Comprehensive Beginner's Guide to File Recovery

These days, data is of prime importance not only to organizations, but also for individuals. We value our personal information and it’s of utmost importance to us. Losing it can make us go bonkers. We would never want to lose even a small part of it, but in reality, it happens. It can be accidental deletion of files, your favourite pics can get corrupt, your presentation can just vanish, and what not.

Whatever the reason for data loss is – hardware failure, virus damage or any other factor like manual mistakes, the fact is any data that is lost makes us jittery. We try every possible thing to recover the lost data. The first thing to keep in mind is that recovering deleted files is very much possible from your devices if you know the basics of file recovery.

Here is a comprehensive beginner’s guide to recovering the lost files if they have gone missing somehow.

  • Minimise the Use of the Device on Which You Have the Deleted File: This is because when you right click and press delete, the system actually doesn’t delete the file but hides it. The file directory is removed and the space is marked as free to use for some other data. If you continue using the device, something else can get stored at that very location decreasing the chances of recovering the old file. This happens more often on devices that have limited space like a USB or a memory card. Thus, minimising the use of device gives a better probability of nothing getting stored at that particular location making retrieval easy.
  • Recover from Trash or Recycle Bin: If you have not emptied your recycle bin in Windows or trash bin in Mac, then you can easily locate the files you require in it. Right-click on the bin and choose ‘Restore’ and the file will be sent back to the original location.
  • To Recover Older Deleted Files: If you have already emptied the recycle bin or trash bin after the file has been deleted or lost, you can try finding it from the free backup feature that is in-built in operating systems. For Windows, you can follow the below method depending upon the Windows version that you are using.
  • Check cloud storage – If you’ve saved the files in cloud storage, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, check the cloud storage account to see if the files are still there.

Here are the steps to check your cloud storage:

  1. Log in to your cloud storage account using your username and password.
  2. Look for the folder or location where the lost files were stored.
  3. Check the recycle bin or trash folder in your cloud storage. Some cloud storage services may keep deleted files in the recycle bin or trash folder for a limited time before permanently deleting them.
  4. Use the search function to search for the lost files by name or file type.
  5. If you find the lost files, select them and click the “Restore” or “Download” button to recover the files to your device.

If you still cannot find the lost files in your cloud storage, you can try using file recovery software or contact the cloud storage provider’s support team for assistance.

For Windows 7: Go to Start> Computers> folder where the file was originally stored. Right-click on that folder and then choose ‘Restore previous versions’. The complete list of all the files or folders deleted in that will be displayed with date and time and you can choose the one that you want to restore.

For Windows 10/8.1/8: Here once you reach the target folder that contained the deleted file, you can click on the ‘History’ option. It will display all the files that were available in the most recent backup. Click on ‘Previous’ to get the deleted file that you want to retrieve followed by ‘Restore’.

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  • Data Recovery Software: If these two simple methods don’t work, you have the option of retrieving your lost files using data recovery software. It is mostly a third-party software that is designed to deal with all complicated file recoveries. It usually has a user-friendly interface and is capable of recovering all the files lost during a system crash, manual error, virus attack etc.

Recovering a lost or a deleted file is very much possible only if you know your basics of file recovery right.