How to Recover Files Deleted from a Windows PC

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It doesn’t take much effort to accidentally delete a file: just a wrong click of a mouse or an incorrect keyboard command and all the selected items will immediately leave your sight. And though there is no magic button to undo the mistake, you can still attempt to get the lost files back. In some cases, it will be sufficient to use the embedded features of the operating systems while other may require additional software. You may also face the circumstances which make the information irretrievable even by professionals. Try the following methods one by one and see how it goes.

Check the Recycle Bin

The first thing you should do is to have a look into the Recycle Bin, as depending on the settings, it may still keep the recently deleted files. To make the search easier, sort the files by the date of their deletion or use other criteria of your choice. For this, hold down Ctrl and hit the Space key to dehighlight everything and then open the View menu by pressing Alt+V. You can also utilize the search box at the top-right corner of the Recycle Bin window. Yet, you should have in mind that more advanced methods of deletion, like Windows prompt commands, the Shift + Delete shortcut and utilities like CCleaner make it impossible to recover files from the Recycle Bin.

Try the Previous Versions feature

The option is built into Windows 7 and later releases of this operating system as part of System Restore. When enabled, this mechanism creates Restore points anytime substantial changes take place in the system. Right-click the folder in which the deleted files were located and choose "Restore previous version". The opened window will show you the list of available versions of this folder. Choose the needed version based on the date and press the "Restore" button to recover the data.

Use data recovery software

If the files weren’t deleted a long time ago or if the disk hasn’t been actively used since then, it is likely that nothing has happened with their content. The system usually marks the space they occupy as free for new data and keeps them until something is written over them. Specialized utilities are capable of “catching” such files and allow you to save them to another location. Yet, there are also some situations in which files can be recovered neither by data recovery software nor in specialized service center:

  • Files that were overwritten due to the operations performed by the user or as a result of the system activity;
  • Files that were deleted using specialized shredding or erasing software;
  • Files that were deleted from a Solid State Drive (SSD) with the enabled TRIM command, which wipes data blocks immediately after deletion;
  • Files that were deleted from encrypted disks whose encryption key was lost or destroyed.

In other cases, you can get the deleted files back by means of data recovery software. It has to be noted that the NTFS file system (applied on most internal disks operated by Windows) is characterized by a relatively low level of fragmentation and thus provides very high chances for the recovery of deleted files that were not overwritten. By contrast, the recovery of data from the FAT file system, which is usually employed by external storage devices, may not give a 100% result.

If you decide to rescue your files with the help of UFS Explorer Standard Recovery, you may rely on the following procedure.

  1. Download and install the software on the partition which doesn’t contain the data to be recovered. Using the same storage may cause overwriting of the data.
  2. Run the program. The partitions available on the device will be detected automatically and displayed in the left pane – you can select the needed one on the basis of the size, file system or other characteristics.
  3. Press "Start scan" to analyze the selected storage for lost data. Define the preferred parameters for the scan or proceed with the default ones.
  4. Click "Start scan" and wait for the program to inspect the storage.
  5. Explore the obtained results of scan. Press the "Define selection" button and select the ones you want to save with checkmarks.
  6. Click "Save selection" to copy the chosen items to another storage – other than one from which they are being recovered.

Other data recovery utilities may also require a similar course of action, but it is always better to consult the corresponding user manual for detailed information.

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