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Recover Lost Files After Windows Update

Akash Tiwari Akash Tiwari Updated On - 19 Dec 2019

If you are upgrading your Windows platform either with an updated release (Windows 10) or with a previous version such as Windows 7, you might lose some of your valuable data after the Windows update. This scenario, however, is not necessarily true every time you update your Windows machine.

Whenever a version update is done, the existing system files on the C: drive gets replaced with new system files associated with the updated version. In simple terms, a version upgrade formats the C: drive completely to add new system files that are going to be used by the newly upgraded platform. However, the version update doesn’t affect the data on local storage drives such as D or E. Sometimes due to configurational changes or unexpected situations, some of the documents, pictures, and other important data may get deleted from your local drives. Also, there are cases where users tend to keep some of their important files in C: drive, a version update can delete those files permanently from your system. Keeping your data in C: drive makes it more prone to deletion, apart from Windows update, data loss can also because of corruption in drives, in such scenarios you must know how to restore files from corrupt drives

Now that we have discussed the risk of version update in terms of loss of data, its time to discuss the workarounds to bring the formatted data back to its original location.

Recover Formatted Data After Windows Upgrade– The Manual Approach

Some of the standard manual approaches to recover data after Windows update are listed below:

  • Back up your data before upgrading to any version of Windows.
  • Restore Previous Windows version from Backup and Restore.
  • Recover Windows data from “Windows.old” Folder.
  • Allow access to Windows 10 Administrator accounts.

Back up your data before upgrading to any version of Windows.

If you have already created a backup for your files, then it’s very effortless to restore files even after upgrading your Windows environment. For Windows 7 to any higher version upgrade, here is how you can back up your entire data to the System Restore Point.

  1. In Control Panel, reach System and Security > Backup and Restore.
  2. Click the “Set up backup” to back up your files.
  3.  Select Backup and Restore Files

Restore Previous Windows version from Backup and Restore.

If you previously have created a restore point (before upgrading your Windows), then it’s quite convenient to recover all your files by going back to the previous version. Sometimes, the backup data gets corrupted or damaged due to the presence of damaged or bad sectors in Windows hard drives, this can be eliminated if you know how to fix and repair bad sectors in Windows. You can restore your previous version of windows from the System Restore Point by following these simple steps:

  1. From the Start menu, go to Control Panel >> Backup and Restore.
  2. Clieck On Backup and Restore

  3. Click on the “Restore My Files” button and choose a convenient directory to restore them.
  4. Click on Restore my Files

    To use this feature, you must set up a back up in advance. Otherwise, there won’t be any backup to restore from.

Recover Files from “Windows.old” Folder

If you are upgrading your Windows using the Custom upgrade, the setup will backup a copy of your previous installation in the Windows.old folder. This backup folder exists only for ten days after the upgrade process. Therefore, if you are looking for a backup after upgrading your Windows, make sure to look for your files in Windows.old folder before they’re permanently gone.

To locate the Windows.old folder soon after the upgrade, follow the steps given below:

  1. Launch Windows Explorer and navigate to the Local Disk C:
  2. Open the C: drive and look for Windows.old folder.
  3. Click on Windows.old

  4. Open the Windows.old folder and look for the files you wish to restore, select the files and move them to a convenient location in the current Windows installation.

Try to access the Windows.old folder within ten days after the upgrade, after that the folder is automatically deleted from your “Local Disk C:

Note: If you are doing the clean installation, then the setup will not back up any data from the previous installation.

Allow access to Windows 10 Administrator accounts

If you are upgrading from the existing Windows environment to Windows 10, the setup will ask you to sign-in using a Microsoft account. The data from the previous installation will end up moving to the Administrator account, which is automatically disabled after the new upgrade.
To recover data from the previous installation, you need to enable the built-in local Administrator account. Follow the steps as:

  • Go to Start >> Click on the Search box >> Type Computer Management and click on the Computer Management icon.
  • Navigate: Computer Management >> Local Users and Groups >> Users.
  • Right-click on the Administrator account and select Properties.
  • Select Properties

  • Uncheck the Account is disabled check box and click OK to save the changes.
  • Uncheck the Account is disabled

  • Sign-out of the current Microsoft account and sign-in with the Administrator account.

Now, you will see that all those files that were originally saved to the previous Windows environment are accessible with the Administrator account. Move the required files to the newly upgraded Windows, which is configured using the Microsoft account.

Recover Formatted Data After Windows Upgrade – Automated Approach

The most recommended way, however, to recover your formatted data after Windows upgrade is to use a reliable third-party tool. A trusted third-party tool like Kernel for Windows Data Recovery software will help you recover lost or permanently deleted data from your system hard drives, even after formatting the entire drive.

It is a reliable tool to recover lost or permanently deleted data from internal as well as external storage devices. The tool supports Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and Windows 10.

For quick and easy recovery, here is how the tool works:

  1. Launch Kernel for Windows Data Recovery and select an appropriate mode to recover your files.
  2. Windows Data Recovery Software

  3. Select the drive from where the data has been lost due to Windows upgrade and click Next.
  4. Select the drive

  5. Click Next to continue.
  6. Click On Next Button

  7. The tool will start scanning the specified drive for all possible formatted data; wait until the process gets completed.
  8. Searching Data

  9. After the scanning, you will get a preview of all recovered data. Also, a pop-up will immediately flash on your screen, asking, whether you found the files you were looking for. Look for the files in the preview pane, if you found the required files move further, else go back and choose a different mode to scan the drive.
  10. select file for preview

  11. The recovered folders, along with their sub-folders, are shown in the left-hand side pane. You can preview the data now. Select the data you wish to recover and click on the Recover button.
  12. Click On Recover Button

  13. Provide a destination path to save the recovered file and click on the OK button.
  14. Select destination to save recovered file

  15. Your recovered file gets saved. Click OK to finish the process.
  16. recovered file saved

Wrapping Up

Loss of data after Windows upgrade is a common scenario; if a backup has already been created by the user on his/her Windows machine, data recovery becomes a few-click task in such situations. Now, if the user has never created a backup of the Windows data and upgraded to a new version of Windows, then the loss is irreversible unless you don’t have a reliable third-party tool to do your task.