We all have some data which we store in our computer hard disk; some might store documents, images, movies, music’s, or any other important files. Most of the people follow a practice of saving all important data in the system without taking the backup. And in the worst case scenario, you might have accidentally deleted those files, and that is the moment you feel like dumb. It can be an awful feeling when you accidentally delete a very important file which you have been working for so long or any data you stored for future Purpose.
Basically, Any files you delete in Windows, it will be available in Recycle Bin, which can be easily restored from the Recycle Bin. However, if you have removed the files from Recycle Bin, or you have deleted files using Shift+Del which deletes file permanently skipping the recycle bin, then files are deleted from the Windows Permanently. Though, the files are permanently deleted but the files are still present in the Hard Disk.
When files are deleted or erased from the system, the files are not completely erased from the hard drive. Instead, the information that points to the location of the file on the hard drive is erased. The data is still present in the hard drive but since the pointer is deleted where OS takes it has a reference point for the Data stored in HDD is missing as a result the data is invisible to the OS. Eventually, When new data is created or copied, this overwrites the area where the old data/file is stored.
How to Recover Deleted Files:
There are several Hard Disk Utilities that you can find on the Internet to recover deleted files. This recovery software tool basically does a search for data without using any corresponding pointer information and showcase with the list of details. The chances of 100% recovery might reduce as and when the new data is overwritten, which happen if you wait longer after you deleted the files. Sometimes you might even get a portion of the file while recovering, since the file was not completely overwritten.
Please Note: If you are using SSD (Solid-State Drives, then recovery is more complex or next to impossible. Since the traditional drive, i.e. Magnetic drive work differently compared to new SSD. With the help of TRIM, all data are completely deleted and cannot be recovered. Once data is gone, it’s gone for forever.
1. Immediately stop writing on Hard Drive:
As said earlier, data are present on your hard disk even though you permanently deleted the files. Now, when you create or copy files on your hard drive, the data are over-written over the old data. Basically, the more your computer writes information on your hard drive the less are chances of recovering the files. Even if you download and install file recovery software, it’s possible that your computer writes this information on hard drive overwriting on your old deleted data.
- Shut down your computer and boot system using (Ubuntu/Linux) live CD or USB Drive and use photorec data recovery tool.
- Remove your hard disk and connect it into another hard drive as the secondary drive
(If both above options are not feasible, then simply install the data recovery software on the system)
2. Select the Right File Recovery Software:
There are a lot’s of good data recovery software available on the Internet for free and while some are available at a good price. One of the most popular software data recovery tools are Recuva, Undelete Plus, Inspector File Recovery and PhotoRec. Except for PhotoRec, all other recovery tools are user-friendly.
3. Scan for data using Data Recovery Software:
Once you have selected the data recovery software to use. Install the software and scan the hard drive data. The searching process varies depending on the application you are using, but generally, it remains same. Once scan is complete, you might get a huge list of data. You might get suppressed by seeing all the data which you deleted earlier is appearing along with unwanted other windows files. Filter your search and find your deleted file which you wanted to restore. Hope that you are able to restore the file, if still unable to recover try another application since most application work differently.
Below is a screen shot where I am recovering the deleted file using Recuva.
If still unable to recover, then it is evident that the data is overwritten and cannot be recovered. However, as a last resort of help, you can try professional Data Recovery which are professional who deal in recovery of data from crash or overwritten drive. Normally, they disassemble and recover the deleted data or overwritten data from the hard drive. Many such professionals, don’t guarantee about data recovery and might also charge heavy. So, if the data is worth of paying to such a professional, then you can take your chance in recovering those data.