How to Recover Deleted Files in Windows with Free Software


Authored by Kumara Velu in Computer Software
Published on 03-18-2009

If you have been using Windows for a while, you would have noticed that once you clear files from the Recycle Bin, there’s no way to recover them. This could be costly if you have accidentally thrashed an important file you thought you have already backed up.

Many consider the unavailability of the option to recover a deleted file a step backward for Windows from the DOS days, where the `undelete’ file command could be used to recover a file accidentally deleted. So, is there an undelete option for Windows users? Yes, there is and, surprisingly, it comes in the form of a freeware called Restoration. Restoration works with Windows 95/98/NT/2000 and Windows XP. What this means is it will work whether your hard disk has a FAT 32 or NTFS configuration. Restoration requires no installation. You can easily run it from your hard drive, floppy or flash drive.


Can Restoration recover any deleted file? It can recover most deleted files. If it can’t, it’s mostly your fault. The moment you realize that you have accidentally deleted a file, you must put Restoration to work immediately. The longer you wait, the slimmer your chance of recovering the deleted file.

When a file is deleted, it is not permanently removed from the system yet. Windows just frees up the space taken up by the file before it was deleted. As long as Windows does not use the space to fill it up with another file, you have a chance of recovering the file you’ve deleted. If you have done something else after removing the file from the Recycle Bin, chances are the space used by the deleted file will be written over by another file. That is why the moment you realize you have accidentally deleted a file, you should not do any work on your computer – no installing software, no downloading files from the Internet, no copying or moving files.

Also, if you’ve run disk defragmenter after deleting your files, the chances of recovering them are slim because the space created by the deleted files may have been filled up by the disk defragmenter.

Another tip to prevent overwriting of deleted files is to keep the data files in a separate drive. It’s a wise option to partition your hard disk. In case, you accidentally delete a file which not in the same directory as your operating system, you will not risk Windows overwriting the space created when you shut down or start up your system.

I did a test with Restoration and it was able to detect 212,303 files deleted from my C: drive. Pretty impressive isn’t it?

Restoration, which is developed by Brian Kato, is available for download at http://www3.telus.net/mikebike/RESTORATION.html


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