Can you recover deleted video files?

Recovering deleted video files is often possible with the right tools and techniques. When a file is deleted from a computer or storage device, it isn’t necessarily erased right away. The space it occupied is marked as available and new data can overwrite it. But until that happens, the deleted file may still be recoverable.

Why do deleted video files need recovering?

There are several common scenarios that can lead to needing to recover a deleted video:

  • Accidentally deleting videos you wanted to keep
  • Storage device failures or corruption erasing video files
  • Formatting drives or memory cards that had video files on them
  • Viruses, malware, or bugs deleting or corrupting video files

Recovering lost videos from these situations can save precious memories, important work/school projects, and more. So it’s worth understanding how to attempt recovery.

Can you recover deleted videos from the Recycle Bin?

If you have accidentally deleted a video file on your Windows computer, the first place to check is the Recycle Bin. This acts as a temporary holding place for recently deleted files.

To try recovering deleted videos from the Recycle Bin:

  1. Open the Recycle Bin – usually desktop icon or in start menu
  2. Look for your video file(s) listed
  3. Right click on video > Restore

If your videos are still in the Recycle Bin, restoring them will return them to their original location. However, the Recycle Bin has limited storage space. It can fill up, causing your files to be permanently deleted.

Can you recover permanently deleted videos?

If a video is no longer in the Recycle Bin, it has been permanently deleted as far as your operating system is concerned. But the data still exists on the physical storage device until it gets overwritten.

So recovery is possible using data recovery software or services. These work by scanning the storage device to find and restore deleted video files.

DIY deleted video recovery software

There are many do-it-yourself data recovery programs that can restore deleted videos:

  • Recuva – Free deleted file recovery tool for Windows. Restores various file types including videos.
  • Data Rescue – Recovers lost video files from hard drives and memory cards.
  • Stellar Data Recovery – Retrieves lost or deleted videos on Windows and Mac.
  • Disk Drill – Scans internal and external drives to recover deleted videos and more.

These DIY recovery programs scan your device, finding recoverable video files. You can preview found videos before choosing which ones to restore.

Professional video recovery services

For difficult cases like physically damaged drives, specialized data recovery services may be required. These professionals disassemble devices in a data recovery lab to access the storage media and extract data.

Professional video recovery services include:

  • DriveSavers – Industry leader with decades of experience recovering lost and damaged data.
  • Ontrack – Global data recovery specialist for all storage devices and file types.
  • Gillware – Recovers data from storage media with physical damage.

While pricier than DIY software, professional services offer the best chance for successfully recovering videos from faulty, damaged, or failed drives.

Top video recovery tips

To maximize your chances of getting back lost videos, follow these best practices:

1. Stop using the device

As soon as you realize videos are deleted or lost, stop using that device. More activity increases the risk of permanent data overwritten.

2. Don’t save anything new to the device

Avoid saving new data to the disk/card where deleted videos were. This overwrites deleted file space.

3. Use recovery software as soon as possible

Begin scanning with data recovery software right away. The longer you wait, the more likely recovery becomes impossible.

4. Try multiple recovery programs

No single program gets every recoverable file. Trying a few increases your chances of finding your videos.

5. Scan the entire device

Don’t just scan one folder. Deleted videos can be recovered from unallocated space across the storage device.

Can you recover video files after formatting a drive?

When a storage device like a hard drive or USB flash drive is formatted, it erases all the existing data. This includes any video files saved on it. But similar to deleted files, formatted videos aren’t necessarily gone for good.

Video recovery after drive formatting is possible because formatting simply marks all data on the drive as deleted. It does not immediately erase it.

With the right recovery software, you can scan the formatted drive and restore recovered video files. Just make sure not to save anything new to the formatted drive first.

Recovering videos after quick formatting

Quick formatting a drive just updates the file system tables, marking all existing data as space to overwrite. It does not actually erase the data.

So video files can often be fully recovered after a quick format, using the same undelete process as recovering deleted files.

Recovering videos after full formatting

A full format erases the entire file system and scans the disk to make sure it is blank. Files have a lower chance of recovery.

