How to Restore Moved Files


Windows operating systems employ a feature called "Windows Explorer," which helps you find, view and manage files on your computer. This feature is most recognizable when the "My Computer" icon is clicked, opening a window that provides an overview of the files and resources on your system. In addition to displaying files, Explorer is interactive, allowing file movement. If a mistake is made in moving a file, Explorer has a command called "Undo" that allows you to move the file back to its original location.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Windows operating system
  • Access "Windows Explorer." If "Windows Explorer" is still open after the file has been moved, keep it open and proceed to Step 2.

    If you closed "Windows Explorer," reopen it by clicking on the "Start" button and bringing up the "Start Menu." In "All Programs," find the "Accessories" folder, and click on "Windows Explorer." Another way to open Windows Explorer is to right-click on the "Start" button and choose "Explore."

    Navigate back to the original folder where the file move took place.

  • Locate "Undo" on the "Command Bar." At the top of "Windows Explorer," find the bar that executes commands, which is also where the "Delete" and "Back" buttons reside. Look for the universal symbol for "Undo," a U-shaped arrow pointing counterclockwise. Click the "Undo" button and the file will move back to its original location.

    If the "Undo" symbol does not show, proceed to Step 3.

  • Locate "Undo" through the "Menu" bar. At the top of "Windows Explorer," find the "Menu," which will have common options such as "File," "Edit" and "View." On the "Menu" bar, click the "Edit" drop-down menu. On that menu click "Undo Move," which will restore the file to its original location.

    If the "Menu" is not present, proceed to Step 4.

  • Locate "Undo" in the "Organize" menu. At the top of "Windows Explorer," find the button labeled "Organize" and click it. On the drop-down menu find "Undo" and click it to move the file back.

Tips & Warnings

  • If files are moved to the "Recycle Bin" and can't be restored using the steps above, try going directly to the file in the "Recycle Bin" and right-clicking it for other options.
  • Windows operating systems are highly customizable and vary across versions, so the location of your "Windows Explorer" may have changed from the default location based on your preferences. Try doing a "Windows Search" to find "Windows Explorer."
  • Using "Undo" is most effective immediately after moving the file. However, if the "Undo" command is used minutes after the file was moved, you still might have success in using it. Keep in mind that any steps performed after the original folder move will be undone as well.

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  • Photo Credit add directory icon image by michele goglio from
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