Losing precious photos from your Windows device can be a heart-wrenching experience. Whether it’s due to accidental deletion, formatting, or a system error, the thought of losing those cherished memories can leave you devastated. But fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through a variety of DIY methods to recover your lost photos from Windows. With our step-by-step instructions and expert tips, you’ll be well-equipped to handle photo recovery like a pro.

Understanding Photo Loss Scenarios:

Before diving into the recovery methods, it’s crucial to understand the common scenarios that lead to photo loss on Windows. Accidental deletion, hardware failures, software glitches, and formatting are some of the primary culprits. By identifying the cause, you can better tailor your approach to recovering your lost photos effectively.

  1. Accidental Deletion:This is one of the most common reasons for photo loss. Users may accidentally delete photos from their devices, memory cards, or cloud storage accounts without having a backup.
  2. Corrupted Storage Devices:Photos can be lost if the storage device, such as a hard drive, memory card, or USB flash drive, becomes corrupted. Corruption can occur due to various reasons, including sudden power outages, physical damage, or software glitches.
  3. Formatting Mistakes:Accidentally formatting a storage device without proper backup can result in complete data loss, including photos.
  4. Virus or Malware Attacks:Viruses and malware can infect your storage devices, causing photo corruption or loss. Some malicious software might even specifically target image files.
  5. Hardware Failure:Hard drives, SSDs (Solid State Drives), and other storage devices can experience hardware failures over time, leading to photo loss. In such cases, photo recovery might be possible but can be costly.

Preparing for Photo Recovery:

Effective photo recovery begins with preparation. Create a backup of your current photos to prevent further loss during the recovery process. Avoid writing new data to the affected drive as it could overwrite the lost files, making recovery more challenging.

  1. Stop Using the Affected Device:As soon as you realize that your photos are lost, stop using the device where the loss occurred. This helps prevent further overwriting of data, which could make recovery more difficult.
  2. Evaluate the Backup:Check if you have any recent backups of your photos. If you have a backup, you can restore your photos from there. Make sure the backup is complete and up to date.
  3. Identify the Source:Determine the source of the photo loss. Was it due to accidental deletion, formatting, hardware failure, or some other reason? This information can help you choose the appropriate recovery method.
  4. Choose a Recovery Method:Depending on the source of the photo loss, you can decide whether to attempt recovery yourself using software tools or to seek professional assistance. There are several photo recovery software options available for different scenarios.

DIY Methods to Recover Lost Photos:

Method 1: Recycle Bin Check:

In many cases, deleted photos are not permanently gone. They might be residing in the Recycle Bin. Simply open the Recycle Bin, locate your photos, right-click, and choose “Restore.” This method is the quickest way to recover recently deleted photos.

  • Step 1: Open the Recycle Bin
  • Step 2: Browse the Contents
  • Step 3: Use Search (Optional)
  • Step 4: Select Photos to Recover
  • Step 5: Restore the Photos
  • Step 6: Check the Original Location

Method 2: File History or Backup:

If you had enabled File History or set up regular backups, you’re in luck. Access the File History or your backup drive, and navigate to the folder containing your lost photos. Restore the desired files to their original location.

  • Step 1: Access File History
  • Step 2: Restore Files
  • Step 3: Browse and select the photos to restore
  • Step 4: Restore Selected Photos

Method 3: Using Previous Versions:

Windows offers a feature called “Previous Versions” that allows you to restore files to an earlier state. Right-click the folder containing the lost photos, select “Properties,” and navigate to the “Previous Versions” tab. Choose a version of the folder before the loss occurred and restore it.

  • Step 1: Locate the Folder
  • Step 2: Access Previous Versions
  • Step 3: Select a Previous Version
  • Step 4: View or Copy Files
  • Step 5: Check Restored Photos

Method 4: Photo Recovery Software:

When all else fails, photo recovery software can be a lifesaver. Numerous reputable photo recovery tools are available and Stellar Photo Recovery is one of the best among them. Download and install the software on a different drive to avoid overwriting data. Follow the software’s instructions to scan and recover your lost photos:

  • Step1: Download and install the recovery software on your device.
  • Step 2: Select the device/Storage media from which you’re willing to recover photos.
  • Step 3: Start scanning the device to recoverable photos.
  • Step 4: Preview the recoverable photos and select the photos for recovery.
  • Step 5: Select the desired location to store the recovered photos and click “Recover”.

Best Practices to Enhance Photo Recovery Success:

  • Act Quickly: The sooner you start the recovery process, the higher your chances of success.
  • Use a Different Drive: Install recovery software on a different drive to prevent overwriting lost data.
  • Selective Recovery: Recover only the photos you need to avoid clutter and confusion.
  • Avoid Overwriting: Do not save recovered photos to the same drive they were lost on.

Preventing Future Photo Loss:

  • Regular Backups: Set up automated backups to an external drive or cloud storage.
  • Data Management: Organize and label your photo folders to minimize accidental deletions.
  • Antivirus Software: Use reputable antivirus software to prevent malware-related data loss.
  • Safe Removal: Always eject external drives properly to avoid corruption.


Losing photos on Windows doesn’t have to be a nightmare. By following the DIY methods and best practices outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can significantly improve your chances of recovering your lost memories. Remember, preparation, quick action, and a systematic approach are your allies in the journey of photo recovery. Empower yourself with knowledge and take control of your data’s destiny. Your cherished photos are just a few steps away from being back in your embrace.