But even a full format does not overwrite all data. Recovery software can still find fragments of videos spread across the drive. These may be partial videos, but provide a chance of restoring some videos lost to formatting.

Can you recover permanently deleted videos from the hard drive?

Hard drives store vast amounts of data, including personal and professional videos. But hard drives can fail, get attacked by malware, or have files accidentally deleted. When video files go missing from a hard drive, recovery is possible by scanning the drive for recoverable data.

Some things to try when recovering deleted videos from a hard drive:

  • Use the Recycle Bin to restore recently deleted videos that are still available.
  • Try DIY undelete software like Recuva, Disk Drill, or Stellar Data Recovery.
  • Send to a specialist if the hard drive is physically damaged.
  • If videos were lost due to formatting, recovery software can restore from formatted space.
  • Recover videos quickly before more data writes to drive.

Successfully recovering deleted videos depends on the state of the hard drive and how long ago files were lost. But even permanently deleted videos have a good chance as long as the storage space has not been overwritten.

Can you recover videos after factory resetting a phone?

Performing a factory reset (also called master reset) on a smartphone or tablet wipes its storage. This scrubs all data, including photos, videos, apps, and personal settings.

Since a factory reset erases everything, it might seem like there’s no hope for recovering lost videos. But in many cases, specialized data recovery software can rescue deleted videos.

Possibilities for video recovery after factory resetting a phone:

  • Phone recovery apps can restore recently deleted videos if space wasn’t overwritten.
  • Programs like Fonelab, EaseUS, and iSkysoft scan the phone’s storage to extract videos.
  • Recovery success depends on the phone model and reset method.
  • The sooner recovery is attempted, the better.

While certainly tricky, unerasing videos after a factory reset is often achievable thanks to advanced data recovery algorithms.

Can Snapchat recover deleted videos?

Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging makes videos disappear almost instantly after being viewed. But there are a few ways you may be able to recover Snapchat videos:

  • Snapchat Memories – Videos saved to Memories don’t get automatically deleted.
  • iOS Files app – Lets you access and export Snapchat videos cached on iPhone.
  • Android file manager – Can find Snapchat video files stored locally on Android.
  • Snapchat data request – You can request an archive of Snapchat data associated with your account.

Note that unopened Snapchat videos get deleted from Snapchat’s servers after 30 days. So recovery options are limited to the methods above that access local copies on your device.

Can you recover permanently deleted videos from SD card?

SD cards provide extra storage for cameras, phones, and more. But losing videos to accidental deletion or formatting SD cards is common. Recapturing those videos comes down to:

  • Deleted video recovery – Use data recovery software to restore recently deleted files, if space hasn’t been overwritten.
  • Formatted recovery – Recoverable video fragments can be extracted even after full SD card formatting.
  • Physical damage – Professional recovery services open the SD card in a lab to fix physical issues.

As long as the SD card is intact and hasn’t been filled with new data, deleted videos have a high restore rate. Quick action is key.

Video recovery: outcome examples

Being realistic about recovery chances leads to better results. Here are some examples of common video loss scenarios and outcomes:

Scenario Recovery Outcome
Deleted video from hard drive yesterday Excellent chance of full recovery with software
Drive failed that had videos, no physical damage Good chance of restoring most videos
SD card reformatted, not used since Strong chance of partial video fragments
Snaps deleted from Snapchat weeks ago Unlikely recovery through Snapchat

Avoiding permanent video loss

Preventing video loss in the first place is ideal. Some tips:

  • Back up important videos to cloud storage and external drives
  • Enable Recycle Bin to avoid immediate deletion
  • Use file versioning systems like Time Machine
  • Enable deleted file protection in apps when possible
  • Check videos after copying to new storage, before deleting from old location

No backup system is perfect. But combining multiple options helps minimize risks of permanent video loss.


Recovering deleted video files is often possible with the right approach. Restoring recently deleted videos from the Recycle Bin has a high success rate. And advanced recovery software can unerase videos from hard drives, external storage, phones, and more by scanning for recoverable data fragments. The key is acting quickly before permanent overwriting happens. And understanding different video recovery scenarios helps set realistic outcome expectations. With some effort, there’s a good chance of salvaging accidentally lost videos in many cases.