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Q: Ctrl Z in Explorer didn't undo - it deleted and I cannot restore the files! This thread is locked from future replies

I accidentally overwrote a file I was trying to move the other direction. I hit ctrl+Z to undo. This instead deleted all of the files in the folder!! They are nowhere on the computer. They are not in the Recycle Bin. File recovery had nothing.  Please help me!


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Hi Mélanie,

Welcome to Microsoft community forums.

If the deleted files are not in the recycle bin or if you are not able to search these files, read the following:

Microsoft Windows doesn’t support data recovery.

When a file is deleted from your computer, its contents aren't immediately destroyed. Windows simply marks the hard drive space as being available for use by changing one character in the file table. If you manage to start an undelete process before Windows overwrites that part of hard disk with new files. You can set that flag back to "on" and get your file.

You can try searching the website for third party data recovery tools and check if it helps:

 

Disclaimer: Using Third Party Software, including hardware drivers can cause serious problems that may prevent your computer from booting properly. Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the use of Third Party Software can be solved. Using Third Party Software is at your own risk.

 

Hope this information helps. If you need further assistance with Windows, let us know and will be glad to help.

John Rubdy
Forum Moderator | Microsoft Community

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Thank you for your quick reply. I did install this third party software but it wasn't able to find anything but the newest version of the file that I just created.

The biggest question I have is not how to recover the file so much as why was it deleted in the first place? I did not delete this file. Why would ctrl +Z the delete files? Where did they go? 

This is not the first time windows 8 has randomly deleted files. It has gotten to the point where I simply do not trust this operating system.

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Hi Melanie,

Thanks for the update. I would like you to know couple of things about undo and redo:


1) The CTRL-Z undo function replaces the cut data to the exact place it was cut from. If you tried to do the Ctrl-Z to a different spot it doesn't replace on the 1st attempt and may not replace at all. This means you never really completed the undo function properly and the file should be still on your clipboard until you changed, overwrote or restart the computer. You could have used Redo function by pressing Ctrl + V.


2) You could have accidentally dropped your file in the wrong place / folder. If it was a small file you wouldn't even see it.


3) Most deleted files can be recovers on memory devices. Smart move not to write over on either device until you attempt to retrieve your files using a recovery software.

 

Hope this information helps. If you need further assistance with Windows, let us know and will be glad to help.

John Rubdy
Forum Moderator | Microsoft Community

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Oh MélanieHope - I'm only replying to commiserate with you on this shockingly absurd design flaw in Windows 8/7/XP - I just lost and entire set of photos from our family vacation when I accidently hit Control-Z (thought a different window was active) and when I tried to hit Control-Y redo it could no longer find the SD card location (of course).

astounding - there is no warning that WIndows 8 will permanently delete your files in this scenario. (!!??)

A simple warning pop-up box would suffice. That's all - misery avoided.

It's simple (but brutal) little design flaws like this that really infuriate people - and that residual head-crushing angst that slowly sets in is a feeling of being trapped - because due to the "miracle of the free market" we have a whopping two (2) OS's to chose from - the switching cost often too substantial for most to bare - the non-existent competition always pushing the string of "innovation" - pardon the cynicism (it's useless or worse, I know). Really shoulda deleted this useless venting paragraph. 

Although any response is appreciated (thank you John) it's this peculiar kind of sterility in the tone and content (all with goodwill) that somehow triggers this limbic level urge to take a butcher knife to my laptop screen. Again, my problem, not John's - he's bringing positive energy with good intent (very appreciated).

What I want to hear from John or his equivalent / the Windows product team / Congress / the UN / anyone is: 

"yes, I know, insane right? I'm so sorry, this **** is ridiculous, you'd think we'd pay especially close attention to any and all scenarios where users could accidentally lose personal files permanently (especially non-recreatable photos) because we know nothing elses triggers more rage - regardless we'll be escalating the warning feature (pop-up/dialogue box)  for irrevocable Control Z deletions in release XXX.XXX.XX - thank you for highlighting another silly (but often brutal) oversight in our software - we know this has been an issue for many years - time to finally correct it!" 

I am not some fumbling senior-citizen who gets the right and left mouse button functions mixed up regularly - I'm a systems and software architect (15 years) and I'm reminded of the basic principle of isolating those scenarios that would cause the most rage/despair/violent equipment destruction in your user/the human being (there are an isolatable few situations) and give special attention to eliminating/accommodating those events - even for the feeble, techno-clumsy among us - like me.

seriously, please - just build a warning pop up box.

That's all, please.

don't' let this happen to another person. (not another "user") - we are real people clicking on important virtual stuff - people with 8 year old sons who were body surfing in Lake Michigan last week - the pictures were amazing - you shoulda seen em.

Thank You 

I love you - all of you.

 

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Just had a lot of work wiped out by this pathetic situation. I've used every windows since 3.7, and now use Windows 10 and never discovered this flaw. A warning box would have prevented this, and the loss of all the photos and files that previous commenters have reported. Where is the logic here, Microsoft?

This post sounds a lot calmer than I actually feel at the moment.

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So, now I want to know, if I had continued to press Ctrl-Z, would Explorer have continued to delete parent folders upward and onward until my entire hard drive was empty? This is utterly ridiculous!

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I've now run into this problem as well. I pressed Ctrl+Z a number of times in an attempt to undelete a photo I'd accidentally deleted from my phone, which was connected to my computer in Media Transfer Protocol mode. I realized then that the Recycle Bin didn't work when the phone is connected in this mode; everything is permanently deleted. So I snapped the picture again.

Then I noticed that some of the folders I'd recently been working in were incorrectly named. I thought this was odd, and I renamed them.

Then I went to look at the schoolwork I'd done earlier. The folder I'd created for it was gone, completely gone. Since I'd renamed that one folder, my chance to Redo (Ctrl+Y) was eliminated. All my work had vanished. It wasn't in the Recycle Bin, it wasn't in the parent folder. I'm trying to undelete using Recuva, but it hasn't worked yet. This is a glaring and perplexing design flaw that needs to be fixed.

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I agree this is crazy. Here's what I did:

- Inserted memory card

- Copied a couple of files over to my PC

- Ejected memory card

- Edited the files for a while

- Accidentally hit Ctrl-Z in Explorer rather than Word

- Edited files were deleted from my system, and can't be recovered

- Cursed Windows 10 and started over editing my files.

Come on, Windows devs, can't you see how dumb this situation is?

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Microsoft: Please fix this problem. I spent all night taking astrophotos, cut them from my camera, pasted them into a folder, tried to add some files to the folder but realized they were the wrong ones, hit undo one to many times to the point where I undid the creation of the folder and LOST EVERYTHING. They're not on the camera, there are not in the recycle bin, they are not anywhere. FIX THIS!

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I just made the mistake because I was in Win 10 solitaire undoing with CTRL-Z and popped open my Explorer window where I was processing scanned slides not thinking while still holding the keys.  Suddenly a fair number of files I had processed and saved disappeared.  At first I didn't have any idea what had happened but a search for them was fruitless.  I had done it previously for about a dozen files I rescanned a couple of nights earlier but never understood what had happened.  My wife had just dumped the old slides and they were in the garbage truck and I really wanted some of those pictures.  So from another link I found someone mentioning Recuva, a utility similar to the old Norton recovery programs.  I got the free version and it is running now but initial indications are I can probably get all or most of the "undone" files.  If you accidentally have this happen pick up this great tool.

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Views: 6212 Last updated: January 15, 2018 Applies to: