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Windows: How to Recover Deleted Files

I hope you are reading this post as a preventive measure in the event the worst occurs, otherwise I’ll ask you to be realistic and patient file recovery takes time. When a file is removed from the Recycle Bin isn’t actually deleted right away, instead the space it occupies is marked as available only to be overwritten in the event more files are created.

I Don’t Have a Backup, What Do I Do Now

Don’t do any activities that might cause Windows to overwrite the deleted data, better yet don’t do anything as this will reduce your chances of a successful recovery. Also, you will need a drive that isn’t the same drive we will be trying to recover the data from to store the recovered files

For this tutorial I will delete a total of 6.6 GBs worth of files from a drive in my computer.

Recuva

This tutorial will make use a single tool to perform the file recovery. The tool is called Recuva and can be downloaded from http://www.piriform.com/recuva. I choose Recuva for this tutorial because of the user friendly interface, good results(my experience), and no cost.

The Recovery

Start Recuva

Recuva

You will be presented with a welcome window, just click Next to continue.

Recuva

The beauty of Recuva is the amount of options the user is presented, this is useful if you know exactly the type of files you need to recover. There are specific options for media files, documents, etc… But if you don’t know what kind of files were deleted then I recommend you choose Other this option will recover all files contained within the drive. Click on Next to continue.

Recuva

Since the files were deleted from a second drive in my computer and I know the specific drive (which is I:) I’ll pick In a specific location, otherwise if you are not sure from which drive the files were deleted pick I’m not sure this option will scan the entire drive and thus take longer to complete.

Recuva

Recuva

This is perhaps the most important part of the recovery, be sure to Enable Deep Scan by checking the check box. While it is true the recovery will take longer Deep Scan will yield better results meaning you have a better chance of the application finding the deleted files. Click on Start to begin the scan and recovery.

Recuva

Actually the file recovery in my 40GB drive took 15 minutes.

Recuva

The green dots represent good files, either check mark the files you wish to recover or check the the top mark to select all files. Click on Recover… button to move the recovered files.

Recuva

Stored the recovered files on a drive the isn’t the same drive from which the files are being recovered from.

Recuva

Recovery is in progress.

Recuva

Click on OK

Recuva

Now we can appreciate the recovered files and probably reflect on the lesson about not keeping backups of our data.

Recuva

The operation resulted in the successful recovery of all 17 video files because the recovery was performed as soon as the files were deleted, there was enough free space in the drive and no tasks that might result in the files being overwritten were performed. Perhaps if the same files were erased from the C: drive where I am sure more activity occurs the results might not be so favorable.

Links

Recuva Home Page http://www.piriform.com/recuva