How to Restore System Folders


The file systems of all versions of Windows are organized by folders and sub-folders. Almost all software installations will leave behind a file folder system as well, and user-created folders can be a useful way of organizing photos, media and other documents. Deleting a program will delete these folders. Sometimes, after deletion, a user changes his mind and wants to undelete the folder, particularly if it contained files used by the whole operating system. Depending on your version of Windows, restoring system folders is a fairly straightforward process.

Windows XP and Vista

  • Open the Recycle Bin. Double-click the "Recycle Bin" icon on your desktop to view your recently deleted files.

  • Locate the file in the Recycle Bin. If there are only a few files in the Recycle Bin, this should be an easy task. If there are many files, sort them alphabetically to easily locate your system folder by name. Click "View" in the top menu and select "List." Your folders will be sorted alphabetically. Scroll down the list until you find the folder you're seeking. Click once to highlight it.

  • Restore the folder to your Windows system. Right-click the folder and select "Restore." It will automatically return to its original directory on your hard drive.

Windows 7

  • Open the Recycle Bin on your desktop by double-clicking its icon.

  • Search for the deleted folder you wish to restore, sorting the Recycle Bin files and folders alphabetically, if necessary, by clicking "View" in the top menu, then selecting "List." Click once on the desired folder.

  • Restore the file. Right-click on the folder and select "Restore." This works very much like in all prior Windows versions; Windows will instantly restore the folder to its original location.

  • Restore previously deleted versions of files. If your file isn't in the list in the Recycle Bin, it's likely you have already purged it. However, Windows 7 provides a means to restore files and folders that are otherwise deleted and purged. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the main folder in which your system folder previously resided. Right-click on white space in the Windows Explorer folder and select "Properties." Click the "Previous Versions" tab. Click the folder you'd like to restore, on the earlier date to which you'd like to restore it. Click "Restore." Your folder should immediately re-appear in the system.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can't restore your system folder in this manner, reinstall the software with which it originally came. The folder should be re-installed along with it.
  • If you can't restore your folder using these approaches, install data recovery software to recover lost files from any folder.

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  • Photo Credit B2M Productions/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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