There can be many scenarios wherein you want to recover some of the deleted files. For instance, when you have deleted some files accidentally or when your system crashes for some reason and you lose your precious data. Anyways, losing data is something that cannot be afforded whether it is personal or for office. Thus through this post I will share – how to recover deleted files on windows?
What happens when you delete a file on windows?
Let me explain it jargon-free. Whenever you delete some files on windows, it is moved into the recycle bin. And when you delete this file from recycle bin (permanently delete it), we feel the data is completely purged. However, the files aren’t really getting ‘physically’ deleted when you do so. In reality, the space where the file was residing gets marked as ‘available’. So, unless you overwrite that space with some other data, the files are still available for recovery.
A simple guide to recover files on windows
In this step-by-step guide, I will be making use of a popular recovery software called Recuva. If you don’t have it, you can download it from here. It is a free recovery tool from Piriform. If it recovers your file, you can donate money to the developer through their website or Buy a pro version which provides some extra functionalities including technical support.
There is a business edition of Recuva as well. It is mainly targeted at businesses where there is a need to recover massive number of files. For the most part, the free edition is sufficient for an end-user.
I love this software because it works seamlessly with Windows Vistas, XP , 7 and 8.
- Install Recuva to a respective location.
- Once installed, launch the program to start the recovery process.
There are 2 ways of recovering files with this program. Either you can launch the program and select from a list of options. The second way is to use go to the folder wherein you want to perform the recovery and right click on it.
Recovering by the default method
- Launch Recuva and select the types of files that you want to recover. If in doubt, select ‘All Files’ and click next.
- Now select the location of the files that have been deleted. If you are not sure about it, Recuva can search your entire computer. However this may take a very long time depending on the number of files you have deleted on your system. In my case, I am going to choose ‘In a specific location’ since I know from where I have deleted the files accidentally.
- Proceed by clicking next. Now you will be prompted to whether use the Deep scan feature or not. This feature enables you to intensively scan the drive by using all the possible ways of recovering the files. Also note that it may take a while to complete the scan when this feature is enabled. Now click the ‘Start’ button.
- Once the action is completed, you will be shown with a list of recovered files. In my case, I have recovered four files.
- Click the “Switch to advanced mode” button on top right to see a more detailed view of the recovered files.
- Once you select the files that you want to recover, just hit the ‘Recover’ button at the bottom right corner.It is always a good idea to select a different drive to store the recovered file. This smart software will also advice you the same, So high chances that you will not go wrong on this.
- Once completed, you will be given a summary of the same. (Here I have only selected 3 files for recovery and got all of them back!
Directly recovering files using context menu
This is a simpler method of recovering files. Just right-click a folder and select ‘scan for deleted files’ from the menu. Then follow the steps as mentioned in the method above.
Some tips to avoid loss of data on windows
- Follow the habit to move files to the recycle bin than permanently remove. This way, you can restore the files easily whenever you need. When a file has been in the recycle bin for, say a month, you can then permanently delete it.
- Always backup your files to another storage medium like an external hard disk. I keep my important files on Google Drive. You can learn to use Google Drive to Store and share files. It helps solve storage problem and stored files can be shared directly through the drive.
- When you feel that you have accidentally deleted a file, stop performing any sort of file operations like copying, moving and deleting since it may reduce the chance of recovery.
Albeit there are plentiful of recovery software available online, I believe Recuva is the best among them for recovering deleted files on windows.
Review of Recuva
- Edward Mendelson did a review on PCmag.com which will help you get more insights on the software.
- You may also visit Snapfiles.com to reviews of customers who have used Recuva.
For some unlikely reason if you don’t succeed to recover your deleted files, you can alternatively try
- Undeleted plus
- PC Inspector File Recover– This software is not compatible with windows vista/7.
Note– If you use Restoration on windows vista or 7 and you see prompt to use it as administrator, right click on the executable and select the option to run as administrator.
Suggestion – If you use windows, I suggest you have this software installed on your PC. I have it installed on my Windows 7 and XP, my home computer and my office PC both have this software, while I don’t use it often.
It seems now you know how to recover deleted files on windows easily. Although recovery is possible and it works like a charm, I would like to suggest you to take a word of caution when you delete files.
“Prevention is better than Cure”