How to Recover Deleted or Lost Files after a Windows Update?

This article was contributed by Errol Flynn who is a principal at datapartner with a focus on developing products and applications for data security.

Many users like and therefore quickly upgraded to the successor of once it got released. The OS definitely comes with a beautiful UI and the overall design is great. If after the update important files are missing as it happens in some cases, you might regret switching to Windows 11 quickly.

Many factors can cause missing files/data, but Windows update is surely one of the most painful possible causes of data loss. After upgrading their system, some people report that files and shortcuts have disappeared from the desktop or missing settings. Also, the taskbar and startup might have been reset to their default behavior.

Regarding your personal files, luckily you don´t need to worry too much as there is usually a way to recover them easily. Most probably, they will be still there on your drive and not been permanently deleted. If you know how to do it you can recover those hidden files quite easily.

One of the easiest ways is to use dedicated software which can recover lost files after the Windows 11 update.

Part 1: Possible causes why Files get Deleted / Lost after a Windows Update

There are several reasons why documents might not appear or seem lost. Usually, you don't need to worry and can fully restore lost files after a Windows 11 upgrade. Here are some of the possible causes of data loss on Windows.

  • You may have signed in with a temporary Windows account.
  • The account you used before the update is currently inactive.
  • Documents might have moved to different locations.
  • During the upgrade to Windows 11, files were accidentally deleted.

Part 2: How to Recover Deleted or Lost Files after Windows Update with Tenorshare 4DDiG?

Tenorshare 4DDiG is useful software for helping you recover deleted or lost files after installing an update. It is easy to cancel/lose important files by accident, harming your productivity and access to important documents. By using Tenorshare 4DDiG you can recover files lost due to accidental deletion, formatting errors, lost disk partition, corruption, system crashes, malware attacks, and other factors.

Tenorshare 4DDiG Features:

  • Corrupted data: Recover data from virus files, corrupted documents, and accidentally deleted information.
  • Powerful device detection: Scan data from laptops, computers, formatted storage media, and external media, such as USB drives and CDs / DVDs.
  • Media recovery: Recover audio images and video from damaged storage media.
  • Different file formats: Recover many types of files, including office documents, and compressed RAR / ZIP files.
  • Preview recoverable files: Preview and recover files to a secure location.

Steps for recovering lost data from Windows update

Step 1: Select a local disk

Start by installing Tenorshare 4DDiG Windows Data Recovery. Launch the program to see the home interface shown below. Here you can see the main features including the hard drive list. Select the disk where your data was lost and click “Start”.

On the next menu, choose the file types you want to check and click “Scan Selected File Types” to begin the scan. Alternatively, you can choose “All File Types” to scan the whole system.  

Step 2: Scan the local disk


4DDiG automatically checks the drive to find missing data, although you can pause or stop the search at any time if you locate the files you want to restore. There are other commands at your disposal, allowing you to see Removed Files, Building Files, Lost Position, RAW Files, or you can Label Files under Tree View. File View makes it simple to quickly see different formats, such as video, photo, document, audio, dispatch, and more. There is also a search function in 4DDiG to help you locate target files or use filters to refine your search.


Step 3: Preview then Recover Files from the local disk


Once the scan is complete, you will see any lost files Tenorshare 4DDiG has found and restore them to your Windows PC. If your disk is full, you can restore the files to another location/disk.


Part 3: How to Recover Deleted or Lost Files after Windows Update without Data Recovery Software?

Method 1: Remove the Temporary Account

It is possible to lose files following a Windows 11 update, or even when restarting your PC. Having a temporary Windows account could contribute to this issue. Removing the account could resolve file loss issues:

Step 1: Check if your backup is on a temporary account.

Step 2: Select Start> Settings> Accounts and Sync. If you see the message above, “You are logged in with the temporary profile. Roaming options are not available right now”, restart your PC and sign in again. Doing so should delete the account, and your documents should also be accessible.

Step 3: Sync your Settings page by toggling sync settings.

Step 4: Reboot your PC and sign in again. If you see the message, “We cannot sign into your account,” the problem can be fixed by logging out and then logging in to your account (several times if necessary). 


Method 2: Find deleted files after Windows 11 update using search

If you are not logged into Windows with a temporary account, you may be able to find missing files by searching directly in the taskbar. Using the search box in the taskbar, type the file name or type and search. For example, if you are recovering a lost Excel file, type the name of the document (as saved) or *.xlsx (see image below).

Type your search into the taskbar box and then select Target Options. Click the Advanced Administrator icon to see other options, and choose Troubleshooting and listing. Follow the on-screen steps to complete the process. Using this method, you can restore deleted files after the Windows 11 update.

Method 3: Restore Lost Files after Windows Update with Backup

Go to the Start Menu, open Settings > Upgrade and security > Save a copy, then select Reinforce and Reset (Windows 7 only). Select Restore My Archives and follow the instructions to recover lost files. This method allows you to recover files by creating another with the same name and editing it. Once you have the new file, follow these steps:

Step 1: Select Properties.

Step 2: Select the previous versions tab.

Step 3: Click “Restore my files” to select the document type to recover. 

Method 4: active/enable Administrator Account Created for Upgrade

Enabling the administrator account on Windows 11 is another method for accessing and restoring lost files:

Step 1: Type “Computer Management” in the taskbar and open it.

Step 2: Access the location of Local Users and Groups.

Step 3: Double-tap Users to the right of the window.

Step 4: Double-tap “Administrator” to get Properties.

Step 5: Uncheck the box “Account Closed” Once checked.

Step 6: Click “Apply,” and click “OK”

Step 7: Sign in with the Administrator account and try to recover your lost documents.


Windows updates are necessary for your computer, improving functionality, enhancing security, and adding new features. Being able to recover lost files after a Windows 11 update is knowledge you should have in your toolbox.

File loss can happen after upgrading to Windows 11, but the fixes above give you the solutions to recover those files. Thanks to the simple strategies on this page, you can recover files following a Windows update. For example, if data is lost after Windows 11 update, Tenorshare 4DDiG data recovery software is the most effective option.

About the author

Errol Flynn is a principal at datapartner, developing products and applications for data security. A long-time entrepreneur serving the data recovery industry, he has been responsible for the development and maintenance of data-related products for the past ten years.