3 Ways To Recover Accidentally Deleted Windows Application File


If you have deleted some useful windows executable file by mistake or by accident, don’t loose heart, because there is an easy way of getting it back.

One of our readers BalaSubramaniam wrote:

I have deleted my calc.exe file by mistake.Can you help me how to reinstall it?


Well, this is not only about calc.exe (Windows Calculator Application file), its about any kind of Windows in-built Application file and Help file.

Calulator calc windows application file

There are three easy ways of recovering it:

  1. Copying Application file from another windows computers.
  2. Using Windows Component Installation Wizard.
  3. Using Expand command on command prompt (The Geeky way!)

Read the fix below for detailed steps.


Let us first tell you the method in the order of ease of solution, so if first does not work, you can try second and so on.


Copying File From Another Computer:



This is the simplest you can do, but for this you should know the file location. For Example for calculator, you need to copy calc.exe from c:\Windows\System32 folder and calculator help file calc.chm from c:\Window\help

Note:  This method may not work for all kind of applications


Windows Component Installation Wizard:


1. Insert your Windows XP installation CD in your disk drive.

2. Open Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs

Add Remove programs

3. On Add or Remove Programs Window , click on Add Remove Windows Components

Add remove windows components

4. This will open Windows Component Wizard, on this Wizard, try to locate the application which you want to recover. For example, Calculator is under Accessories and Utilities, Click on it and press details. It will open the detailed options as you can see below. On further clicking details, you will get Accessories details. Here check-the application you want to install and un-check the applications which you want to un-install. Click OK and at last press Next on Windows Component Wizard to continue to setup.

Windows Components Wizard


Accessories and utilities



Check application to install and un-check to un-install

5. After the setup begins, it will finish and following screen will show up. And you are done 🙂

Windows Component Wizard


Expand Command-Windows Command Prompt (The Geeky Way!)




1. Put the Windows XP setup CD in your disk drive.

2. Assuming that your CD Drive letter is D: (mine is G:) Open the command prompt and type the following command:

"expand -r D:\I386\CALC.EX_ C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32"

"expand -r D:\I386\CALC.CH_ C:\WINDOWS\HELP"

The above example is for calc.exe, so for any other file, e.g. the first parameter will become the filename with last character replaced by an underscore or _

e.g “file.ex_” for “file.exe” and “file.ch_” for “file.chm”

See the example snapshot below

Command line fix


Hope you find the above methods useful. Leave your suggestions and comments below.


  1. My Name is Sarfaraj Khan. In my System I have missed a file which is ” C:\WINDOWS\System32\rundll32.exe ” file is missing . How can I recover this file through windows xp cd. I am not clear to use this method, so please explain me, how can I restore this file through Windows XP CD. I have Windows XP SP3.

  2. Your last method is very useful to recover any file, but I am not clear to user this method. Please explain me.

  3. I understand this command “expand -r D:\I386\CALC.EX_ C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32″ if I missing cal.exe, but why you use this command “expand -r D:\I386\CALC.CH_ C:\WINDOWS\HELP” I am not clear. Please clear this.

  4. What if you want to recover XP theme “the orignnal one”.
    I can found it under which component?

  5. k…

    I accidentally deleted Accessories/Utilities.

    I don’t have XP CD, it all came loaded with the PC Package I bought at Future Shop.

    There are 2 CDS they gave me but they are system recovery discs I think.

    When you say copy it from another PC, do you mean I have to have one connect to mine or someone can copy the folder and e-mail it to me?

    Yeah, yeah… I’m dumb. But still need help.



  6. i recently tried to delete windows messenger. After doing so it also automatically deleted internet explorer, windows media player, and the calculator!!! After running a search on my computer and not coming up with any of the files i didn’t know how i should go about fixing it all. I was afraid that i would end up messing the computer up even more, considering I don’t what I’m doing or I guess i wouldn’t have gotten myself into this mess in the first place. So when I decided to try to find some advice and came across this site, I tried your second option using the windows component installation wizard. Not only did it work, but your explanation of steps and examples made it SUPER easy to fix!!! I was able to reinstall everything in a matter of mintues, which probably would have took me hours to figure out on my own lol… thank you SOOOO much!

  7. i have a problem wit my pc i just did system restore without back up disc and i can see the drive that contein my file but i cant open it.which step should i take?

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