Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Prepare For The Inevitable: How To Recover Previously Deleted Files On Your Windows PC

Everyone has made that inadvertent click that resulted in deleting an important file(s). This was a frequent event prior to Microsoft's addition of the Recycle Bin. Unfortunately, it still happens when we mistakenly empty the Recycle Bin or run one of the Cleanup Utilities. The good news is - prior preparation can save the day.


There are many Utilities that are capable of retrieving previously deleted files. Recovery is seldom 100%, but you can achieve excellent results if you act quickly and appropriately. So, how is it possible to recover deleted files? When files are deleted, Windows does not actually delete them from your hard drive or SSD. Instead, it marks the storage space as empty, so that new data can be written, and deletes the index entry that tells the location of those files. Unless, new files are written on that same space, the deleted files are still recoverable. The recovery software utilities can then locate these un-indexed files. Generally, they are capable of recovering files from most any type of storage - Hard Drives, SSD, Thumb Drives, SD cards, etc.

So, if you inadvertently delete a file, you do not want to do anything that may cause the "empty space" to be overwritten. Stop all actions and immediately run the recovery utility. You should have previously installed the utility or, if not, you should now run it from a Portable Flash Drive.

The free utility I would recommend is Recuva by Piriform. You can download and install the full version or get a Portable version that will run from a flash drive. The Portable version is very handy, since it can be used on multiple computers, when needed. Recuva's wizard interface is simple to use. You can scan for deleted files based on their type (music, pictures, videos, docs, etc.). It also includes a deep scanning mode in case a particular file is not recovered during the normal scan process.

If Recuva is unsuccessful, and you are willing to pay for a chance to recover that important file, you may want to give Active@ Undelete a try.