How to Recover Deleted Folders on Windows & Mac?

Folders are a good way to store files in Windows and Mac. They make it safer even to move files across different media. But they can also make your life messy if you do not use them right. Have you ever wanted to access some of your top security files only to open the folders and the files are not there? 

The truth is the accidental deletion of files also happens to files protected in folders. Besides, even folders get deleted by accident and you can easily lose all your folders regardless of their contents. Nevertheless, you can still recover files on Windows and Mac. In this article, we show you the methods you can use to recover deleted folders on Mac and Windows. 

How to Recover Deleted Folders on Windows

Method 1: Recover from the Recycle Bin


Windows computers use the Recycle Bin as their immediate directory for deleted files and folders. So, anytime folders have been deleted or even lost, the number one place people check is always the Recycle Bin. This data recovery for Windows is very effective for files and folders deleted not more than 30 days ago.

Unless changed in settings, all files that are deleted, voluntarily or by accident including folders in Windows and Mac will be automatically sent to the Recycle Bin. This is made so to make it easier to find lost or deleted files and folders just in case you want to recover them. People also change their mind about deleting files and they might want to reuse those files and folders. That is where the Recycle Bin comes in handy. 

Restoring folders from the Recycle Bin is therefore very straightforward. Proceed as below to execute this method.

  • Locate the Recycle Bin from “My Computer” in Windows
  • Open the Recycle Bin by double tapping 
  • Scroll until you get the missing folder
  • Highlight the folder and hit the “Restore” button. If you are planning on restoring multiple folders, select them and hit the “Restore the selected items” in the top left to restore all. 

Method 2: Recover History Backup

This feature is available on Windows 8.1, 10 and 11. It helps you save copies of your files to network storage or external hard drives. 

If you have tried the Recycle Bin and it seems to be empty, this is the second option to try. You however need to have activated it before deleting your folders since the feature is not set up in your computer by default. 

Follow the steps below to restore files and folders with File History backup:

Step 1: Locate the Windows search bar

Step 2: Type “Restore Files with File History”

Step 3: Locate the files you intended to restore

Step 4: Select the files or folders and click restore. 

Method 3: Recover Folders with Windows File History

The other option to recover deleted folders on Windows is Windows File Recovery. The application is capable of restoring deleted files and folders from a variety of storage devices. Besides, you can decide to use the regular or extensive mode. 

If you are looking for folders you recently deleted, we recommend you use the regular mode. However, you can use the extensive mode to broaden your search and recover folders deleted a while ago including other files previously deleted from your PC. How to Recover Deleted Folders on Mac

Method 1: Recover from Trash

Similar to Recycle Bins in Windows computers, Mac computers come with Trash Cans. Usually, deleted folders on Mac will be sent to the Trash automatically. Here, the files will stay for about 30 days before they automatically and permanently erase. Don’t worry, you can still recover permanently deleted files if you act early enough.

Before the 30 days elapse, the only way you will lose files and folders from Trash is when you manually delete them from there. You can also empty the trash manually or simply set up Finder preferences in your settings to empty the Trash after a certain number of days other than the common 30-day period. 

Follow the steps below to recover folders from your Mac Trash:

Step 1: Open Trash

Step 2: Check if the folders you need are there

Step 3: Click the folders and hit restore or drag and drop them to a new location

Method 2: Recover Folders with Data Recovery Software

This method can be applied to both Windows computers and Macs. If you have tried all the methods above and still won’t find the deleted folders, you need to download a reliable data recovery software. 

We recommend you use Disk Drill by CleverFiles for this purpose. It is quick and versatile in recovering files and folders even when used in Windows. Besides, there are both the Mac version and Windows version that will make your data recovery experience seamless. 

How to proceed with this method? Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Download Disk Drill by CleverFiles from the official website

Step 2: Launch the software and initiate the search process

Step 3: Select the folders to recover from the search results displayed

Step 4: Hit the recover button to restore the folders you want

Method 3: Recover Deleted Folders from Time Machine Backup

Time Machine helps Mac users to recover files from backup. You can set it up to backup folders on an external storage device and set up the frequency of backup needed. So, if this had been set up before your folders were deleted, then proceed as below to perform recovery.

Step 1: Connect the storage device where the backup was previously set up

Step 2: Open the Apple menu and hit the System Preferences icon then tap on the Time Machine.

System Preferences
System Preferences

Step 3: Select the folders you want to restore and click Restore so that you can send them to their original location.

Alan Adams

Alan is a hardcore tech enthusiast that lives and breathes tech. When he is not indulged in playing the latest video games, he helps users with technical problems that they might run into. Alan is a Computer Science Graduate with a Masters in Data Science.
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