Read time 9 minutes

When upgrading your Windows operating system, whether it’s to the latest release, such as Windows 11, or any previous version, there is a potential risk of losing valuable data during the update process. It’s important to note that this outcome is not guaranteed every time you update your Windows machine.

When a new version is installed, the existing system files on the C: drive are replaced with the files specific to the updated version. In simple terms, a version upgrade entails a complete reformatting of the C: drive to incorporate new system files required by the upgraded platform. However, it’s worth mentioning that this update does not impact data stored on local storage drives like D or E. Occasionally, due to configuration changes or unexpected situations, some documents, pictures, and other crucial data may inadvertently be deleted from your local drives. Additionally, in some cases, users may store important files on the C: drive, and a version update can result in the permanent deletion of those files from the system. Storing data on the C: drive increases its vulnerability to deletion. Data loss can occur due to a Windows update or drive corruption. In such instances, it’s essential to know how to recover files from corrupt drives.

Now, you are aware about all the possible risks of losing data, it is time to discuss methods to recover lost files after Windows update.

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. Select Backup and Restore Files
Restore Previous Windows version from Backup and Restore.

If you have created a restore point before the upgrade, then it’s convenient to recover all your files by just going back to the previous version. Sometimes, the backup data gets corrupted due to the presence of bad sectors in Windows 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.Clieck On Backup and Restore
  2. Click on the “Restore My Files” button and choose a convenient directory to restore them.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.Click on Windows.old
  3. 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 11 Administrator accounts

When transitioning from your current Windows environment to Windows 11, you’ll be prompted to log in with a Microsoft account during the setup process. Your data from the previous installation will be transferred to the Administrator account, which is subsequently disabled after the upgrade is complete.

To retrieve data from your previous installation, you’ll need to activate the built-in local Administrator account. Here are the steps to do so:

  • 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.

You will notice that all the files originally saved in the previous Windows environment are now accessible through the Administrator account. To complete the transition, please transfer the necessary files to the freshly upgraded Windows system, which is set up using a Microsoft account.

Recover Formatted Data After Windows Upgrade – Automated Approach

The best way to retrieve lost files following a Windows upgrade is by employing a dependable third-party software solution. A reputable option such as Kernel for Windows Data Recovery software is designed to assist you in recovering data that has been lost or permanently deleted from your system’s hard drives, even in cases where the entire drive has been formatted.

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, 10 and Windows 11.

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.Windows Data Recovery Software
  2. Select the drive from where the data has been lost due to Windows upgrade and click Next.Select the drive
  3. Click Next to continue.Click On Next Button
  4. The tool will start scanning the specified drive for all possible formatted data; wait until the process gets completed.Searching Data
  5. Following the completion of the scanning process, you’ll be presented with a preview of the recovered data. Simultaneously, a pop-up will promptly appear on your screen, inquiring whether you have located the specific files you were searching for. If you have identified the necessary files in the preview pane, proceed with the next steps. If not, consider returning to the previous menu and selecting an alternative scanning mode for the file for preview
  6. 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.Click On Recover Button
  7. Provide a destination path to save the recovered file and click on the OK button.Select destination to save recovered file
  8. Your recovered file gets saved. Click OK to finish the process.recovered file saved

Wrapping Up

After applying a Windows Update, encountering data loss is an undesirable scenario that no user wants to experience. In this context, we have explored both manual and professional approaches for data recovery. In the event that the manual method proves insufficient in recovering all deleted items, it is advisable to employ the Kernel Windows Data Recovery software. The software will recover deleted files or items and present them to you in different red color for easy identification.

Kernel for Windows Data Recovery