We’ve all been there at some point in time. You accidentally delete a file or folder from your computer or another data storage device and you’re left unsure about what to do next.
Whether it’s a work presentation, family photos or your college assignment – losing data is never a pleasant experience. However, try not to panic as your deleted data may still be recoverable.
Some basic safety precautions
Successful data recoveries are dependent on a number of factors, but if you suspect you’ve lost data, it’s best to stop using your device immediately to prevent any further damage. With this in mind, remember to download the software to a different system than the one you are trying to recover data from. This is very important, as it avoids you using the affected device further and potentially overwriting the very data you’re trying to recover!
In addition to this, if your device is physically damaged do not attempt a DIY recovery in any capacity. Instead, contact a data recovery professional who can give you some advice on what to do next.
If you’re certain that there’s nothing physically wrong with your device then you can try using a DIY software tool like Ontrack EasyRecovery to recover your lost information. In this post we’ll be showing you step-by-step how to recover deleted files using this tool. For demonstration purposes, we’ve deleted some photos from a USB flash drive and will use Ontrack EasyRecovery for Windows to get them back.
Step 1: Choose your file types
Firstly, you’ll want to select the type of files you want to recover. If you know what type of file(s) that went missing (e.g. Word document or a JPG image), then make sure that option is checked before continuing, or just select ‘All Data’:
Step 2: Select the device or location
You then need to select the device or location from where you wish to recover data from. This software can recover data from a multitude of devices and locations, including your internal hard drive, SSDs, SD cards and USB drives. The only requirement is that it is recognised as a ‘removable media device’.
Simply connect your device, select it from the list and start the scan. If your device doesn’t appear in this list, then it might not be recognised by your system as a removable media device. In this case you will need to contact your local IT specialist or data recovery professional or for further guidance.
Step 3: Start the scan
Now you can press ‘Scan’ to begin the process of looking for your files. The software will default to running a ‘Quick Scan’ first, which attempts to find lost files as fast as possible. If you’d like to conduct a more thorough scan you can choose the ‘Deep Scan’ option when prompted, or you can choose to do this later if you can’t see the files you need.
It may take a short while for the software to complete the scan depending on the condition of your device and the amount of data stored on it. As you can see in the image above, you are shown an overview of the current status of the scan, including how much data has been identified and the amount of time left until it completes.
Step 4: Save your files
Finally, once the scan has finished the software will display a list of all the data it can recover. Note that on the top-left of the window you have the option of filtering by ‘File Type’, ‘Tree View’ or ‘Deleted List’; the latter will only show you the deleted/lost data that has been identified and will ignore everything else.
You can preview the data that the software has found by simply clicking on files shown in the list, which is handy if you’re looking for particular photos, videos or documents to recover. You can also use the search bar on the top-right of the window to find specific file names.
To recover your deleted data, simply click the checkboxes to the left of the files or folders you need and then click ‘Recover’. You’ll then be prompted to choose where you would like to recover your data to. Always choose somewhere other than where the data loss occurred, for example; if you’re trying to recover deleted data from a USB drive, like we are doing, save the recovered data to your computer’s desktop or documents folder.
In a hurry?
If you don’t have time to recover your data right away, simply close down the software and you will be prompted to save your results first. You can then pick up where you left off at a later time with the useful ‘Resume Recovery’ button on the top toolbar, instead of having to run the whole scan again.
Once you’ve recovered the data you need, check it over thoroughly to make sure you haven’t missed any files or folders. If you suspect that something is missing, try running a ‘Deep Scan’ so that the software can spend more time analysing your device for potentially better results.
That wraps up our guide of how to recover deleted files. If you’d like to download Ontrack EasyRecovery Free (which lets you recover 1GB of data for free) you can do so via our website.
Have you used Ontrack EasyRecovery to recover your deleted files? What did you think of the software? Let us know by tweeting @OntrackUKIE
Mikey has been with Ontrack for 6 years and is the Partner Program Manager, based out of the Epsom, UK office. He is a regular contributor to the Ontrack blog, usually writing about how different types of data storage technologies work. Outside of work you’ll find him either with a guitar in his hands or learning about rocket science.