As much as we want to keep all of our files on our PC, there are instances where we need the space, or the clutter is just affecting the latency, so we delete them. But what if you accidentally deleted the wrong file or have forgotten to save a copy in the cloud?
Depending on the importance of that data, the sharp pain in the chest and cold sweat behind the neck will inevitably start to creep in. Your mind rushes to trace back your movements to confirm if you just made an irreversible blunder, and when it comes back with an eerie, yes, the next question is: what now
Don’t fret, not all errors don’t have to feel like being in a slasher film, there are ways to recover deleted files even from damaged storage devices.
Here are some tips on recovering permanently deleted files from your computer:
1. Check Cloud
This is pretty obvious, but sometimes when we sign up for cloud services, we don’t notice that our files get automatically saved in the cloud. So when we accidentally delete it from our PC, we might miss checking our cloud service account and see if we have the latest version saved.
So if you’re looking for ways to recover a deleted file, take the easy way first and log on to your storage services such as DropBox, Google Drive, or OneDrive and search for the file you think you deleted. Your cloud acts as a secondary Recycle Bin that can help you restore deleted files on your computer.
2. Professional Recovery Service Providers
If you lost an unimportant file or something you can recreate with ease, then enlisting the services of a professional can be expensive. However, crucial files are worth the extra expenses if it means you can recover them safely. Mark Hodges writes about the professionals from Recovered Sydney with a presence in Sydney and says that the no recovery no charge scheme speaks volumes of their confidence in their ability.
Because you don’t want to shell out for something that’s not yet guaranteed, hence the price should only reflect the desired output. The prices may vary depending on the nature of the problem and the difficulty of having your data restored but as mentioned, choose a service provider that only charges when they get the job done at a set period of time.
3. Use Recovery Software
You can also use third-party software to recover data, although you shouldn’t expect too much like getting the complete latest version of the file. There is free software available that allows you to recover up to 500 MB of data. When you accidentally delete a file, especially if you’re using a magnetic disk drive, the best option you have is to shut your computer down immediately.
Continuing to run your computer even if you’re installing recovery software diminishes the chance of getting the data back since it can write over the deleted file in your drive.
After shutting down, you must boot from a live CD or an external drive (removing your hard disk completely is a viable option). You can have your hard drive run as a secondary drive from a different computer or to the same one but booting from a different device.
What we’re after here is to avoid writing over the disk as if you’ve just recently deleted the file, there is still a good chance of getting it back. When you run your drive as a secondary, you can use your recovery software to scan for the deleted file and restore it safely.
4. Restore From File History
In Windows 10, File History replaced the Backup and Restore feature of the previous generation of the Operating System. When you have it enabled, it copies certain files and folders and saves it into a designated folder. Usually, it saves files from Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and folders in the Desktop, so if you’re using those folders, you’ll have a good chance of recovering them. Using this feature, you’d want to do the following:
- Open Windows Explorer and go to the folder where the file was deleted.
- Anywhere on the folder, right-click to open additional menu options and select Restore previous versions.
- Select the right File History backup and open it to view the preview.
- From there, you can select the files you’d want to restore and click the Recover button to finish.
5. System Image Recovery
This feature allows you to backup an entire operating system of Windows 10, it’s not specifically made to recover specific files and folders. If you’re running out of options, you can try this method by doing the following steps:
- On the Start Menu, search for “Settings”.
- Select the Update & Security folder, and click on the Recovery option from the list.
- Make sure you save your work first, and from the Advanced option, click on the “Restart now” button.
- Go to Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, click “See more recovery option”, and then the System Image Recovery.
- Click the System Image backup and go to Next.
- Select the additional restore options and Next.
- Make sure you review the details of the Image backup and click Finish to start recovery.
6. Recover Through CMD
If you’re up for some old-school command syntax, the CMD route might be able to help you restore deleted files on your computer. This route allows you to access system files and get back deleted files without having to download third-party software. Follow these steps to access the Command Prompt and recover your deleted data:
- From the Desktop, press Win + R and type CMD to run the prompt.
- Enter the following command: chkdsk A:/r (replace A with the letter of your drive)
- When asked if you want to “convert lost chains to files”, type Y and enter.
- To restore hidden, protected files, and system attributes, enter the following command: attrib -h -r -s /s /d A:*.* (replace A with the letter of your drive).
Deleting an important file by accident or due to software or hardware malfunction happens to everyone, the best solution is always to regularly back up your data. As discussed, Windows has a feature allowing you to restore important system files, but for personal data, you might want to invest in backup cloud software to avoid wrangling with the recovery of deleted files.