Best Way to Recover Deleted PDF Files on Windows


If you accidentally deleted PDF files or can no longer find them due to a sudden system crash, this guide explains the best way to recover deleted files.

The methods listed in the post are simple, effective, and workable. We tested them before listing them.

What is PDF, and where does Adobe save unsaved PDFs?

The format has become popular since Adobe developed Portable Document Format (PDF). From business houses to students, everyone uses them as they make file transferring, sharing, browsing, and collaborating easy. This is why things get complicated when a PDF file is deleted or lost: Adobe only saves unsaved PDFs at “C: UsersUser NameApp DataRoamingAdobeAcrobat1X.0Auto Save” and doesn’t provide a way to recover PDF files. Fortunately, there are other methods that help recover lost, unsaved, and deleted PDF files.

Read Here- How To Recover Lost Files After Upgrading Windows

I don’t have a backup of PDF files. Is recovery of deleted PDF files possible?

Yes. Deleted files, whether PDF or in any other format, can be recovered even without a backup if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  1. The space on which data was stored earlier should not be overwritten by new data.
  2. Deleted PDF files should not be saved on TRIM-enabled solid state disk (SSD)
  3. The HDD, the external drive on which the PDF was stored, must be readable.

How to Recover Deleted PDF Files In Windows

Method 1. Recovering PDF Files From Recycle Bin

If the PDF file is moved to the recycle bin or is not permanently deleted using Shift + Delete, you can restore it from the Recycle Bin. To learn how to do that, follow these steps:

1. Double-click Recycle Bin on the Desktop.

2. Look for the deleted PDF file you need to restore.
3. Right-click > Restore.

This will restore the file to its original location.

Method 2. Recover deleted PDF files using Windows Backup

To help users restore their files, Windows comes with Backup and Restore functionality. If you use it, you will be surprised to see how it can help you navigate such situations.

Note – The Backup and Restore feature will only work if enabled before losing the file.

1. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run window.

2. Type Control Panel and click OK.

3. Under System and Security, click Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

backup-restore feature Windows

4. Click Restore my files option to access the recovery file interface.


5. You will now be able to see the backup files. If you cannot view them, you can use Search, Browse for files or Browse for folders options.
Search-file-in-backup-restore6. Select the file you want to get back and click Restore. After that, select from the two options – In the original location or In the following location. If you go with the latter, click Browse and select the target location.

Method 3 – Restoring lost PDF documents through File History

Another way to restore PDF files is to use the File History feature. When enabled, this feature saves a screenshot of the files saved in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Video, and Desktop folders on an external drive. If you know it was enabled, follow the steps to retrieve files using it:

1. Press Windows + E to open File Explorer.

2. Look for the folder where the PDF files were saved.

3. Right-click it and select Restore previous versions. If you are a Windows 11 user, you will need to click Show more options to get the restore option.

4. Select the previous version you want to restore and click Open or Open in File History.

5. Look for the deleted file, select it, and drag and drop it to where you want to save it. Alternatively, you can use the Restore button. (The options will vary depending on how you access deleted files.)

Method 4 – Reteriving Unsaved PDF files through the Autosave feature

1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader.


2. If the file you were working on was unsaved and due to a sudden shutdown or application crash, you will get a prompt to recover autosave file.

3. Click Yes and save the file to a safe and new location.


Recovering Lost PDF Files using Advanced Disk Recovery

So, the above step will only work if the file is still in the Recycle Bin. However, if it has been emptied, you can return your deleted PDF files using a data recovery tool. One such tool is Advanced Disk Recovery. We recommend it over other similar data recovery tools for several reasons.

Advanced Disk Recovery is easy to use and conceals the complicated data recovery process behind a single button. The data recovery tool hides the complex data recovery process behind a single button. Also, it identifies recoverable data. It doesn’t matter what type of storage device the PDF files are deleted; it scans internal hard drives, USB flash drives, & SD cards.

Must Read- How to Recover Deleted PSD Files

Besides recovering PDF files, Advanced Disk Recovery can recover hundreds of other file formats, including:

Image file formats like JPEG, PNG, and GIF;
Audio file formats
Video file formats
Document file formats

To use Advanced Disk Recovery and restore permanently deleted PDF files, follow these steps:

Advanced Disk Recovery offers two scan options:

Quick Scan and Deep Scan

Quick Scan helps retrieve deleted files quickly from an assigned location.

The Deep Scan option conducts thorough research and helps you recover all the data you thought was permanently deleted.

1. Download, install, and launch Advanced Disk Recovery.

2. Select the areas and location where you want to recover a deleted file or folder.

3. You will get two options to select from. Select the one that suits your needs.

adr scan
4. After selecting the scan mode, click Scan now to scan the selected drive and storage device for deleted PDF files. Wait for the scan to complete.

adr scan process
5. You will now see a list of deleted files. Select the deleted files you want to recover > hit the ‘Recover’ button.

deleted file found
6. Select where you want to save the recovered PDF files. Ensure it is not the same drive from which you are recovering data.

recover location

Advanced Disk Recovery will show a confirmation message after the files have been recovered.

file still remaining

Using Advanced Disk Recovery, you can get deleted Excel and other files back.

How To Recover Unsaved Word Document On Windows 10

Additional Tip –

Easiest Way to Repair Corrupt PDF files

Opening a corrupted or damaged PDF is as difficult as recovering a deleted PDF. As the file is corrupted due to a problem with a storage device, sudden shutdown, malware, software errors, etc., repairing it is complex if you don’t have the right tool.

The best way to repair a corrupted PDF is to restore the backup. However, you can use Systweak PDF Editor if you don’t have one. This tool will help repair PDFs and let you edit content, password-protect, extract, split, compress, move, sign, crop, and do much more. It is worth giving a try.

Ways to keep PDF Protected from Accidental Removal and Corruption

  1. Always create a backup of important documents locally and on cloud storage.
  2. Use a reliable anti-virus tool to protect the PC.
  3. Unplug the external drive safely.
  4. If you get any warning signs of drive failure, backup your data.
  5. Once in a while, check your disk for errors using the CHKDSK command.
  6. Depending on the drive usage, disk defragmentation should be performed once every month.

Get Back Your Lost PDF Files

Data loss is common, and it is unpredictable. Therefore, we suggest you keep multiple data backups and always have a reliable data recovery tool handy. This will help recover lost files quickly. With Advanced Disk Recovery installed and running on your PC, you can save yourself from the complicated data recovery process. The tool not only helps PDF files in just a few simple steps without any risks or hassles. It even helps restore other file formats and is safe to use the tool.

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About The Author

Preeti Seth
Preeti Seth

A UX writer who loves explaining technical details in a clear, crisp, and concise manner. She loves writing about technical troubleshooting, How-To's, product reviews, etc. In her free time, she loves reading, meditating, and traveling.

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