Taking security seriously is imperative for users of computers and smart devices, and antivirus plays a huge part. Some rely on antivirus solutions built into operating systems, while others install third-party software from reputable vendors. In both cases, the antivirus can detect files, try to match them in its database, then release, indispose, or delete them permanently. However, sometimes a suspected file gets flagged incorrectly, leading to data loss. That’s where learning how to recover files deleted by antivirus swoops in to save the day, which we’re happy to help with.
1. Check operating system antivirus quarantine
Oftentimes, files you think are deleted are only placed in quarantine until you decide to erase them yourself. First, we’ll show you how retrieving files from operating system quarantine works:
We already demonstrated how to recover quarantined files in Windows 10 and provided ways to retrieve files from Windows Defender quarantine. The latter guide is oriented toward users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. Skip the last method in the first guide. We’ll cover it shortly.
While Mac is known for never getting viruses, it doesn’t mean there are no attempts. One of Mac’s security measure named XProtect runs in the background, inspect apps on your computer against the database of viruses, and either warn you or deletes them automatically. For restoration of these files, look at methods 2, 4, and 5. On the other hand, the macOS Gatekeeper prevents apps that aren’t from the App Store from running and thus concealing them. To revert that process, follow these instructions:
- Click on the Apple menu in the top left corner.
- Go to System Preferences, then select Security & Privacy.
- Click on General, then click on the locked padlock icon.
- After the Preference pane unlocks, select App Store and identified developers.
- Open the folder your file was in – it should be back.
2. Restore deleted files from third-party antivirus quarantine
Third-party antivirus software often works more effectively and has a more frequently updated virus database. If you suspect this antivirus is the culprit, check our guides on Avast quarantined file recovery, retrieving files from McAfee quarantine, and restoring quarantined files in Quick Heal. If yours isn’t on the list, use these articles as guidelines or check the official website of your antivirus software vendor.
3. Utilize File History or Command Prompt (Windows only)
Here are 2 Windows-only methods that can restore deleted files from a folder, no matter how big:
- Check the Restore folders from File History headline in our “recover a deleted folder in Windows 10” guide.
- Follow the steps under the headline titled Recovering hidden files using Command Prompt in our pendrive data recovery guide.
4. Recover files deleted by an antivirus from a backup
We always recommend backing up your files regularly. If you have done so as a precaution, you can now get them back in these 2 ways:
- Windows. Refer to the “Windows 10 deleted folder recovery” guide above. Follow the steps under the How to restore folders from a Windows 10 backup headline.
- Mac. Refer to method 1 in our .bak file recovery guide. Specifically, the headline Is there a Mac alternative?
5. Recover antivirus deleted files via data recovery software
If all of your attempts failed, and you don’t have a backup to rely on, put trust (and hope) in software for data recovery. Whether you’re on Mac or Windows, use the instructions listed under the headline How to recover deleted files from a Pendrive in the eponymous guide we demonstrated in method 3 above. Make sure to replace the drive letter for the flash drive with the drive letter of the partition your erased files were on.