Recycle Bin acts as a temporary landfill for your files, before your computer overwrites them. After that, consider them deleted forever. Unfortunately, there are situations when you accidentally remove files you should not. The good news is if you act fast enough, you may still recover them. Don’t worry, it still works even if you use the Shift + Delete shortcut. Note that this only works if you properly erased your files. Corrupted documents are harder to recover. Lastly, you cannot directly retrieve files after emptying Recycle Bin.
This is where recovery tools find their usefulness. They have their respective free basic versions, which retrieve a limited volume of lost data. Using recovery tools you will find out they follow a similar pattern, yet some are more convenient to use than others. So, you ask, how to recover files you permanently erased? Let us count the ways.
The data keeps its status, as long as you don’t do any new action. This is because your files now occupy the ‘free’ portion of your disk’s memory. Doing nothing prevents your computer from using memory originally allocated to these files. Any new operation writes new data and, eventually, replaces old files. If you created a new file, save it on your USB flash drive or other disk.
Restarting your computer isn’t advisable, since it consumes enough data to overwrite your old documents. Worse, performing a System Restore greatly decreases chances of recovering your lost data. Remember that this option is meant to bring your OS settings back to default. It will not undelete files in Recycle Bin. Ultimately, this uses a great amount of memory, enough for you to say goodbye to file recovery.
Assuming you did not do anything rash, let’s proceed with recovering your files.
File recovery without a third party software
It is possible to recover a file in Windows, even without a need of software. This only works if you use “Shift + Delete” to delete folders from your PC. What’s crucial here is to remember the exact name of the lost folder you want to retrieve.
Create a new folder on your desktop and give it the exact filename of your deleted folder. Select that folder, right click and navigate Properties. From there, select Previous version. Windows will conduct a search and will list the previous versions of deleted files. Just choose the one you want to recover and you’re done.
How about downloading a program?
The solution above only works if you permanently deleted files from your desktop. Relying on your memory alone also does not suffice, when you accidentally delete something. That’s when you will need a recovery software. These programs also retrieve file types which are corrupted, or got lost because of reformatting.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do file recovery using recovery software. The programs may be from different brands, but they share the same gist.
First, download the data recovery software of your choice to your PC. Our tip here is to grab the free version, if what you’re retrieving involves relatively small sized files. However, do not install the program where you deleted the data from. Any process in your computer eats memory. Note that this might corrupt the files you want to recover. Next, choose what lost data you want to save. By default, some programs like EaseUS, list all file types. Uncheck some, if you think they aren’t needed. Then, select the location where you need to recover the files.
Once you are done, your recovery software will do a basic file search. It scans the drive you selected for easily recognizable files. The program simply lists files deleted from the Recycle Bin, according to the type you chose earlier. Well, if basic scans do not work, you may run a raw file search. This looks for specific digital signatures of the files you deleted. It is most effective for uncommon file extensions you permanently erased. However, this isn’t available for free versions of recovery software. The waiting time also depends on the extent of scan you performed.
Lastly, a preview of these files is presented. Select what you want to retrieve and press Recover button. This saves your data on your computer or storage device you use.
Which one is the best right now?
There are a lot of free “undelete” programs right now on the internet. It is advised you download software from reputable sources. Some bring unnecessary add-ons or pop-ups, which might tick off your patience.
One of our recommendations is Restoration, a Windows based recovery program. You can practically use this software everywhere, since it’s not required to be installed. It only takes a download and you’re set to go.
Next, Recuva is an award-winning software, which does advanced recovery search, even with its free version. It can also recover data from newly formatted or damaged discs, a feature mostly absent in its peers.
Lastly, EaseUS boasts its ease of use and compatibility with MAC and other operating software. As a result, it has over 100 million downloads since it became available. EaseUS has also strong after sales services, which helped raise its popularity.
Some other reminders
We said earlier that your deleted data temporarily reside in free sections of your disk memory. Hence, you may allot more memory to Recycle Bin, for greater chances of recovery. This way your deleted documents stay longer in the Recycle Bin, as it takes longer for it to get full. If you delete files because you are running low on disk space, download a pro version of the recovery software.
Add-ons you decided to include later also eat space. This applies to when you conduct multiple file searches that read/write cycles on your disk, as well. Ironically, these lower the chances of your lost file being recovered. Some cleaning software also simultaneously delete your files in the Recycle Bin, once transferred there. If this is the case, you may not be able to recover your documents anymore.
Do not worry, restoring deleted files from your Recycle Bin remains the easiest data recovery scenario. You have had bigger headaches from corrupted data or from reformatting. Better, have a back-up copy of these files next time.
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