It happens to all of us. Maybe you accidentally emptied your Recycle Bin after a disk cleanup, or you subconsciously pressed SHIFT+Delete key combination that permanently delete selected files without sending them to your Recycle Bin.
Fortunately, files that are permanently deleted aren’t immediately destroyed, until the particular space where your file contents are stored is overwritten. The longer you wait, the higher the probability of the files are overwritten.
Also, recently created files that are deleted within a short period have lower chance to recover. This is because Windows assign the lowest MFT entry whenever a new file is created. Once the new file is deleted, Windows will probably use the available MFT entry for other disk operations as it is often the lowest MFT entry Windows can find.
Therefore, to increase the chance of getting your deleted files back, here’s what you must do now:
- Stop using your computer to perform any tasks. Close any unnecessary and unneeded applications.
- Install data recovery software to undelete your files. Below is a list of recommended free data recovery software. If one doesn’t work for you, move to the next data recovery software until you get your files back.
- If you have more than one disk partition, install data recovery software on separate partition where your Recycle Bin isn’t located, to avoid overwriting your deleted files during installation.
Recuva is hands down the most popular and best free data recovery software. It makes recovering files much easier with Recuva Wizard, a step-by-step wizard that guides you through the recovery process. You can also upgrade to Recuva Professional that includes priority technical support.
1. When you first launch Recuva after installation, Recuva will automatically show Recuva Wizard on startup. Click Next.
2. Select the specific type of files that you wish to recover and click Next. Leave it to All Files if you want to restore all types of files.
3. Select In the Recycle Bin and click Next.
4. Click Start to begin searching for deleted Recycle Bin files.
5. Select the files you want to recover and click Recover. The color of the dot next to the file name indicates the probability for a successful recovery (green for excellent, orange for acceptable, and red for unlikely).
6. If Recuva failed to locate or retrieve your files, repeat step 1 – 5 again, with the checkbox of Enable Deep Scan ticked (refer to step 4).
EaseUS Data Recovery is another great recovery tool that is often compared to Recuva. Its free edition allows you to recover up to 2GB of data, or you can upgrade to pro version to restore unlimited data and enjoy free lifetime technical support.
1. Install EaseUS Data Recovery and select Deleted File Recovery.
2. Select types of lost files and click Next.
3. Select the partition where your deleted files are located and click Next to start scanning.
4. Select files that you wish to restore and click Recover.
5. If your files are not found or corrupted, go back to the home screen and select Complete Recovery.
What if both Recuva and EaseUS don’t work for me?
Your files are probably overwritten, but it is possible that your deleted files still exist. Try your luck with the following free undelete utilities, but don’t put your hopes high: