How to Recover Lost Files after Windows 11 Upgrade

|by Shelley, Updated on Jan 4, 2022

Windows is the most used desktop operating system in the world. It has over 87% market PC market share. The current newest version of the Windows operating system is Windows 11. It was announced in 2022. There are still 25% of users who are using older versions like Windows 7, 8, 8.1, XP, or Vista. Although upgrading to Windows 11 is usually an easy process, some users have faced the issue they want to know how to recover files lost during Windows 11 upgrade. If you have recently upgraded to Windows 11 and lost files after the upgrade there is nothing to worry about. Here I have provided five ways for how to get back missing files after an upgrade on Windows 11.

Part 1. Possible Reasons Cause Data Loss after Upgrade to Windows 11

If you are here most probably you are facing data loss after upgrading to Windows 11. You might be wondering what the reason behind the data loss is. Let me explain it to you. There are few possible reasons like. Whenever you upgrade to a new Windows version your Windows account remains the same but sometimes system signed in with a temporary account. It leads to losing files.

Another reason might be the administrator account that you were using before the upgrade might be disabled for some reason. On some occasions, it has been seen that files get relocated to a different location. Finally, files were deleted in the process of upgrade. Now when you have an idea about possible reasons it's time to provide ways to get the files back.

Part 2. 5 Ways to Recover Lost Files after Windows 11 Upgrade

Below are the five ways one can try to recover lost files after Windows 11 upgrade. Try all the ways one by one and if the first four didn't work for you must try the fifth one in which we will use file recovery software for Windows 11 to find the files. So now without any further delay let's get started with the first way.

Method 1. Check out whether you’re in a temporary profile

As I mentioned above in the possible reasons section sometimes after upgrading to Windows 11 system creates a temporary profile instead of using your old profile. You can check it easily whether you're in a temporary profile. Follow the below steps.

  1. Select start on your Windows 11 running computer.
  2. Go to settings and then accounts.
  3. Under accounts go to Sync your settings.
  4. In Sync our settings page if you see a message like You are logged on with a temporary profile. Roaming options are currently available. It confirms that you are logged in with a temporary profile.
  5. Some users also see a different message We can't sign into your account.
  6. Restart your PC a few times and try to sign in again. Chances are restarting and signing in again will remove the temporary account and if it does your files will available again as it is. In case the message is We can't sign into your account for you. Try signing out for an account first and then use the same account to sign in again.

Important Note:

Method 2. Check out whether the previous Windows OS account is disabled

A Windows OS account is needed to use all the features of Windows. Sometimes after upgrading to Windows 11 users create new Microsoft accounts. Creating a new account disables the previous Windows OS account. As you will not have administrative access to the disabled account you might not see your files.

In that situation, you will have to enable the disabled account and sign in back to get the files back. Follow the below steps to check whether your account is disabled or not. I will also provide ways how you can enable it if it is disabled.

  1. In the Windows 11 search box type computer management. Open the app on your computer.
  2. You will find an option called System Tools. Under it look for Local Users and Groups.
  3. Select the Users option. You will see all the users on the computer. If you find a down arrow icon for the user named administrator most likely it is disabled.
  4. To enable the administrator account double click on the icon next to administrator. It will open the Properties dialogue box.
  5. Under General, you will find an option Account is disabled. Simply uncheck it and then click on Apply.
  6. Lastly Sign out of your account and sign in back. Check your files and they will be back.

Method 3. How to search for lost files after Windows 11 upgrade

If you have lost files after upgrading to Windows 11 you can search for lost files to see whether they exist on the system or not. Follow the steps below to search for lost files after Windows 11 upgrade.

  1. Windows 11 taskbar features a search box. Select it and search for the files you have lost. If the files will be available somewhere in the system you will find them. In case you didn't see the files and you have also tried the 1st way means you are not using a temporary profile. The next possible option is to use the Windows default troubleshooter to fix problems with the Search.
  2. To use trouble-shooter type indexing in the search box. On the next screen select Indexing Options. There will be an Advanced button that will enable more options, select it. Lastly, tap on Troubleshoot search and indexing option to run the troubleshooter.
  3. Not all the files might be in a visible position some of them might be hidden. To see hidden files type File Explorer options in the search box and then tap on View. Find the option that says Hidden files and folders. Select the Show hidden files, folders, and drives options. Once you have enabled try following step 1 to search for files again.
  4. If you are looking for a certain file type then you can use an asterisk (*) to search for them. Like if you are searching for video files search for *.mp4, for pdf files search for *.pdf.
  5. In a few cases it has been seen that files get moved to a different location after successfully upgrading to Windows 11. To confirm it you will have to check the current location of files you are looking for. To complete the check either right-click on the file or press and hold the file and then tap on Open file location. When you find your files copy the file to your desired location.

Method 4. How to Recover Lost Files after Windows 11 Upgrade by Restoring from Backup

Backup is the best way to recover lost files after Windows 11 upgrade. If you had taken a backup before upgrading to Windows 11 you can use it to restore lost files. Follow the below-mentioned steps to restore the backup.

  1. Tap on Start from the Windows 11 bottom left corner.
  2. Select settings and go to Update & security.
  3. Under Update 7 security finds Backup. select Backup and restore option.
  4. Lastly select the Restore my files option and follow the given on-screen instructions to restore your files.

Quick Note: Let's suppose you want to find a file. To do so create a new file with the same name and file type. After creating the file go to Properties and select the tab which says the Previous Version. The previous version of the file will be there choosing the older version which you were looking for and then restore it.

Method 5. How to Recover Missing Files after an Upgrade on Windows 11 with Software

If none of the above ways worked for you then the last way I am going to explain now will work like a charm. You can recover missing files after an upgrade on Windows 11 with a software called iBatsoft Data Recovery. It is one of the best data recovery software available for Windows 11 and the most important part it is free to use. Follow the below steps to recover missing files after an upgrade on Windows 11 using iBatsoft Data Recovery for Windows 11.

  1. Click on this link to download iBatsoft Data Recovery Software for Windows 11.
  2. Once the file is downloaded open it to install. Permit them to run as administrators.
  3. After successful installation launch iBatsoft Data Recovery for Windows on your PC.
  4. As soon as you will open iBatsoft on your PC, select the location where you want to retrieve files and then click on "Scan" to recover permanently deleted files in Windows 10.
  5. Depending on the actual file size iBatsoft will take a few minutes to look for the files. Once the scan is completed it will show the founded files. Go through the results and pick the files that you want to recover and click on the "Save" option.
  6. If you didn't find some of the files that you were looking for tap on “Ultra Scan” and this time iBatsoft will run deeply to found more files.

This is how you can use iBatsoft to recover lost files after upgrading to Windows 11. In my experience, it is the best way you could try to get the files back.

Losing files after upgrading to Windows 11 is not something you would expect before. But there is nothing to worry about that much as it is possible to get the files back. You can try the ways I have mentioned above. Either check for the permanent account, enable the disabled Microsoft account, search for lost files, or restore files using Backup. Lastly use iBatsoft Data Recovery for Windows to recover files without any hassle. Which way you will try first? Do let us know in the comments.

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