted Files

Here you can see how to use professional and robust file recovery software, MiniTool Power Data Recovery, to restore permanently deleted items.

As a comprehensive data recovery solution for Windows OS, MiniTool Power Data Recovery excels at recovering permanently deleted documents, images, videos, audio files, emails, archives, and other types of data. Besides computer internal hard drives, this free file recovery software also supports deeply scanning your USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, external hard drives, CDs/DVDs, and other file storage media for deleted files.

Whether you deleted the files using the Delete or Shift + Delete shortcut keys, this file restore tool can perform deleted file recovery as long as the data has not been overwritten. Moreover, this software comes with a simple and clear interface, so you can easily master it even if it is your first time using it.

You can download the free edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery and recover 1 GB of files for free.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Here are the major steps to restore permanently deleted files by using MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free.

If you need to perform external hard drive data recovery or removable drive recovery, you are required to connect the disk to your computer properly first.

Step 1. Run MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free, and then the home page of it will appear. Here, you have three options for data recovery.

  • Logical Drives: Under this recovery module, you can see all partitions on the internal HDDs, SSDs, external hard drives, USB drives, SD cards, and so on. Additionally, the lost partitions, unidentified partitions, and unallocated space are also displayed here. You can move your cursor to the target partition where your files are lost and click the Scan button to start scanning the drive.
  • Devices: By switching to this recovery module, you can select to scan the entire disks for deleted or lost files. This method is suitable when you have multiple partitions on your disk or you are not sure on which partition the lost files should exist.
  • Recover From Specific Location: MiniTool Power Data Recovery provides you with Desktop recovery, Recycle Bin recovery, and Select Folder modules to perform file recovery faster.

Here we take scanning the Desktop for example.

select the Desktop to scan

Step 2. Once the scan is completed, it is time to find and check the needed items. During this process, the Filter and Search features are of great help.

Click the Filter button, then different filtering rules will pop up, enabling you to filter out unwanted files according to file type, file modification date, file size, and file category.

use the Filter feature to filter files

Type the partial or complete file name in the search box in the upper right corner and press Enter. Then the files or folders containing the entered file name will be displayed.

Furthermore, this robust file recovery tool supports free file preview. You can double-click on a file to preview it, or you can select the item and click the Preview button to preview it. Note that the file to be previewed should not exceed 2 GB in size. In addition, you have the option to save the required files directly from the preview window.

preview the Word document

Step 3. Finally, tick the needed items, then hit the Save button. In the pop-up window, browse and choose an appropriate location for the recovered files, then click OK. When choosing the directory, it’s essential to avoid overwriting the original location where the original files were lost.

Since MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free only supports recovering 1 GB of files for free, if you run out of this capacity, the remaining files won’t be saved. In this case, you need to upgrade the software to an advanced edition to gain unlimited file recovery capacity. See MiniTool Power Data Recovery License Comparison.

My files were deleted without backup. Fortunately, with MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free, I have regained access to my lost files.Click to Tweet

A Detailed Guide on How to Recover Temp Files Windows/Mac
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Wondering how to recover temp files on Windows and Mac? Now you can try the methods outlined in this post to perform temp file recovery.

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Way 4. Use Windows File Recovery to Recover Deleted Files

What if you do not want to download and install any third-party data recovery software? Is there any other way to recover deleted files without backup? Fortunately, the answer is Yes. You can use Windows File Recovery to get your files back.

Windows File Recovery is a command-line tool developed by Microsoft to help you recover deleted files. It uses the Winfr command to recover various data from various computer internal and external disks and file systems. Note that Windows File Recovery can only be used on Windows 10 version 2004 or Windows 11, and does not support running on systems lower than these versions.

Since Windows File Recovery requires the use of multiple command lines to recover files, it may be a bit complicated if you are a non-professional computer user. You can download the software from the Microsoft Store, and then refer to this article for detailed instructions on how to use this tool: How to Use Microsoft’s Windows File Recovery Tool.

How to Recover Lost Files Without Backup Mac

Is it possible to recover deleted files without backup on Mac? Of course, yes. Read on to find specific methods.

Way 1. Check the Trash

Mac systems also have a special folder for temporarily storing deleted files, which is Trash. It is similar to the Recycle Bin on Windows and is used to save recently deleted items. Depending on your system configuration, the files will remain in the Trash for a specified period.

You can open the Trash folder from the taskbar and check if the needed items are there. If yes, select them, then right-click on them and choose Put Back.

Way 2. Use Stellar Data Recovery for Mac

If the Trash folder is emptied or corrupted, you can turn to data recovery software to perform Mac data recovery. Here Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is strongly recommended.

Being regarded as the most effective and reliable Mac data recovery software, this tool is famous for its versatility. It supports recovering files from Mac notebooks, desktops, USB flash drives, memory cards, removable hard drives, and so on. Moreover, it is capable of restoring a large number of file types, including documents, videos & audio, pictures & graphics, archives, emails, and more.

This tool does not support free file recovery. You can click the button below to download it for free, then use it to scan your disk for lost or deleted files and preview them. Once you make sure the tool can find the required items, you can upgrade it to save the found files.

Data Recovery for MacClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

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How to Back up Important Files on Windows/Mac

As you can see, losing data without backup is a headache. It is difficult to ensure the integrity of your files unless you download data recovery software. Therefore, it is crucial to develop a habit of backing up your data on a daily basis.

There are some simple options for backing up your files on both Windows OS and Mac. For example, you can duplicate important files to another internal or external hard drive. Another option is to upload significant files to cloud service platforms like OneDrive or Dropbox.

For Windows only:

Alternatively, you can opt for a professional and green file backup tool like MiniTool ShadowMaker to make data backup. MiniTool ShadowMaker offers a comprehensive solution for protecting your PC, covering everything from backing up individual files and folders to partition and disk backups, as well as safeguarding your entire Windows system.

Moreover, it provides automatic backup options that can be scheduled at various time intervals, including daily, weekly, monthly, and triggered by specific events.

You can download the Trial Edition of this computer backup software and employ most of its features for free within 30 days.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1. Launch MiniTool ShadowMaker, then select the Keep Trial option to continue.

Step 2. On the main interface of this backup software, go to the Backup tab.

Step 3. Click the SOURCE button to select the files/folders or the partitions/disks you want to back up. Next, hit the DESTINATION button to choose a safe location to store the backup image file.

set up the SOURCE and DESTINATION sections
On this page, you can click the Options button to enable the Backup Scheme and Schedule Settings features. Then you can configure full, incremental, or differential backups, along with specifying the backup frequency.
configure the backup schemes and schedule settings

Step 4. Finally, click the Back Up Now button to begin the backup process, and you need to wait until it completes.

If you encounter file loss or system failures, you can go to the Restore tab to restore your data or system from the backup image.

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Bottom Line

Now you should have a complete grasp of how to recover deleted files without backup. You can implement the Ctrl + Z keyboard shortcut, check the Recycle Bin/Trash, or utilize MiniTool Power Data Recovery/Stellar Data Recovery for Mac for file restoration.  

MiniTool Power Data Recovery FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Also, remember that it is crucial to back up your important files regularly.

Should you need any help while using MiniTool Power Data Recovery and MiniTool ShadowMaker, please contact the support team at [email protected].

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