How do I Recover Deleted Files?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 December 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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All is not necessarily lost if you have deleted a file and later decide that you need it again. In many cases, you can recover deleted files by finding the recycle or trash bin on your computer and searching through it for the file you need. Sometimes, however, the files you delete do not end up there. In such a case, you may have to use a recovery program to locate the file so you can attempt to retrieve it. If all else fails, you may consider taking your computer hard drive to a professional data recovery company; sometimes professionals have success that a computer user is unable to produce at home.

The first step you may take to recover deleted files is a search to make sure you have really deleted them and not just moved them to a different location. You may use your computer’s search tool to look for files when you cannot remember deleting them but have been unsuccessful at finding them in their normal locations. This may work, for example, if you saved a file in a different location than you intended.


If you did delete the files you need, you can open your computer’s recycle or trash bin to find them. Your recycle bin is usually located on your desktop, and you can open the bin by clicking on it. Many deleted files end up in the recycle bin and remain there until you empty it. Unfortunately, some files just seem to disappear after you delete them. Though you cannot find them, these files usually remain on your computer until they are overwritten with other data.

You have two basic choices once you discover that you cannot recover deleted files through the recycle bin. You can obtain a hard disk utility that helps you located the missing files or take your computer hard drive to a data recovery specialist. If you choose the first option, you can usually find helpful hard disk utilities online. They search for files that do not have corresponding pointer information, which would usually allow you to locate your files. This type of program then provides a list of files for you to review; you can recover deleted files in this way if your hard drive hasn't already overwritten your data.

If you don’t want to attempt to recover deleted files on your own, you may take your computer hard drive to a data recovery specialist. This type of professional typically has special programs and significant experience with recovering files. Alternatively, you may search for a data recovery specialist who is willing to travel to your home or place of business, but his fees are likely to be higher than if you delivered your hard drive to his place of business.



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