Find How to Recover Deleted Files from Recycle Bin After Empty!

In the following article we cover a range of issues from a missing recycle bin through to how to recover deleted files from an emptied recycle bin. I show you some tools and the steps to take that can help you recover your files after you have emptied your recycle bin. I have some great links to closely related subjects too.

Empty Bin or trash?

[This article has nearly 7 thousand shares on facebook and was last updated August 2020 – Ed.]

So you’ve emptied your recycle bin and then realized that you’ve deleted a file that you still need.  If you act fast enough, you may be able to recover the files before the computer overwrites them with something else. 

Read on below for how to restore deleted files and for recycle bin recovery steps even when emptied.

You can click to jump to the most relevant section for you, including for Mac OSX (the fifth in-page jump).

Missing Recycle Bin?

If your problem is not that the files are gone from your recycle bin, but rather your recycle bin is missing or appears to have been deleted, then this is a different problem and there is another article to help you. Click Here for ‘Recycle bin recovery‘ which covers this in detail.

Also see this guide if you just want to recover your files from the recycle bin.

Okay, now on with this article.


You are not alone; recovering lost files is a big industry. If you’re asking ‘can I recover or restore my data files deleted from my recycle bin?‘ then this article is for you.

I’m going to help you get your files back in this article and at no cost or low cost, if it is possible, so don’t worry.

As a computer tech it’s my job to remind you of one thing you likely already know is true:

I know you’ll groan but can I please just remind you to back up your computer every so often.

If you do, then recovering deleted files from an emptied recycle bin might not be a problem for you next time!

A good option is to have a second separate drive just for this purpose.

Please decide today to get an external drive (or memory storage of your choice) and start saving a backup of your files!

Alternative way to recover files when your recycle bin is empty

A good alternative to the software methods below is to use ‘File History’, which works if you have a recent version of Windows and if you have already set it up prior to losing data.

This doesn’t require any third party software, so is ideal, with one big ‘if’.

As stated above the important point is IF you have already configured File History in Windows.

Get this – Start a good back up process!

For the general user, I’d advise to get an external hard drive of similar size that does the backup properly for you. Much easier than copying and pasting the files you hope are the recent ones, and avoids a lot of duplication.

I suggest the “Seagate Backup” models if you want it to do the backup management for you.

I last bought a 4 Tb drive because my digital photos and videos are quickly taking up more space than they used to!

See these HDD Drives with built in backup Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive and if you have a lot of videos, try the Seagate Backup Plus 5TB Portable External Hard Drive, with much bigger storage capacity.

Recover Deleted Files

If you have simply deleted files and want to recover them, then you can restore them from the recycle bin.
Go to the recycle bin and see if your files are there.

If so, then click to select them and click the recover button.

Note: There are a few things to be careful of so that you do not make matters worse.

We have a clear article which shows you how to restore deleted files step by step (with screen copies to make it so easy to follow and avoid the hazards).

For most people, to recover recently deleted files, this is what you need.

If you cannot find deleted files in the recycle bin using the above article, then they may have been deleted from the recycle bin.

You’ll need to read on below to see how to recover files deleted from recycle bin.

I am not affiliated with any of the software provided below, these are the preferred options used by the author!

Recover Files Deleted from the Recycle Bin

One of my favorite quick recovery tools to recover files deleted from the recycle bin is called Restoration.

It’s a stand-alone Windows based file recovery program that allows you to restore deleted files even after they have been emptied from the recycle bin.

Restoration requires no install and because of this, you can put it on your flash drive and take it with you wherever you go. 

Here is exactly how to use it step by step.

Step 1: Download free Deleted file Recovery Software

Download Restoration (not an affiliate link) onto a drive other than the one that you want to recover files from. This is the first software program to try.

WARNING: There is an important reason not to write the downloaded drive to the same one you want to recover files from; if you write any more data to the same drive, the hidden but not-yet deleted files might be over-written and lose your data for ever!

I know sometimes you may be wary to download free software, but in this case I have done it for countless clients.

Perhaps you are worried about a recommendation for third party software (ie. nothing to do with you or me), but I reconfirm I have used it.

Also I reconfirm I receive nothing from them for the recommendation.

Step 2: Run Restoration and choose the drive to scan

Run Restoration. If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8 then you may have to right-click Restoration and choose “Run as Administrator”.  Next, choose the drive you wish to scan. 

If you know the file name or at least part of it, type it into the “All or part of the file” box. If you don’t then just leave it blank.

You can check the box “Include used clusters by other files” but if this applies to the file you are trying to recover then it will probably be corrupt.

You can now click “Search Deleted Files”.

how to recover deleted files from recycle bin -Restoration software Windows 7
Run Restoration and select the drive (top right) to recover deleted files on that drive. This is the latest version of Restoration, v2.5.14 (for 2020).

