What to do if Windows 10 Anniversary Update deletes your files

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
3 Comments
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Before Microsoft released the Anniversary Update, we told you that there wouldn’t be reason to fear for your files as the upgrade wouldn’t delete your files. However, while that applies to the majority of users, some of them might actually get their files deleted for one reason or another.

We already told you that the Anniversary Update is deleting Linux partitions for some users, but it appears to be the case with regular ones, as well. If you were unfortunate enough to get your files or even a whole partition deleted after updating your system to the Anniversary Update, we’re going to try to solve the problem for you with a couple of possible solutions.

What should I do if Windows 10 Anniversary Update deleted my files?

Solution 1 – Check if Windows.old folder is still available

After you install the Anniversary Update, Microsoft stores files from the previous version of the system in a special folder named Windows.old. So, even if your data and files are temporarily lost, there’s still a chance they’re saved in Windows.old.

anniversary update lost files windows old

This folder is located in your system partition (usually C:) and you can easily find it. To find out more about this folder, and how to move files from it, check out this article.

Solution 2 – Use your backup (if possible)!

The golden rule of PC users still remains: always back up! It is recommended to back up your files regularly, especially before installing a new system or a major update. So, if you prepared yourself for possible problems, like deleting files by the system, you shouldn’t have any worries if you have a backup copy of your stuff.

Unfortunately, even though the majority of users know that it’s possible to easily lose their files, a lot of them still don’t back up at all. So, if you don’t have a backup copy of your files and the Anniversary Update deleted them, they might be lost forever, unfortunately. However, that doesn’t have to be the case, so check some of the solutions listed below.

Solution 3 – Use recovery software

There is various software out there that offers to restore deleted data. If you pick up some recovery software, there’s a good chance it can recover your lost data without any bigger problems. Some of the best data recovery solutions are EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, and Recuva Data Recovery, but feel free to look for more solutions online.

Unfortunately, even these software aren’t helpful sometimes depending on your situation. So, we advise you to try using some of them, and if your data is still lost, try some other solutions from this article.

Solution 4 – Make sure Windows 10 recognizes your partition

One of the earliest problems caused by the Anniversary Update that users reported is the issue with Windows 10 not recognizing a hard drive partition. If you have this kind of issue, your files probably aren’t deleted — they’re just not recognized by Windows 10.

anniversary-update deleted files partition

Unfortunately, there’s still no confirmed solution for this issue, but if you want to find out more about it and what other users who encountered this problem said, we have an article about that that you might want to check it out.

Solution 5 – Take your hard drive to a specialist

If none of the solutions listed above help you to retrieve your lost files, you might want to ask a professional for help. Remove your hard disk from your computer, find a licensed service that does data recovery, and ask them for help. It might cost you a pretty penny, but paying is better than losing your precious files.

We offered you five solutions to recover your data, but just keep in mind there’s a chance your data will be lost even after performing all of them. If this happened to you and you weren’t able to get your lost files back, we highly recommend you back up your files in future to avoid situations like this.

Let us know what you think in the comments, and tell us if you actually were able to get your data back by performing some of our solutions.

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  • I took every step I possibly could to avoid this update. I used net metering, but it started installing updates anyway (stealing my bandwidth in the process). I killed those processes, deleted the update files, and renamed files that windows uses to download updates, and I changed the folder permissions to read only, and I used process blockers to kill update processes, but after a power outage I put my computer into hibernate so not to burn the UPS battery, but for whatever reason when turning the computer back on ALL my work was just gone. It started updating regardless, clearing away my hibernate instance. HOW did it update? I deleted the files it used to install, and I checked the windows directory for dates on files and couldn’t find anything. I even unplugged the ethernet cable so it couldn’t download while booting up.

    Seriously, WTF is wrong with microsoft? EVERY FREAKING TIME that microsoft pushes updates something breaks!!! I have not agreed to any updated terms of service with microsoft, nor have I EVER agreed to allow them to install whatever they like, but they hijack my computer anyway.

    Thankfully, this time at least, it didn’t delete anything. However, it ALWAYS breaks SOMETHING. and, more importantly, I DIDNT CONSENT TO IT! I dont care how critical microsoft thinks it is, if I did did this them they’d have me brought up on cyber terrorism charges!

  • I actually pressed “update later” (or equivalent), and it still ran the update and rebooted my computer while I was in the middle of leading a webinar. Now, I’m finding that all my hard drive files are gone. And it’s up to me to go and pay someone to fix it! Wow.

    • You should sue them in small claims court. A woman won 10k in California for less. Breaking into a computer to remote install files without permission is a crime.