When you store files on your computer, they generally go onto a hard disk drive. When you (accidentally) delete a file in Windows, the data is generally still there. It simply “hides” it by removing the first character in the file name. The space that this file occupied is now fair game for other files to be saved overtop.
That is why it is critical to STOP EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING on your computer if you suddenly realize you mistakenly deleted a file. There is a higher probability of recovering that file if you don’t allow your computer to overwrite the space being occupied by the (now) deleted file.
Finding free programs that can perform data recovery is fairly difficult. You need to be careful what you download. Many programs use the word free but really they are simply talking about the download of the file. They allow you to scan your drive, you get all excited, and then when you go to recover the files you realize you need to purchase a license for the software (though usually they aren’t that expensive).
One program that I have found that is free and does work is Pandora Recovery. It is a Windows only program. Unfortunately as this is a program that you need to install on your Windows computer, it does take space and does increase the likelihood of overwritting portions of the files you are trying to recover. Unless you have installed this program before the problem occured.
Going one step further towards disaster would be where your computer simply won’t boot into Windows. Perhaps you hear a loud clicking sound or your hard drive doesn’t even spin up at all. This is something everyone dreads.
Read next’s weeks blog article to discover how to try and recover files from a hard drive that won’t boot into Windows.