It happens to all of us – that moment of panic when it dawns on you that you have wiped out precious data from your computer. The pictures you took on your Paris vacation, that email your client sent confirming the details of a project and the novel that you have been trying to finish writing – those are all important files that you need to recover.
While you can go run to a corner to just melt down and cry, you can also calm down and see your options because yes, you can try to recover your files.
STEP 1: Do Not Save Anything New On Your Device
Whether it is your computer, your camera, or iPod you have to remember this. As you save new data, your device frees up memory for new files by removing older deleted ones that are still stored until you need the space.
If the file you want to recover was in your computer’s hard drive and you absolutely need to save something, use an external storage device first. Do not take chances.
STEP 2: Rummage Through The Trash
You may have done it in real life, looking for a paper you’ve thrown in the can or a purchase receipt. Fortunately, on a computer, the trash bins you have to rummage through don’t smell. Computers know we can be careless sometimes. So unless the data you’re looking for are not several gigabytes in size each, most likely it’s still there in the recycle bin and can be restored easily.
You’re thinking right now, “I’m not a doorknob, that’s basic.” Sure, smarty pants. It’s still good to be reminded while you are in a state of panic.
Unfortunately, other devices and external drives do not have recycle bins. This is when you will need additional help.
STEP 3: Use File Recovery Software
Several file recovery systems, both free and paid, that offer solutions to this problem are available online. You do not need to be a professional and even if you go for a paid version, you will only need to shell out under $50 for the ones that have the best features. The good news is that even commercial software can have free trial periods.
Data Recovery Pro
Look for the data recovery program that will offer you the ability to revive files even from partitioned drives and most external storage devices. Data Recovery Pro, for example, also recovers data from iPods and other music players. Do check out trusted sites and forums to see your options.
If you are going to invest, then it is better to get the maximum amount of features too. Recovery file systems will let you see all the deleted files outside the Recycle Bin. However, remember that there could be an enormous amount of data in there and it could take you forever to search for your files. The software you need is one that will offer you a systematized search and of course, superior filtering.
Develop The Habit Of Backing Up Your Files
There will always be a search box for your files in any recovery software, just like your native Recycle Bin. However, it is difficult to remember file names sometimes. As a step up, advanced software offers you the ability to search even the contents of a file. It is also possible to recover deleted emails this way. Moreover, good software will be able to let you preview the file before you restore it, then save it in a desired location, thereby saving you from all the trouble of looking for the files after restoring them.
Some recovery software could malfunction so choose your recovery software wisely. If you decide to purchase your software, then make sure your chosen provider has a customer support hotline, which can also guide you through the process.
If all else fails, professionals may be able to help you but it may come at a cost you are not ready to pay. Even the best recovery software, however, may not be able to find all of your lost files and so professionals may be able to help. Be sure to go to trusted technicians though, as there have been cases wherein “professionals” have snooped through the files that they have recovered.
In the end, the lesson is to prevent this catastrophe from happening. Develop the habit of backing up your files. If for some reason you still forget, well now you know what to do.