Recovering Your Deleted File (A Complete Guide)

By | August 8, 2013
You would have probably gone through situation where you were deleting a bulk of unused files and accidently selected and important file that gets deleted. This article will guide you through different ways through which you can recover your file. The guide will start from basic and will end up with the professional way. So first of all let’s study what actually happens when you delete a file.

What happens when you press “delete”?

When you press delete button it usually goes to the recycle bin or trash can and we also get the option to recover it. But what happens when that file is deleted or emptied from recycle bin? Actually the whole of the stuff happens on your hard drive. The hard drives stores data in form of “pointers” (If you’ve learned  C or C++ pointers you’ll actually understand the concept). The the file get stored in the pointer when it is created. But, when you delete the file it actually doesn’t get removed. It’s still logically present in the pointer, unless, other file or data is created and that data gets overwritten on the deleted file. Hence, the overwriting actually deletes the file. So, until a new file or data is not created  your deleted file can be recovered. But, the thing is you should recover the file immediately when deleted, because it doesn’t take much time for new data to be overwritten in that pointer.

Getting back your file: The Basic way

The most basic way to get back your deleted file is from the recycle bin. You just need to right click on the file and press restore. But there are many programs like CCleaner that can empty your recycle bin when started. Never make that run automatically at the background, it prevents you from restoring your data. But if you’re not sure if you’ve deleted it, you can make a search for it in the search box.
deleted file search
Now going onto your cloud storage- Dropbox, google drive, sky drive, etc…. You also get the same option in there to delete the files and also hide those deleted files. It’s good with cloud storage, that you never get your file removed when deleted. At Least for a limited period.
dropbox hide file

Backup the file

You should always backup your most important file. In windows 7 you can backup your data by opening the control panel > Backup and Restore > Backup Now. And if you’ve never used backup before, you should click on Step up backup . You should always backup on other external data storage device (DVD or pendrive) so that your backed up data won’t fall in bad hands.
backup windows 7
You can also find the previous versions of a particular folder. That means the files that were present before but now deleted can be seen in this option. You can do this by right click on folder > properties > previous version.

Recovery impossible on some computers

So you have come this far and still couldn’t recover your file. There may be hard drive problem for your computer. If you’ve got a Solid-state hard drive than you should forget about that file. Because the solid-state drives immediately remove the file using the trim function to free up the data on SSD so that new data can be entered in future.
The option in the Traditional Magnetic hard disk. The magnetic drive doesn’t really delete the file until a new file is overwritten on it. As I explained before about pointers. The pointer gets deleted and not the file. It stays till the overwriting occurs. So, if you’ve got a magnetic hard drive, then hopefully you can restore your drive and get your file back.
magnetic drive and ssd

The Safest way

If you’ve got the magnetic drive, than you should immediately shut down your PC, don’t even wait for downloading the file restoring software or using the backup function. This may make other data to overwrite over that file. It doesn’t take much time for the overwriting process. So, the safest way is to shut down , remove your hard drive and install it on another computer, be sure to make it the secondary drive. This will avoid overwriting and you can possibly recover the data.
The guide is till not over. Will add more ways to recover your file. Stay tuned.

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