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How to Recover Lost Files after System Restore

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Mar 19, 2024 • Filed to: Recover Files • Proven solutions

I restored my computer this morning. I didn’t know I was supposed to back up my files and lost a lot of them. The files are really important to me, including my documents, precious videos, and the only photo taken with my best friend. I have been upset for nearly a week. How can I recover files after system restore?

People often regret losing files after a system restore. The best and cheapest way to prevent file loss is to back up the data. Thankfully, if you forgot to backup your data, you’re not without options. There is still a way to recover lost files after a system restore.

Does System Restore Deletes Personal Files?

When you use ‘System Restore’, your personal files are not in danger. As you can guess, the folders like Desktop stay the same. And your data in Documents, Pictures as well as other similar folders is still present.

Yet, if you installed a software after that Restore Point, it has to go. This might include some drivers as well. In fact, the System Restore windows has a similar notice. The following screenshot is highlighting it.

use system restore

That being said, life is never perfect. So, you might encounter a Data Loss after a Restore. Therefore, you will benefit from this guide. Let’s see how you can obtain your deleted files in this special case.

Part 1: How to Recover Lost Files Efficiently after System Restore

A data recovery tool can recover your files: Recoverit Data Recovery is an effective data recovery software that understands the internal workings of the systems used to store files on a disk and uses this knowledge to locate the disk space that was occupied by a deleted file. You can use it to recover almost all files lost after system restore, including photos, videos, documents, archived files, and more. While retrieving your lost files, it won't cause any further damage to your previous data.

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Simple Steps to Recover Files Lost after a System Restore

Step 1. Select the location where you lost your files after the system restores, and click the "Start" button to scan.

select a disk to scanning deleted files

Step 2. A quick scan will be completed, but sometimes you can't find your files after it completed. Please go to scan again "All-Around Recovery" mode, it will take more time to search for more files.

scan with all-around recovery

Step 3. After the scan, preview, and check the recoverable files, click to the "Recover" button to retrieve your data back.

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Part 2. Undo System Restore in Windows 11/10/8/7/XP without Software

Reversing a System Restore can depend on your Operating System. Thus, you will find the methods specific to each OS in this section.

Section 1. Undo System Restore on Windows 11/10/8.1/8

You will find two ways to achieve a Restore reversal. You could use this section for a Windows 11, 10, 8.1 or Windows 8 machine. Either use the Boot Menu or the Control Panel.

Option 1. To Undo the System Restore, when the device is Booting up (for Windows 11, 10, 8.1 and 8)

In case your PC boasts the Windows 10 OS;

  1. Activate the Advanced Startup by using the following menu path:
  2. In the Settings, locate ‘Update & Security.’ You will find a section with ‘Recovery’ title. There, you will see the ‘Advanced Startup’ option.
    Lifewire has a great guide to help you with this option. Anyway, you restart your computer with this option. Thus, a screen like this pic will appear.

click troubleshoot

  1. And select the ‘Troubleshoot’ option.
  2. In the Advanced Options, you must choose ‘System Restore’.

select system restore

  1. Next, you log in the Administrator Account with your Password. Then, click the ‘Continue’ button for the next step.
  2. log in administrator account

    1. When you click ‘Next’ on System Restore window, you see the Restore Points. So, select the Point which you wish to undo. Then, make sure that ‘Undo’ is visible in the ‘Type’ column. (See the next image)
    2. By clicking the ‘Scan’ option, you can preview the changes. How would the Undo of Restore affect your system? You will know which programs might change by using this feature. The following screen sample includes both of these two steps, highlighted in red.

    restore point

    1. Now, you can ‘Finish’ this part, like the window below. In this Confirmation Dialogue, you will see your selected Restore Point. The description should mention ‘Undo’ in the statements. The Drives are present as a List.

    confirm the restoration

    1. After you click the ‘Finish’ button, you will see another Caution Prompt. It will warn you against pausing the process. So, remember to ensure a Stable Power Supple as well. Proceed to Click ‘Yes’. Your devices ready for a Reboot.

    complete the process

    1. Thus, you click ‘Restart’ and wait for the process to finish.

    And there you have it. The PC will return to its state prior to the Restore Point.

