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notepad file recovery

How to Recover Unsaved/Lost/Deleted Notepad (.TXT) Files

Did you accidentally delete or lose vital Notepad files? There’s no reason to panic. Just check out our detailed guide on how to restore unsaved Notepad files.
David Darlington
David Darlington Originally published Mar 22, 24, updated May 14, 24

Although not as sophisticated as Word, Notepad has been a go-to solution for decades for Windows users looking to write something down quickly without worrying about the text's structure or the document's layout.

Unlike Word, Notepad lacks Microsoft's AutoSave and AutoRecover features, making these quick notes especially vulnerable to accidental deletion and data loss. And as these .txt files often contain vital info, the problem becomes even more significant.

Nonetheless, solutions exist, and users can restore unsaved Notepad files in multiple ways. That's also the topic of our discussion, and today, we'll examine the various methods for Notepad data recovery.

In this article
    1. Restore Notepad Files From the Temporary Folder
    2. Recover From Notepad++ Autosave
    1. Recover the Previous Version of Your Notepad File
    2. Retrieve Notepad Files With Recycle Bin
    3. Find Lost Notepad Files Using Windows File Recovery
    4. Perform Notepad Files Recovery Using Windows Backups

How Notepad Files Usually Get Lost

Losing text files and documents is incredibly common, and dozens of culprits can be behind this issue. There's nothing to worry about in most cases, as there are solutions to almost any data loss situation, so let's dive right into these.

  • Closing without saving – Clicking the X button and realizing you've forgotten to save can feel terrible. However, in these situations, your files are often recoverable from the Windows Temporary folder.
  • Notepad application crashing – A system error can cause your Notepad app to crash in the middle of your work. However, the contents of your text file are still in the computer's memory, and your file should be recoverable from the Temporary folder.
  • Windows system crashing – If your PC shuts down, there won't be any text file in the Temp folder, but you can still use a data recovery tool to restore lost Notepad files.
  • Overwriting a vital text file – Making an editing mistake or accidentally saving changes over a critical text file is nothing to worry about when you've set up File History, as you can quickly restore a file's previous version.
  • Accidentally deleting a Notepad file – While far worse than an unsaved Notepad file, a deleted one is still recoverable through the Recycle Bin and with Windows Backup or a professional data recovery tool.
  • Viruses and malware – Malicious apps are a nuisance and can delete or corrupt your .txt files. However, Windows Backup and professional data recovery tools work well in these situations.

Whatever your data loss situation is, there's no need to panic, as data is often recoverable. You can browse these recovery methods below and pick the one that fits your situation.

Universal Solution for Recovering Unsaved/Lost/Deleted Notepad Files

While unsaved, lost, and deleted Notepad files all require a different approach, universal solutions that can handle all three situations also exist. These come in the form of professional data recovery apps, and they can safely approach any of these situations, so let's immediately dive into a prime example of one.

Using Wondershare Recoverit

Whether you're dealing with lost, unsaved, or deleted Notepad files, Wondershare Recoverit has your back. This universal recovery solution is perfect for restoring accidentally closed notepad files without saving. It also works to recover unsaved notepad files after restart and shutdown.

Recoverit is a reliable recovery tool when you face data loss caused by system crashes, viruses, malware, interrupted file transfers, failing disk drives, and 500+ other situations.

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Using Wondershare Recoverit is remarkably simple, and here's everything you'll need to do to recover lost, unsaved, or deleted Notepad data with it:

  1. Launch the app, click Hard Drives and Locations, and select the disk drive where you store Notepad files.
     wondershare recoverit's user interface

    Alternatively, right-click a folder with your .txt files and select the "Scan for deleted files with Recoverit" option.

     scan a folder with recoverit
  2. The app will automatically start scanning the drive for lost files.
     scan the drive for lost files
  3. You can then pinpoint the app's scan using various file filters and keywords.
     use file filters and add keywords
  4. You can also preview the data the app discovers to verify these are the files you want to restore. If they are, tap Recover to save them.
     preview the found notepad files
  5. Once the app finishes scanning, click Recover to save the files. Alternatively, you can pause or stop the scan at any moment and keep the items it has found.
     save the located textual files

That's all, and you're done. Thanks to the application's support for dozens of data loss situations, hundreds of file systems and formats, and thousands of storage devices, you can safely embark on any data recovery journey with Wondershare Recoverit, and it'll quickly restore your data.

Recovering Unsaved Notepad Files

In most cases, recovering unsaved data is more straightforward than recovering deleted data. That's because your computer stores everything you do in its memory and keeps it there until you shut it down. These files are effortlessly recoverable; just don't shut down your PC.

Restore Notepad Files From the Temporary Folder

As mentioned, your PC remembers everything you do throughout the day, which it then stores in its Temporary folder. That allows you to restore unsaved data from said folder, and here's how.

  1. Tap Windows + . on your keyboard and search for "AppData."
  2. Head into Roaming and search for textual files by typing "txt" in the search bar.
     find files in the temp folder

The time your PC stores something in its Temp folder depends on the file. It's worth noting that some files might be there for weeks, while others will be gone when you shut down your PC, so acting as soon as possible is highly recommended.

