Accidently deleted important files from your PC running on Windows 8.1 and failed to retrieve them from Recycle Bin? Don't worry! Here I'd like to share 3 workable and useful ways with you in the following 3 parts.
Part 1: Utilize Windows 7 file recovery in Windows 8.1 to freely recover Windows 8.1 files
Confused at "Windows 7 file recovery in Windows 8.1"? It is Windows 8.1's hidden function of System Image that allows you to undelete files on Windows 8.1. The following are the specific steps.
Step 1: Navigate to Control Panel >> System and Security >> File History and click "Windows 7 File Recovery" on the bottom left.
Tips: This is the only way to get to old System Image since searching the operating system for "System Image" turns out zero result. And if you search "backup" or "file history", you'll get to Windows 8 File History feature.
Step 2: Then you'll get an interface as the picture shows, click "Restore my files" and follow the prompts to recover deleted files in Window 8.1.
But note that restoring Windows 8.1 files from System Image is an all-or-nothing proposition, there's no saying of restoring individual files and it doesn't work if you've never backed up Windows 8.1 files with Windows 7 File Recovery before. In that case, you can refer to Part 3.
Part 2: Recover deleted files in Windows 8.1 via File History
File History is a new backup tool in Windows 8.1 that automatically backs up files to a network drive or external hard drive every 10 minutes. In other words, with File History, you can easily recover deleted files from Windows 8.1 as long as you've set up a File History drive or turned File History on.
Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap "Search" and enter "restore your files" in the search box. Then choose "Restore" your files with File History.
Tips: If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner and move the mouse pointer down, then click "Search")
Step 2: Enter the file name directly or use the left and right arrows to browse all the folders and files in File History to find the files you want to retrieve from Windows 8.1.
Step 3: Select your target files and click "Restore" to recover deleted Windows 8.1 files to their original location.
Tips: If you want to recover deleted files to another location, right-click "Restore" and choose "Restore to" to specify a new path.
However, File History is not complete backup tool as it only backs up files (Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, Desktop folders and the OneDrive files included) available offline on your PC. To ensure the 100% of Windows 8.1 file recovery, you can take the following way as alternative.
Part 3: Perform Windows 8.1 file recovery with Windows 8.1 data recovery software
Taking everything into consideration, I think Windows 8.1 data recovery software would be your best choice to recover deleted files in Windows 8.1. It empowers you to SELECTIVELY recover deleted files, excel files, folders, emails, apps, etc. from Windows 8.1 WITHOUT BACKUP as Part I and Part 2 require. The detailed steps are laid out as below.