    For Windows 8/8.1 users:

    1. Access the ‘Run’ dialogue. You use the key combo of ‘Windows Key + R’ to do this. Once it appears, enter the following string.
    2. shutdown /r /o /t 00
      Thus, you will find the Advanced Boot options.


    1. After clicking ‘System Restore’, you will see the following screen. So, you should activate the radio button for Undo. Once done, click on the ‘Next’ button.


    You will see various steps. So, you can move between them. You will be able to verify the Affected Programs list. Yes, except for the beginning few steps, the guidelines are similar to Windows 10 steps.
    So, once you are okay with the Restore Point Details, reboot. And after the process ends and your PC is ON, you get back your Previous System Configuration.

    Option 2. Through the Control Panel, you can undo System Restore in any version of Windows [11,10,8.1 or 8]

    1. You know the three main Default Apps. Of course, we are discussing Recycle Bin, File Explorer and Control Panel. Not everyone is familiar with Command Prompt and BIOS menu. But even a simple tour of the Control Panel is enough.
    2. For the System Restore, open your Control Panel. Depending on your active View-Style, you can locate the ‘Recovery’ section. Click the sub-section, ‘Open System Restore.’


    1. By enabling the ‘Undo System Restore’, you can proceed. Click ‘Next.’


    1. You can try scanning for the soon-to-change apps. ‘Scan for affected programs’ is available.


    1. After following the on-screen instruction, click ‘Finish.’


    1. A confirmation prompt will alert you about the process. Click ‘Yes’ in that window. The process shall start. Do not interrupt it. Wait till the Undoing of Restore ends.
    2. Finally, click "Close" to finish. 
    3. You reboot and sign-in. Congratulations, as your PC recovery succeeds.

    Section 2. Undo System Restore in Windows 7

    1. You can type the key-phrase, ‘System Restore’, in the Start menu search. You will find the related result. Click it to see the available options.
    2. ‘Undo my last restoration’ is the option you need. Then, click the ‘Next’ button.
    3. Upon clicking the ‘Finish’ button, the reversal of your selected Restore Point must begin.

    As the operation finishes, your PC will reboot itself. After you log-in, the older configuration will be welcoming you.

    Section 3. Undo System Restore in Windows XP

    Yes, you can undo a System Restore in Windows XP as well. Did you try undoing it yourself? It can be difficult to undo a Restore in Windows XP. But remember: there is always a solution.
    EaseUS is your saviour. How so?
    This software tool enables you to undo a Restore on XP computer. Consider the following step-wise guide.

    1. Access the System Restore windows using the usual method;
    2. Start button > All Programs > Accessories >
      Go to the ‘System Tools’ option. You will find the System Restore option in it.
    3. You will notice an option, as ‘ Undo My Last Restoration.’  Click ‘Next’ as you move on to the step 3.
    4. You will find a ‘Next’ button, but with a modified label. Click this special ‘Undo’ button.

    The process will begin and your device will restart in a previous setup.

    1. After logging in, you should click the ‘Ok’ button. It’s in the System Restore window.

    Part 3. Common Scenarios that Cause File Loss after a System Restore

    I. No Backup

    Many people save their files on the C disk without backing them up. When a system restore is done, this disk will be formatted, the operating system erases all book-keeping information on the disk, and the files are lost.

    II. Misoperation

    When dealing with system restore, some people may accidentally choose to format all of their disks. Thus all the files on them would be deleted. Sometimes this may even mess up the partition table and the data will not be able to be properly read. Other times, users may not understand the instructions very well, omit a few steps and lose their files.

    III. Others Reasons

    In the process of a system restore, other factors like a severe virus, internal faulty components of hard disks, or the incompatibility of systems may lead to our files being lost. Some of them are editable, while some will not be.

    Tips: Back up Files before a System Restore
    Backing up your files before a system restore is a best and cheapest way to prevent your files from being lost. You can do this with a storage hard disk or professional backup software like Time Freeze. This is a professional system restore software that helps you restore your system, remove PC problems, and prevent data loss with the help of up to 1,000 restore points (snapshots). Thus, you won't have to bother retrieving lost files after the system restore is done.

Recoverit author

Amy Dennis

staff Editor

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