What is LOST.DIR and how can we recover LOST.DIR files?

Most of us upgrade our phone device every 2-3 years. Yes, it is exciting to get a new one but you have to back everything up so that you don’t lose any crucial data or files. Now while taking a backup of your Android phone, you must have come across this folder named LOST.DIR. You are curious to check what’s inside this mysterious folder. 

However, you find nothing inside the folder but just some weird numbers files which do not even open. And like everyone else, you find them of no use and just delete the complete folder as it is just adding to your phone’s storage. Some even consider it to be a virus, which is wrong.

Are you also confused about what is LOST.DIR and how can we recover LOST.DIR files? Let’s find out all this and more in this comprehensive guide.

Let us first understand what is LOST.DIR?

LOST.DIR is a file folder which is found only on Android OS and is similar to a Recycle Bin on the Windows system. However, there are some differences. Recycle Bin is where all unwanted files are stored while the LOST.DIR folder is created to prevent files from getting deleted accidentally. 

Not many know that we can retrieve deleted Android files and photos from the LOST.DIR folder.

An Android phone or tablet creates a LOST.DIR directory to keep a record of corrupted files. This may have happened when the device shuts off abruptly or in the following cases:

  • Android OS crash or freeze
  • Abrupt or improper removal of SD card during reading/writing process
  • Interruptions while downloading files or apps on an Android device
  • Application crash
  • Accidental formatting of SD card

All of the abovementioned reasons can result in the formation of the LOST.DIR folder. In the case of system recovery, some of the files can get deleted. Don’t worry as all these deleted files will be saved in LOST.DIR folder. However, it is difficult to identify them as they would be renamed with an altered extension and in their numeric orders.

So next time, please don’t delete the LOST.DIR folder as a clean-up would mean losing all your crucial files and data forever.

Even if you delete LOST.DIR data, the folder gets automatically recreated once you reboot your phone. 

In case, you have accidentally deleted the LOST.DIR folder then don’t panic as we have got you covered. There are multiple ways to recover LOST.DIR files and this will save you from all the hassles in future.

How can we recover LOST.DIR files?

To recover LOST.DIR files, you first need to connect your Android phone or tablet to your computer system. You can either plug in the USB cable directly to access the data or most PCs and laptops these days have an inbuilt card reader. Else, you would have to use an external card reader.

Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to recover LOST.DIR files:

Method 1: Recover LOST.DIR files by adding Filename Extension

Generally, when we try to open files inside the LOST.DIR folder, we are not able to do so as they are unreadable. But what we can do instead is we can add a filename extension to open those files. A filename extension denotes the type of that file and the system can view the file using the required software. The idea behind this method is that all files in the LOST directory are temporary backups which were not saved properly. Some of them can be opened if we use the right application.

Using this method, you can recover a lot of such files which are there in the LOST.DIR folder. Mostly, the files in the LOST directory are images so adding .jpg will make it readable.

Also, this method is best to use when there are a limited number of files in the LOST.DIR folder. Manually adding an extension for each file can be very time-consuming.

Here is how you can do it:

Step 1: Search for LOST.DIR folder in your Android phone.

Step 2: Select the file you want to retrieve.

Step 3: Choose the ‘rename’ option from the menu and add the filename extension now.

Step 4: Save it and try opening the file now. The common image formats include jpeg, jpg, png, etc. 

Method 2: Recover LOST.DIR files with Photo Recovery Software

The best way to recover LOST.DIR files is to use professional photo recovery software. The limitation of using Method 1 is that it cannot recover the entire LOST.DIR folder. 

Stellar Photo Recovery Software is one such reliable option which will scan the SD card of your Android phone or tablet and will reveal all the lost/deleted data. This LOST.DIR recovery software works on both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Here is how you can recover LOST.DIR files using Stellar Photo Recovery software:

  1. Download and Install Stellar Photo Recovery Software on your computer.
  2. Connect the Android device or SD card to your computer through an internal or external card reader.
  3. Select the location (storage device) from which you want to recover photos.
  4. Press the Scan button to find the deleted files of LOST.DIR folder.
  5. Once the scanning is done, the software will reveal deleted/lost photos.
  6. Then select the files/photos that you want to recover. Press ‘Recover’ and save the recovered files/photos to a secure location. 

Summing it up

Unlike the general perception, LOST.DIR folder is neither a virus nor a spam folder which needs to be deleted. If by mistake you have deleted the LOST.DIR folder then you can try the methods we have discussed. 

However, if you are looking for a no-hassle and reliable method then just download the free version of Stellar Photo Recovery and see it for yourself.


  • Can we delete LOST.DIR files? Is it safe to do so?

Yes, you can delete LOST.DIR folder from your Android phone if there are no important files saved in it. It is completely safe to delete the LOST.DIR files. It will also increase your SD card’s storage space.

  • How can I prevent LOST.DIR from getting deleted in an Android phone?

One of the most common reasons for LOST.DIR folder getting deleted is abrupt removal of the storage medium. So make sure you unmount the SD card properly every time to avoid such a situation. Also, try to close all applications before switching off the mobile.

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