How to Recover Files Lost or Missing After Restarting Computer

Up until a few days back, my computer was working fine. But, then I have started to encounter sudden crashes. In one such instance of a random laptop crash, I chose to restart the computer, but what happened next, was unexpected, some very crucial files were missing after the restart. And, not just from the folder I was working on but also from my desktop. Is there any way, I can get those files back?

Are files missing after restarting your Windows 11/10 PC? You are not alone. Based on the experience of several users who have undergone the same situation, this could point towards a few problems such as –

  • Issues pertaining to system-related files
  • Failing hard drive
  • Power failure
  • Software issues
  • Malicious threats

In this post, we’ll try and delve into each of these issues and see what can be done to tackle each of them. Depending on how you landed into “data lost after restarting Windows”, you can pick up a solution and check if it works out for you.

How to Recover Files Lost or Missing After Restarting Computer

1. Switch User Account


After a sudden computer crash, you might not be able to login into your user account and may come across a message saying We can’t sign in to your account. What happens, in this case, is that Windows creates a temporary profile and then, logs you into that. Here, you’ll be met with an empty desktop and empty folders thereby making you think that all your data is gone.

Now, that you are aware of this possibility, you can try switching user profiles, till the time this problem is resolved.

2. Perform A System Restore

Perform A System Restore

A System Restore can help you fix system issues because of which you are unable to log in to your profile or are possibly losing files. Here we have talked about how you can create and restore System Restore points on Windows 11. Don’t have Windows 11 yet? Want to know how to create and use System Restore on Windows 10, you can refer to this post.

3. Use A Data Recovery Tool

A data recovery software is helpful in most cases and it will get your data back if it’s retrievable.

If you have lost all hope of retrieving your crucial data, hold on! Because there are data recovery programs that might be able to get your lost data back. So, yes! Chances of getting back your lost data are still high.

Take Advanced Disk Recovery, for example. It is regarded as one of the best data recovery tools that can help you recover deleted or lost data. The tool is capable of tackling all major situations that can lead to loss of data such as data lost after restarting Windows. To know more about its features, you can check out this post which throws light on why Advanced Disk Recovery is the ultimate utility to retrieve lost data.

Also Read: How Does Advanced Disk Recovery Fairs Up When Compared To A Competitor?

How To Use Advanced Disk Recovery To Retrieve Files Missing After Restart?

1. Download, run and install Advanced Disk Recovery.

2. Choose the area you want to scan for lost files and folders and also choose the drive as well. Refer to the screenshot below for the same –

files missing after restart

3. Click on the blue-colored Start Scan Now button.

4. Choose the type of scan based on whether you want to perform an in-depth scan for which a Deep Scan is recommended. However, you can also opt for a Quick Scan if time is a constraint for you and you want to recover recent files. Once, you have selected the type of scan, click on the Scan now button.

recover data lost after restarting windows

5. Select the files that you want to recover. To ensure that you have selected the right files to recover, you can Preview the files as well by clicking on the button of the same name. And, if you are sure of the files to recover, click on the Recover button. 

Please note: Do not retrieve data on the same drive from where the files were deleted or lost.

6. One of the best aspects of Advanced Disk Recovery is that, once it restores the files, it gives you a report of the total deleted files found, recovered, etc.

7. If you are done with the total number of files you wanted to recover, click on the Finish button else you can click on Recover more files to continue searching for lost or deleted files.

files missing after restarting computer

4. Uninstall Any Recent Software

Did you install software from a suspicious source? Or, did you install software that doesn’t comply with the hardware requirements of your laptop? Chances are this software is the reason why files are missing after restarting your computer. We’d urge you to immediately remove this software from your computer. Now, there are two ways to do this –

(i) You can take the help of Control Panel

1. In the Windows search bar type Control Panel and click on Open from the right-hand side.

Control Panel

2. Click on the dropdown next to View by and select Category

View by Category

3. Under Programs click on Uninstall a program.

Uninstall a program

4. From the list of programs, select a program that you have recently installed and that you think could be creating problems.

select a program for uninstall

5. Click on the Uninstall button from the top.

While this step will not help you get the lost files back, it will stop the danger from spreading further and this might also help in resolving frequent crashes that your laptop is currently going through.  

(ii) Use An Uninstaller Utility

Iobit Uninstaller

Under normal circumstances, even after you have uninstalled the software using Control Panel, it may leave behind its remnants. So, this may defeat your purpose of completely getting rid of the problematic software. Here, you can bring into force a third-party uninstaller software that’ll delete the issue-creating software from its roots.

5. Use An Antivirus Software

Malicious threats can spew all sorts of issues on your computer – Desktop files missing after restart or other files that are gone forever (or, into some malicious actor’s clutches) are just the tip of the iceberg. Here, something that can save your computer and your data is an Antivirus utility.

And, since we are talking about Windows 11/10, you can put your faith in an Antivirus utility like Systweak Antivirus. It checks all the points that a good Antivirus program exhibits. For one, it will track and remove the malicious threat, before it extends itself to your whole computer.

Systweak Antivirus

Interested in its features, pricing, and other aspects, check this post out!

6. Fix Hard Drive Issues

Frequent system crashes or even constant slow performance could be indicative of the fact that your hard drive is failing. It would be best if you are able to fix and repair hard disk errors on your Windows laptop or desktop before the situation arises, where you are left with no other option but to replace the hard drive. And, if it’s a fairly old hard drive, we’d urge you to replace it to mitigate any chances of grave issues that may surface later.  For starters, you can run SFC Scan that’ll help you get face-to-face with any hard disk or system file issues –

1. Type Command Prompt in the Windows search bar and select Run as administrator from the right-hand side.

Command Prompt

2. When the Command Prompt opens, type the sfc /scannow command.


3. Wait for the scan to get over.

Wrapping Up

The intent of this blog was not just to help you recover files missing after your Windows restarts but also to stop any grave dangers in their tracks before they cause any harm to your computer. If you found the blog to be helpful, do give it a thumbs up, share the tactics that you’d use to recover lost data, and more importantly deal with such issues. Also, in case you come across a friend or colleague who is facing the same issue, do share this post with them as well. For more such content, keep reading WeTheGeek.

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