Have you ever faced a situation where you have accidentally deleted an important file from the Recycle Bin? Most people believe that once this happens, it is impossible to recover it.
But actually, such deleted files can be recovered, though the chances of success decrease as time passes. This is because, when a file is deleted, it is not actually removed from the drive. It is still there, although no longer visible to the user.

The delete function just tells the computer that the space that particular file occupied is no longer reserved for that file, and it becomes free space, available to be written into by another file or program. Now, when new data gets written onto the drive, it may use the free space which was freed by the deleted file. In this case, the deleted file can become unrecoverable.

Important note : If you have accidentally deleted an important file, then you should try to recover it as soon as possible.

If you want to try to get back those files you’ve accidentally deleted, you will need to use some kind of data recovery software. There are many available – some free, some paid. You can find these programs by searching for them on any search engine – there are quite a few out there. Read the descriptions carefully, and when you have made your choice, download and install the software, following whatever instructions came with it.

Note : Most of the Data Recovery Software available nowadays will also work to recover data from USB drives, even cameras and iPods.
Most of this software is really very easy to use. Here is a general outline of how most of this type of software works:

  1. First, you will be asked to select the drive from which the files are to be recovered.
  2. Then, the software will scan the selected drive for deleted files. This will usually take some time, so be patient.
  3. You will then be shown a list of the deleted files of the drive, along with the directory from which the file was deleted & in most cases its recovery status. (The recovery status is an interesting and important part of the file’s information. As the name suggests, it shows the probability of being able to recover any deleted file, ranging from Unrecoverable to Excellent, or equivalent terms, depending on the software used.)
  4. At this point, you will use the software to select the files you wish to recover. Usually the files will be restored to their original location, but sometimes you will be given the option to indicate where you would like to put the restored files.
  5. Check the files after you have recovered them – open them with the appropriate program and make sure they are not corrupted.

As a final note – it is always a good idea to make backup copies of any critical files on a separate hard disk or flash drive, even burn them to a CD if necessary.