|   Recovering Deleted Files

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Recovering Deleted Files

Windows offers users a great tool to postpone the delete operation. Windows Recycle Bin will hold deleted files, folders and documents for a while, offering users the ability to easily reverse file delete operation. But what if the file you need is gone from the Recycle Bin, was deleted directly by a third-party program, or the Recycle Bin feature was never enabled?

In most cases, the file is not gone forever, and can still be recovered if you use a right file recovery tool properly and right away.

Let's stop briefly on the "right", "properly" and "right away".

Using the Right File Recovery Tools

There are literally hundreds of tools marketed by various manufacturers that are promising to undelete files in an instant. In 9 cases out of 10, the claims are not substantiated. To understand what's going on here, let's look into the way Windows handles file delete operations.

How Windows Deletes Files

When you delete a file, assuming there's no Recycle Bin, Windows will not wipe the file clear. Instead, it simply places a mark into the file system to indicate the file as deleted and advertise disk space occupied by that file as available. From now on, Windows and applications are allowed write into that space (and that's why you want to act fast, before the content of your deleted document if overwritten with other data).

The Simple Undelete Tools

Simpler undelete tools will scan the file system and locate files marked as deleted.

They will then attempt to reverse the operation by resetting the "deleted" flag. There are many problems with this simplistic approach.

Other applications could have already used some of the space occupied by the deleted file, in which case reversing the delete operation will corrupt the file system by creating overlapping records.

The file system itself is constantly re-using records, making information about deleted files disappear quickly and without a trace. As a result, the simpler tools may be unable to find and undelete files you want.

What the Right Undelete Tools Do

The right file recovery tool will make use of all information available from the file system, but will never rely solely on it.

Tools such as Recovery Mechanic can actually scan the entire surface of your hard disk or read the entire content of a memory card in order to reliably locate documents, compressed archives, email messages, pictures, music and video files by their characteristic signatures.

This allows recovering many more files in a much safer way than with any of the simpler undelete tools.

The Proper Way of Using File Recovery Tools

Choosing the right file recovery tool is important, but using it in a proper way is essential.

The most important thing is to never install a file recovery tool onto the same disk or partition that holds your deleted files.

If you do that, or write anything else onto that disk or partition, you'll face a great risk of losing your files forever. Remember how Windows deletes files? The free space occupied by a deleted file can be used by the system to store something else… like the undelete tool you're installing.

Always install the file recovery tool to a different disk or drive letter.

If you only have one disk in your system and your deleted files sit on that disk, install it onto a flash drive, USB stick or a memory card. Of course, if you're about to undelete files from a memory card, you should install a data recovery application onto the system hard drive - and not on the memory card.

Act Quickly

With Windows and applications constantly running and performing multiple disk write operations every minute, it is essential to act as fast as you can. Don't wait, or you'll risk losing your deleted files forever!

Download Recovery Mechanic

Recovery Mechanic will help you recover the files you deleted. Equipped with the last-generation signature search algorithms, Recovery Mechanic can search your entire hard drive for deleted documents.

It works on crashed, formatted, repartitioned and even inaccessible disks, and supports a wide range of storage media from hard drives to memory cards. It works with NTFS-compressed and NTFS-encrypted files, and helps you recover data lost because of virus attacks, power outages and system failures. A convenient wizard-based interface guides even the least experienced users through the entire process step by step.

Instant pre-recovery preview allows viewing deleted files before the recovery.

Try it now - it's 100% free to try!


  • Wizard-based, step-by-step operation

  • Standard Windows Explorer-like interface available to advanced users

  • Drag and Drop support

  • Supports Microsoft Windows 9x / NT / 2000 / XP / 2003 / 2008 / Vista / Windows 7 in 32-bit and 64-bit editions

  • Supports all versions and revisions of FAT / FAT32 / NTFS / NTFS5

  • Proprietary FAT32 recovery technologies offer better than competition recovery rates

  • Recovers compressed and encrypted files (NTFS, NTFS5)

  • Supports all types of storage media including hard drives, SSD, memory cards, USB and flash drives, removable and external storage devices