Recover From Notepad++ Autosave

Another way to restore unsaved Notepad files is with Notepad++, a more powerful version of Microsoft's Notepad. This app also works with .txt files but includes an automatic backup feature that lets users quickly recover data in a disaster. Here's how to find these backups if you've set them up:

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to C:\Users\Your_User_Name\AppData\Roaming\Notepad++\backup\.
     locate notepadd++'s backup folder
  2. Locate your .txt files and select the ones you want to restore.
  3. Copy the selected data to another HDD/SSD to restore them.

Remember that this method only works if you've previously installed Notepad++ and set up its periodic backup feature. Otherwise, don't bother with it.

Methods for Recovering Deleted/Lost Notepad Files

Recovering deleted Notepad files and other types of lost data can be challenging. Nonetheless, there are multiple ways Windows users can go about it, so let's dig in.

Recover the Previous Version of Your Notepad File

Previous Notepad file versions come into play if you've made a mistake while editing your .txt file and accidentally saved it. You can recover a file's previous version by following these steps:

  1. Locate the Notepad file and right-click it.
  2. Select the Restore previous versions option.
     restore the previous notepad file version
  3. Choose the previous version and click Apply > OK.

It's worth noting that this method only works if you've previously set up the File History feature on your Windows machine, which creates snapshots of your files and saves multiple versions in the designated folder.

Retrieve Notepad Files With Recycle Bin

A deleted file doesn't immediately disappear. Instead, it first goes into the Recycle Bin, and unless you've manually emptied it, your .txt file might still be in there.

  1. Locate the Recycle Bin on the desktop and open it.
  2. Search for your text files by putting "txt" or the file's name in the search bar.
  3. Right-click a Notepad file and tap Restore.

By default, Recycle Bin files will stay there for up to 30 days unless you've changed the settings. To increase it, you can open Settings, navigate to System > Storage > Storage Sense, and change to 1, 14, 30, and 60 days, or Never.

Find Lost Notepad Files Using Windows File Recovery

Anyone who has dealt with Command Prompt knows how challenging command-line interfaces can be for an average user. Microsoft attempted to resolve that with its Windows File Recovery tool, simplifying such a user interface. It also makes the app a fantastic option for Notepad data recovery, and here's how you can use it:

  1. Launch the Microsoft Store, look for Windows File Recovery, and download and install the tool.
  2. Open the app, and you'll see notes on how to use it.
     restore with windows file recovery
  3. Type in the following command to look for lost .txt files on the C drive and restore them to the D drive:

    winfr C: D:\RecoveryFolder /extensive /n .txt

While far simpler than CMD, as it includes examples, Windows File Recovery is still based on it. Therefore, this command-line tool might be too complex for some users.

Perform Notepad Files Recovery Using Windows Backups

Windows Backup is an excellent built-in tool that works great for Notepad data recovery, as it restores data from a system restore point you've made earlier. Here's how to use it:

  1. Open the Control Panel, head to System and Security, and find Backup and Restore.
     restore with windows backup
  2. Click the "Restore files from backup" option and follow the wizard to find, select, and restore your .txt files.

Remember that the Backup feature requires previous setup and existing backups. If you haven't used it before, you won't be able to restore Notepad files with it.


While Notepad is a simple and easy-to-use text editor for jolting down quick notes, it also lacks AutoSave and AutoRecover features, making Notepad files much more prone to data loss. Because of this, users often struggle with unsaved, lost, and deleted Notepad data.

In most cases, these files are recoverable. Unsaved Notepad data can often be found in the Temp folder, and that's even easier for users with Notepad++ due to the app's backup feature. Things are more complex regarding lost or deleted Notepad data.

However, methods like recovering from the Recycle Bin, through File History and Windows Backup, or with the Windows File Recovery app are all viable options.

Fortunately, universal solutions also exist, and Wondershare Recoverit is a fantastic example. With such an app at your disposal, you'll never again have to worry about data loss and can effortlessly recover unsaved, lost, and deleted Notepad files.

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  • Where Are Notepad Documents Saved?
    By default, your Notepad documents will be saved in the Documents folder, which you can access by opening Windows' File Explorer and clicking the Documents folder in the Quick Access menu on the left. However, your unsaved Notepad documents will likely be in C:\Users\Your_User_Name\AppData\.
  • Can I Recover Unsaved Notepad Files?
    Yes, you can recover unsaved notepad files. Microsoft has recently added the AutoSave feature to Notepad in Windows 11, and your contents will be available the next time you open Notepad, even if you haven't saved your changes. On older versions of Windows, unsaved Notepad files can be recovered from the Temporary folder or through backups, Windows File Recovery, or Recycle Bin.
  • Can I Back Up Notepad Files?
    Absolutely. Notepad files can be backed up just like any other type of file. All you need is a dedicated backup application, like Wondershare UBackit, and you can safely and efficiently back up your vital Notepad documents to a safe location on your PC, USB, or network.
David Darlington
David Darlington May 14, 24
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