Step 3: Scan through the list to find the file that you would like to restore

When it is finished scanning you, can search through the file list to find the file that you would like to restore. Once you find it, highlight it and click “Restore by Copying”.

how to recover deleted files from recycle bin Windows 7-Restoration select recycle bin recovery

Step 4: Save your file (preferably to a different drive)

You will now be asked where to save the file. If you try to save it to the same drive you are scanning you will be asked if you would like to select a different drive so you don’t overwrite the original data.

Once you have finished restoring the file you should be able to open it.

Save your recovered ‘permanently’ deleted files. This is where it can be handy to have an external drive so you don’t risk overwriting data.

Alternative method on how to recover files deleted from emptied recycle bin

If Restoration can’t do the job then the next tool I recommend using is Recuva. 

Just like Resoration, Recuva is a free utility that let’s you undelete files after you have emptied your recycle bin. Why might you use it?

It has different scanning methods than Restoration including a “deep scan” feature to use when the standard scans aren’t working. 

Here is how to use it.

Step 1: Download free Recycle bin recovery software

Download Recuva (not affiliate link) onto a drive other than the one that you want to recover files from. Again it is important to avoid using the same drive to avoid over-writing the downloaded file over the top of hidden file data.

Step 2: Run the software and select file recovery type

Run Recuva.  You will be presented with a wizard to ask you what type of file you want to recover. 

If you aren’t sure then just choose “All Files”.

This will take somewhat longer.

However, you won’t know just what you can recover so it is probably the best option.

It might mean a longer nervous wait I’m afraid!

how to recover deleted files from recycle bin Windows 7 -Recuva File type

Step 3: Select from the recycle bin option

Next you will be asked where the files are located. 

If these files were deleted from the recycle bin then choose “In the Recycle Bin”.

how to recover files deleted from recycle bin Windows 8 -Recuva Screenshot

Step 4: Start the scan

You are now ready to start your scan. 

This is also where you can choose to Enable Deep Scan if Recuva is having trouble finding the file.

how to recover files deleted from recycle bin Windows 8 -Recuva Search

Step 5: Choose the file you wish to recover

Once the scan has finished, you can now choose the file you wish to recover. 

Select the file and click the “Recover” button. 

Choose a location that is not on the drive you are trying to recover from, otherwise, you may overwrite your file.

This screenshot shows recovering data using Recuva version 1.48.982 whereas if you download now, the most recent version is 1.53.1087.

Hopefully, after using these file recovery utilities, you now have your files back.

When you delete a file, Windows flags that space as usable free space again. 

Therefore, there is always the possibility that Windows has already overwritten the deleted file with something else.  If this is the case then Restoration or Recuva will not be able to recover your file or your recovered file will be corrupt. 

So the faster you act from the time you delete a file, the greater your chances are of recovering it will be.

While you are at it:

Now I hope you implement a better back up plan.

We have a lot of information about data recovery and recovery of deleted files on

We aim to supply helpful information for both MS Windows and Apple Mac OSX systems.

That seems like a great segue (segway) to deleted file recovery for Mac Computers. So, now on to the (semi-) free methods, for Mac computers.

Note: the article below is for how to recover deleted files from recycle bin after empty for your Mac (i.e. how to recover files no longer in your Mac’s trash or recycle bin if you find it is empty).

Alternative semi-free method on how to restore deleted files from recycle bin for Mac computers

I know you probably would prefer to know how to recover emptied trash on Mac.

In some cases people prefer to recover files without software (without additional software). I appreciate the desire, it seems everyone wants to get you download their software. You want to avoid the risk of addition undesired software or viruses.

This one though is worth it. It has been around for years and works just fine. You need not be concerned.

If you are using a Mac, then I recommend using the MiniTool Mac Data Recovery utility (not affiliate link).

Why do I call it a semi-free method to restore deleted files on a Mac? It will restore files for free up to 1GB. 

If the deleted files are larger than that then you will need to pay for the full version.

Use the link above to download it.

Recover deleted files deleted from trash using MiniTool’s Mac Data Recovery.

For more in-depth information on file recovery software and methods for serious cases,

Your experiences

Please share your experience with Restoration, Recuva, or MiniTool software for emptied recycle bin recovery.

You can comment on software proposed within this article, or any other file recovery programs that have helped you retrieve deleted files.


Recovering files deleted from the recycle bin is possible in a number of ways and which you chose may depend on your situation. You can recover deleted files from the recycle bin if you have simply deleted your files and need to get your files back. When you have emptied the recycle bin and you want to recover deleted files in Windows or Mac, it is possible.

You will need to use some data recovery software and the ones I show how to use above are free for most purposes!