Recovering deleted files is possible (with a little luck)

I recently deleted some work files from my computer. I don’t really know how I did it, but I got quite a shock when I realized. I had held SHIFT down while deleting, so the files skipped the recycle bin. My most recent backup was 2 weeks before (something I have since changed) so the files were gone. Right?

Actually I was able to restore almost all of the lost data. A guide to recovering deleted data:

  1. Immediately stop using the computer the files were on (you will see why later).
  2. Download this program and put it on a flash drive.
  3. Use the program to back the files up onto the flash drive -it’s quite easy actually.

Amazingly this actually works really well. How does it work? When you delete a file, the operating system (Windows, etc) just marks that section of the hard-drive as free space – it doesn’t actually wipe the data. So even though the file has been ‘deleted’ the data is still there. This great little program digs through the free space and checks if there are any recoverable files sitting in there.

That is why you need to stop using the computer ASAP – otherwise the free space could be overwritten by new files.

More detailed instructions and explanations available here.