Where Do Files Go When Deleted & How to Recover Deleted Files, 2 Easy Ways

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By: | October 11, 2022 | Tags: , |

One of our users asked a question the other day – “Where do files go when deleted? And why can some deleted files can be restored, but some cannot?”

Well, this is a quite good question. What we talk about most is the method to recover deleted files. But we never talked about the theory behind it.

Where do files go

This article will focus on what’s behind deleted file recovery.

Get ready to discover the answer to, “Where do files go when deleted?” and how to recover permanently deleted files.

Where Do Files Go When Deleted?

Have you always wondered, “Where do files go when deleted?”

This question can be answered from two aspects. One is where the computer files go after deletion, and the other is where the USB flash drive or SD card files go after deletion. 

On the computer:

When you delete your computer files, all these files will be moved to the Recycle bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac) first. The files moved to Recycle bin or Trash are recoverable. Choose the files you want and click “Restore”, then the chosen files will be back to the original location.

One thing worth mentioning is that files in the Recycle bin also occupy disk space. This is because these files are stored in the Recycle bin and are not marked for deletion, so they still take up disk space. Once emptied the Recycle bin, the disk space will be restored.

On the USB flash drive/SD card:

If what you deleted are the files on the portable storage device, such as a USB flash drive, there will be no Recycle bin. Even if you delete these files on your computer, the deleted files will not appear in the Recycle bin. But these files are also recoverable. 

Here’s how it works: When you delete the files on the USB flash drive or SD card, your computer marks the space as rewritable. You just can’t see the deleted files, but they are still on your device. If you use the data recovery software now, it could scan and find those invisible files, and recover them. 

Fix Hard Drive Not Showing Up or Detected in Windows

Don’t worry if your hard drive is not showing up on Windows computers. On this page, we’ve collected 10 fixes to help.

where do files go when deleted?

Can I Get a Deleted File Back?

This is also a frequently asked question. The answer is Yes!

According to the above explanation, you can retrieve deleted files from the Recycle bin or through data recovery software.

But there’s one exception…

If the file is deleted and overwritten, the chance of recovering the file may be small. Overwrite means that some other files or data have been added after deletion, and the newly added data occupies the disk space saved by the computer for the deleted files.

How to Recover Deleted Files

In this part, we will introduce all the available methods for deleted file recovery. Follow the steps one by one, and you will bring back all the data you want.

Method 1. Recover Deleted Files from the Recycle Bin 

It’s pretty easy to restore files from the Recycle Bin, find the files you need, and click restore. Here is the detailed guide.

Step 1. Find and open the Recycle Bin on the Desktop.

Step 2. Locate and select the deleted file(s) or folder(s) you need to restore.

Step 3. Right-click the selected item and choose “Restore”. 

Or you can go to the Manage tab on the top pane, and click “Restore the selected items” to restore them. 

Recover from Recycle bin

Method 2. Recover Deleted Files with Data Recovery Software

Recovery from the Recycle bin does not apply to the following situations. First, you have emptied the Recycle bin. Second, what you want to recover is the deleted files on the portable storage device. Under these two situations, you need data recovery software to help you to recover files. 

Here we recommend EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. It has entered the data recovery industry for over 17 years. Even if you have emptied your Recycle Bin, this tool can also scan and find all the deleted files. Here are the main features of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

  • Recover deleted, formatted, RAW, and damaged files.
  • Repair corrupted Word documents, Excel, PDFs, etc.
  • Recover and repair damaged photos and videos. (PNG, JPG, JPEG, MP4, MOV only)
  • Works well on both Windows PC and Mac computers.

You can now download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and follow the guide below to recover deleted files.

Step 1. Choose the exact file location and click the “Scan” button to continue.

select the location to scan for deleted files

Step 2. After the process, select the “Deleted Files” and “Other Lost Files” folders in the left panel. Then, you can apply the “Filter” feature or click the “Search files or folders” button to find the deleted files.

check the results

Step 3. Click the “Recover” button and save the restored files – ideally, it should be different from the original one.

recover deleted files

Video Tutorial: How to Recover Deleted Files

Where Do Files Go When Deleted? Frequently Asked Questions

Are deleted files really gone?

Deleted files are stored in the Recycle Bin. As long as you haven’t emptied the Recycle Bin, you can click on the bin icon and restore the data. You can also use data recovery software to restore deleted files.

Where are deleted files stored?

Deleted files are stored in the Recycle Bin. As long as you haven’t emptied the bin, you can click on the Recycle Bin icon and find your deleted files.

The Bottom Line: Where Do Files Go When Deleted?

In conclusion, the files you delete on your computer will not disappear immediately, they will be stored in the recycle bin until they are emptied. The files you deleted on the USB drive or SD card will become invisible, and you can only restore them using data recovery software.

Related Reading

This article explained the answer to, “Where do files go when deleted?” and shared how to recover the lost files. You may be interested in this Mostly Blogging article that explains How to Recover a TikTok Account.

This post was contributed and made possible by the support of our readers.

  1. Shrawan Choudhary

    Hi Janice Wald,
    Thank You for sharing wonderful article and software mentioned is really working. I used it and recover so many my memories pics.
    Thanks & Regards
    Shrawan Choudhary

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