Many of us have experienced the pain of losing an important file. And we are responsible most of the time. You may delete a file, realizing moments later you needed it. The good news is that it is possible to recover deleted files on Windows or Mac. This blog will provide you with sufficient details to successfully recover them.
Check If the File Is Permanently Deleted
First of all, check if your file is permanently deleted or not. Make a search for it in the file explorer because you may have misplaced it. This simple search may help you in retrieving it. If not, open the Recycle Bin. Use the search box if you have a lot of files there. If you find the file, select the icon and right-click it. Next, click on “restore” to get it back.
You may have downloaded a program like CCleaner with your Cox internet bundles connection. Do note that such programs keep running in the background and may prevent you from recovering a file from the Recycle Bin. However, you can disable CCleaner from “cleaning” the Recycle Bin. Furthermore, if you uploaded your file to a cloud service such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive, you may be able to recover it. Simply log into your account and visit the deleted files section. The file may still be recoverable.
Look at Your Backups
You won’t lose important data if you create backups regularly. Even if you delete a file accidentally, you can recover it from the latest backup. Therefore, look for the target file in your backup (if you have one) after ensuring that it is deleted. If you do not have a backup, it’s high time you create one. Windows comes with many built-in tools for this purpose.
If you haven’t been able to recover your file up till now, it is time to use file recovery software. However, this may not be possible on certain computers. Magnetic hard drives do not immediately delete file data from the disk. Instead, they only erase the pointer to it. The file may be recoverable if you do not overwrite its disk space.
If you delete a file from a solid-state drive, the TRIM command will remove the file immediately to free up disk space. Therefore, you won’t be able to recover data. Legacy solid-state drives may not support TRIM and you may be able to recover deleted files. However, modern SSDs and Windows OS after Windows 7 support the TRIM command.
Safe File Recovery Method
If you delete a file on a magnetic hard drive and the computer is still powered on, shut it down immediately. Otherwise, it may write data on the space occupied by the deleted file eliminating chances of recovery. Do not attempt to install the file recovery software. It may occupy the space of the deleted file. Now, after shutting down the computer, reboot the system with a file recovery CD or USB drive.
Another course of action is to remove the magnetic hard drive from the CPU. You can use it as a secondary drive on another computer. However, avoid installing another file on it. Scan the drive with file recovery software. Chances are you’ll retrieve the file. Do note that if you attempt recovering the file after a few days and have installed new programs, recovery is highly unlikely!
File Recovery Tools
If your file isn’t too important and you’re willing to take a risk, use file recovery tools. Booting from a live CD or USB drive may take much more time. A file recovery tool such as Recuva may act as a quick solution. Use the tool to scan the files on your hard drive. It will look for deleted files. Once the process is complete, you can restore the files you want. However, this method is full of risks and the software may write to the hard drive occupying the disk space of the deleted file. This may happen even during the installation phase of Recuva. Even if a small part of the disk space of the deleted file gets overwritten, the file may get corrupted.
Professional Data Recovery Services
If all of the above fixes do not work, you will need to get professional data recovery services. In the absence of backups and the inefficiency of data recovery tools, that is the only option. However, do note that it is important to power off your PC immediately even when you are considering data recovery services. The longer the computer stays on, the more data will be written on the hard drive reducing the chances of data recovery.
Professional data recovery services provide many solutions. They may help you recover deleted files from healthy as well as old and damaged hard drives. However, these services are extremely costly. Corporate solutions may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Therefore, seeking professional services must be your final resort when all the options have run out. Remember that the recovery team may not be able to recover the data. Even in such an instance, you will have to pay them for their services. It may not be worth it in the end. Therefore, think carefully before you seek such services.
Backup Files Regularly
They say that prevention is better than cure. Regular backups can save you from much stress even if you delete an important business or personal file. You can simply enable the File History or Windows Backup in Windows to create backups. Files can get deleted accidentally but a backup can help you easily restore them. Restoring a backup is much easier than recovering a file, and these backup services do not cost a lot. On the other hand, professional data recovery services can put a significant strain on your pocket.
By following the above guidelines, you can easily recover deleted files from Windows and Mac. With that said, it is better to follow safety practices to prevent such an event from happening.