How to Recover a PDF File on Windows 10 for FREE

Suppose your PDF files get deleted, unsaved, or corrupted. No panic! This post divides PDF recovery into three specific situations and offers free and easy-to-use solutions to fix these issues. A free and reliable PDF recovery tool is in this post as well. We introduce it for the following highlights.
💎 Free for 100% without any limitation.
💎 No special skills are required.
💎 Able to restore any files.
💎 Workable for both computer and external storage media.
💎 Quick scan speed and high recovery rate.

Last updated on Nov 02, 2022 by Eleanor Written by Eleanor
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How to Recover a PDF File on Windows 10 for FREE

How to Recover a PDF File on Windows 10 for FREE

“Why has my PDF disappeared? I lost a PDF document I had been editing for hours. And there is no trace of it in the recycle bin. Is there a possible way that I can get it back?”

The PDF document format is widespread among businesses, institutions, schools, and hundreds and millions of people due to its feature to transfer documents with good formatting. And the security and portability of PDF file format boost its popularity. It is so popular that people often encounter issues like accidental deletion, loss of unsaved PDF files, and PDF corruption.

If you are experiencing such issues and don’t know how to recover a PDF file that is deleted, unsaved, or corrupted, then this tutorial will help you out of that mess. Here in this post, we will guide free, straightforward, and effective methods to recover deleted PDF files, restore unsaved PDF documents, and repair corrupted PDFs in no time. All the solutions we will introduce are FREE, including a powerful data recovery tool called WorkinTool Data Recovery. Keep reading and take a look!


❓Can PDF files be recovered?

Yes and No. Lost PDF files can typically be recovered, but not always. To recover PDF files, the following requirements matter. But if you have a backup that stores the lost PDF data, you can retrieve the lost or corrupted PDF file without any issues whatsoever.

  • New data have not overwritten the storage space of deleted and unsaved PDF files.
  • The lost PDF files were not in a TRIM-enabled SSD (solid-state disk).
  • Your storage device for the lost PDF files remains intact and readable.

If these conditions apply to you, lucky you are! You can look through the following content to retrieve and repair your PDF files for free without any obstacles. The earlier you start recovery, the greater the chance to get them back!


How to Recover a PDF File [Deleted]

Suppose you accidentally delete a PDF document on your Windows computer. The easiest two ways to restore it are by checking it in the recycle bin or on your backup drive. However, things become a little complicated if your recycle bin is empty and you haven’t created a backup in advance. The files might be permanently deleted. But there are still two workable solutions to restore deleted PDF files that are not in the recycle bin or backup drive.

Method 1: File History

File History is a built-in backup feature on the Windows 10 system. When this feature is on, it performs regular backups for files in your specified folder. It can take periodic snapshots of files like documents, videos, photos, and any type of file on an external drive so that you can restore the previous version of your files without breaking a sweat.

If you have enabled the File History option on your computer, you can navigate to it in the Windows search tab and perform a straightforward PDF recovery. Here is how to recover a PDF that is deleted using File History.

1. Go to the folder which stores your original PDF files. Right-click on it and select Restore previous versions.

2. Select a previous version of the folder. Click Open > Open in File History to preview the folder content.

3. Locate your PDF files and click the top right gear icon to restore them to another path.

Method 2: WorkinTool Data Recovery

fix corrupted files with workintool data recovery

If the File History feature is not on, the last way you can try to recover PDF files is through third-party software. There are a considerable number of data recovery tools in the market. So picking a free and reliable one might be confusing. After researching and testing, we highly recommend free WorkinTool Data Recovery for the following features.

  • Completely free to download and use all features without restrictions.
  • A clear and streamlined interface makes file recovery a simple process.
  • Not only suitable for PDF file recovery but all other documents, videos, pictures, audio files, archives, etc.
  • Recover data from local computer storage media and external drives like USB flash drives and memory cards.
  • Two-level scan modes, quick and deep, make the recovery process smooth and comprehensive. Users can quickly locate and recover PDF files with a high success rate.

free download the software

Steps of Use

Look at how to recover a PDF file that is permanently deleted with WorkinTool. It only takes a few simple steps.

1. Run WorkinTool Data Recovery on your Windows computer and select Deletion Recovery.

workintool deletion recovery

2. Choose your PDF files’ original path and hit Scan Now.

scan pdf file

3. Use the Filter option, or go to File Type > Document > PDF to locate your files. (You can arrange the results by name, date, size, and path to find your files quickly.)

locate to recover a pdf file

4. Select the target PDF files and hit Recover to bring them back.

recover a pdf file

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How to Recover a PDF File [Unsaved]

Third-party software can’t handle unsaved documents. Instead, many PDF applications, like Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat, have built-in file recovery functionality to prevent data loss from sudden crashes, such as software or system crashes. Adobe Acrobat, for example, comes with an Autosave feature, which is turned on by default, and it automatically saves document changes to a temporary file every 5 minutes (Users can edit the save time in Edit > Preferences > Documents > Save settings).

adobe acrobat autosave

If you meet a sudden crash due to a power outage, software error, etc., Adobe will automatically reopen the abruptly closed PDF file when you restart the software. If not, try manually restoring unsaved Adobe Acrobat files with temporary files. Here is how to recover a PDF file that is unsaved due to sudden crashes.

1. Find the Adobe temporary file location on your Windows computer.

  • Acrobat: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\DC
  • Adobe Reader: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Temp\Adobe\Reader

2. The extension of these temp files may change to *.dat or *.tmp. You can search the extensions to find the files you need.

3. Save the temp files to a new location, and change the extension to *.pdf.

4. Open the temporary files with Adobe.

📢However, the temporary files disappear once you close Adobe Acrobat or Reader. If you didn’t encounter system or software crashes, then this method may not work.


How to Recover Corrupted PDF Files

Corrupted PDF files are inaccessible and unreadable. Abrupt system shutdowns, malware attacks, software crashes, and things like that can lead to unexpected PDF file corruption. You can try the following solutions to restore PDF files to health.

  • Inspect and repair your PDF reader. (For Adobe Reader, you can try tools in Help > Check for Updates and Repair Adobe Reader Installation)
  • Change a PDF application to open your files.
  • Restore the PDF file to a previous version.
  • Use online PDF recovery tools like Office Recovery, PDF Resizer, and PDF2Go to repair PDF errors.

Bottom Line

If you are confusing how to recover a PDF file if it is deleted, unsaved, or corrupted, try the methods above. This post divides the situation into three different sections and provides specific solutions. As for now, all the solutions we discussed are easy and free to use. Hope you can get back your healthy files in no time!

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