Follow these instructions to recover your deleted files from the Recycle Bin
For most individuals, the idea of unintended data loss is closely associated with images of nefarious hackers stealing files and programs from private servers. While cybercriminals are certainly an ever-present threat to data security the true culprit for many of these losses lies far closer to home.
According to a survey by marketing research firm Aberdeen a full 70% of data losses on the cloud occur due to the actions of end-users, with at least 47% of incidents blamed on accidental deletions. Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced digital world it’s easier than ever before to undo months’ of good work with a simple careless click of a button.
However, if you’re currently facing up to just such a situation then you shouldn’t panic yet. As long as you follow the right steps and act quickly you have a good chance to recover the critical files from your Recycle Bin. Here’s what you need to know.
What Happens When You Delete a File
When you send a file to the Recycle Bin, the data isn’t actually erased from your computer. Initially, all that happens is that the object is removed from the reference table which tells Windows where the file is located. In turn, this action gives your OS the go-ahead to overwrite the hard disk space occupied by the deleted object whenever it is required. But until that happens, your file will remain untouched although it will be inaccessible by normal methods. Take the following actions immediately, and you may be able to regain access.
First Things First
Limit your additions to the hard disk wherever possible to reduce chances of the file being overwritten. That means, no downloads, no streaming, no gaming and no work until your deleted file has been recovered.
Check for Backups
It’s possible that you might have multiple versions of the same file lurking on your computer. Use the File Explorer tool on Windows to run a system search for your missing file. If you’ve made changes to the title or content over time, then try searching for specific keywords that would only be associated with this file.
If you’re getting too many results, then try narrowing down the search using the available filters for size, type (image, document, video, PowerPoint presentation etc.), and Date Modified.
Check If the Files Are Still in the Recycle Bin
Files and programs sent to the Recycle Bin aren’t made inaccessible until the folder reaches a maximum size limit at which point the contents are summarily dumped. Your first step should always be to double-check the folder. If you do find your file there, then simply right click on it and click the restore button and it will once again become visible in its original location.
If you have manually emptied the Recycle Bin since the initial deletion, or if Windows has done so automatically then this simple solution won’t be available.
Try a System Restore
Window’s System Restore is a handy inbuilt tool which creates snapshots of your files and folders automatically when certain conditions are triggered (say when a new piece of software is installed). You can also use the tool to create your own Restore Points for files and folders.
To restore a deleted file using this method:
- Click the Start button
- Click Computer
- Navigate to the folder which previously contained your file, and right click
- Now, click the Restore previous version option
- You’ll now see a list of previous versions of the folder, this list will include both Windows Backups and user-created Restore Points
- Before choosing to restore, check each option on the list by click on it, and then clicking the Open button.
- Once you’ve identified a suitable version, click the Restore button. Note: all changes you’ve made since the Backup or Restore Point was created will be lost, and a system restore can’t be undone.
Use Data Recovery Software
If all other options fail, then you may have to turn to specialist third-party software to recover your lost data. These applications filter through your hard disks in search of deleted (but not overwritten) file fragments. They then piece together these parts to recreate the initial file where possible.
This option doesn’t come without its own risks. As mentioned before, installing any new software on your computer has the potential to overwrite hard disk space occupied by your deleted file.
For this reason, we recommend downloading and installing the program on a separate removable media, such as a USB. If the option for a portable install isn’t available, then you might consider removing the hard drive and placing it in a different computer as a secondary drive in order to avoid accidentally writing onto it. Of course, if you’re willing to take your chances then just download it on the hard disk itself.
- Extract the tool onto the storage media of your choice (USB, external hard drive, main hard disk)
- Choose the drive you’d like to search (may take a few seconds or a few minutes depending on the size of the drive)
- Sort through the list of recovered files and identify your particular file, then simply right click and Restore
- If one software doesn’t manage to recover your lost data, then try a few others as each program will have its own detection capabilities
- Be warned, depending on the program you use you may have to pay to actually initiate the data recovery.
Still Unable To Retrieve Critical Files
If restore procedures and third-party software aren’t doing the job for you, then you may need to get in touch with a data recovery specialist. At Computer Fixperts our team of tech support specialists employ a range of cutting-edge technology and skills towards retrieving even the hardest to locate deleted files. If you’re located in and around Brisbane or Sydney feel free to get in touch with us today, at 1800 706 676