How To Recover Deleted PDF Files [Windows & Mac]

Last updated on December 5, 2023

Summary :

Have you ever accidentally deleted PDF files? If so, how did you solve it? Wanting to restore the deleted PDF files is not an easy thing. After testing, we have summarized the following 4 more effective and relatively simple ways.

Table of Contents

How To Recover Deleted PDF Files

How To Recover Deleted PDF Files

PDF has become one of the mainstream file formats for work and study life. It can facilitate you to share information, browse, and collaborate. However, if you accidentally delete or lose a more important or are viewing the PDF file, you will certainly feel very panicky.

At this point, this article plays a big role. You will see three efficient and easy-to-operate ways to recover deleted PDFs.

How to Recover Deleted PDF Files on Windows

Method 1. With Windows Backups

Windows Backups is a very trustworthy backup tool. If you make full use of it, then you will be able to find very many surprises. It allows you to retrieve deleted PDF files through simple steps. To better protect your PDF documents, you can password protect your documents.

Step 1. First of all, you need to call out your computer’s “Control Panel”. Click the “System and Security” toolbar in the “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)”

Locate Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Locate Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Step 2. Click the “Restore my file” button at the bottom right to enter the recovery file search interface. Of course, please make sure you have enabled Backup and Restore on your device before. If not, you need to enable it by selecting a specific storage location first.

Click the "Restore my file" Button in Windows Backups

Click the “Restore my file” Button in Windows Backups

Step 3. Then you can see the deleted backup files directly in the next window. If they are not shown in the list, you can search for them by clicking “Search”, “Browse for files”, and “Browse for folders” on the right. ” to search for them.

Searching for Backup Files in Windows Backups

Searching for Backup Files in Windows Backups

Step 4. Select the files you need to restore and click “Restore”, then you need to make a choice: Restore in the original location or Restore in the targeted location.

Recover PDF files from Windows Backups

Recover PDF files from Windows Backups

Method 2. Through File History

Windows has a very sweet feature called File History. All the photos, videos, files, music, downloads, etc. that you access will leave a footprint. Even if you delete them manually, the records in File History will not disappear. So, when you want to retrieve a deleted file, File History will be your hope. Of course, the Windows operating system is very powerful, when you need to browse multiple PDF files, you can use Windows to merge PDFs for better viewing.

Step 1. Click Windows to bring up the search box and type “File Explorer” in the search box to go to the file manager window.

Search for "File Explorer" in Windows

Search for “File Explorer” in Windows

Step 2. Locate the PDF you deleted before the storage location, click the right mouse button, and select the “History” button at the top right, you can see the PDF files you deleted here.

Navigate to the History Folder through File History

Navigate to the History Folder through File History

Step 3. You can directly click the green spin button below to restore, it will appear in the deleted storage location. Of course, you can also click the Settings button on the top right to select “Restore to” to customize the file location selection.

Recover PDF files via File History

Recover PDF files via File History

Method 3. Using Recycle Bin

Recycle Bin is like a regret pill so that you can have a chance to reverse the situation. If you are not forcibly deleting a file or software by Shift+Delete, you can find it in the Recycle Bin.

Step 1. Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your computer to open it. You will see that you have deleted a lot of files, you can directly find them by name in the search bar at the top right.

Find PDF in Recycle Bin

Find PDF in Recycle Bin

Step 2. You have three ways to recover PDFs. Firstly, drag the PDF files to the desktop directly with the mouse. Secondly, use the shortcut “Ctrl+X” to paste to any folder. Thirdly, right-mouse click and select “Restore” to restore to the original location.

Recover PDF from Recycle Bin

Recover PDF from Recycle Bin

How to Recover Deleted PDF Files on Mac

If you are a Mac user, the built-in backup and recovery tool within the macOS operating system, Time Machine, allows for the deleted files recovery.

Step 1. Go to “System Preferences” > Locate and click “Time Machine” > Enable “Show Time Machine in menu bar.”

Find the Time Machine Tool on Mac

Find the Time Machine Tool on Mac

Step 2. Find Time Machine on the upper-right > Click “Enter Time Machine” > Find deleted files via timeline or search box > Click “Restore”.

Restore the Deleted PDF with Time Machine

Restore the Deleted PDF with Time Machine


How Do I Recover PDF Files that Have Just Been Deleted?

For PDF files that have just been deleted, it is relatively easy to recover them. You just need to navigate to the Recycle Bin of your device > Find the PDF files that have just been deleted in the Recycle Bin > Click Recover to send the file back to its original storage location.

Is It Possible to Recover PDF You Didn’t Save?

In viewing or editing PDF documents is it inevitable to encounter some unexpected situations, such as computer crashes or sudden power failure, etc., then such documents are not saved in time to be restored? No worries, Adobe Acrobat has an automatic saving feature, when you open the computer again, it will help you automatically restore the file that was not saved.

How to Recover Deleted Permanently PDF Files in Windows 10?

If you are using a Windows 10 device, then you can search for Windows File Recovery by holding down the Windows key and clicking Windows File Recovery, you will be prompted with two recovery methods: regular mode and extensive mode, just choose the right one according to your needs.

But please note that you must select yes when the pop-up box shows whether to allow the application to make changes to your device.

Where Do Unsaved PDF Files Go?

When your computer crashes or accidentally exits the program, for unsaved files, do you need to go to where to retrieve them? The default storage location of Adobe Acrobat is: “C:\Users\User Name\App Data\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\1X.0\Auto Save”.

How to Restore Deleted PDF Files in Android?

It is relatively easy to restore deleted files on Android devices. You just need to open your Google Drive, select the files in the Trash you want to restore and click Restore to finish it. Of course, you need to ensure that you have used the same ID login for backup devices.

How to Recover Deleted PDF files from WhatsApp?

Here are four ways to recover deleted PDFs:

👉 Method 1. Reinstall WhatsApp and restore the recent backup. Before this, navigate to WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Chat Backup to confirm the backup frequency and date.

👉 Method 2. For iPhone users, restore from iCloud by going to WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Chat Backup > Restore Chat History.

👉 Method 3. Check Google Drive Trash. Open Google Drive > Hover over Trash > Locate the deleted PDF > Click the three vertical dots > Choose Restore.

👉 Method 4. Restore from Google Drive Backup. Reinstall the latest WhatsApp version from the Google Play Store > Sign in with your phone number (same as your Google account) > Select “Restore” when prompted to restore backups from Google Drive.

How Do You Edit a PDF That Was Retrieved Using the Procedures Above?

PDFgear PDF Editor is a completely free all-in-one powerful PDF editor and converter that provides formatting, merging, cropping, splitting, compression, signing, highlighting, annotating PDFs, etc. Multiple solutions.


No matter what, to avoid permanent loss of deleted PDF files, the backup must be the most important. Whether by uploading to the cloud, storing on a USB flash drive, or with the help of third-party tools, these methods are very effective and reliable.

So for any important files, please be sure to have a sense of backup. Go ahead and take action to retrieve your lost files.

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