Retrieving Deleted Files from Hard Drive – Methods and Precautions

Alas! My PC ate my precious files” – You all come across such situations at least once in your lifetime. Sometimes you accidentally delete an important file, or at times realize that you need to backup some files before cleaning up the Recycle Bin, or sometimes you mistakenly press shift + delete keys. Whatever be the reason, you lose your crucial files in the end. However, there is nothing to lose hope, you should search and retrieve the deleted files in your hard drive. All you need to know is how to find those.

Read also: How to Fix a Corrupted Hard Drive

retrieving deleted files from hard drive

Search Your Deleted File(s) in The Recycle Bin

Stop panicking! Before you click your big panic button, search your deleted files in the Recycle Bin once more. In case you have not pressed Shift + delete or performed a hard delete, you can easily find them in the Recycle Bin.

Use Valid Backup

Backup is always one of the best ways to recover your deleted or lost files. Therefore, if you have a valid backup of your deleted files, then you can always use it to restore lost data.

Use Professional Hard Drive Recovery Software

The deletion only deletes the indexes of deleted files from the hard drive and the file still remains at its location intact. However, absence of the index entry of files make them inaccessible by Operating System (OS). Thus you can no longer see a deleted file. In such a situation, a professional hard drive recovery tool works as a boon. It scans your hard drive for all files without any indexes, and then extracts them. So you can use an efficient hard drive recovery software to recover your lost files. If necessary, you can also use a professional recovery service such as Bond Rees to recover your lost files if something goes wrong. 

Note: Choosing hard drive recovery tools won’t guarantee that all your data will be recovered. You have to avoid using the problematic devices until the deleted data has been recovered.

Go Search at Different Location

Sometimes, we just move our files from one place to another and later, we tried to search it at the wrong location. So make sure that you haven’t change the location of any of your files and if yes, use search features of your computer. Therefore, it is always a good idea to name your files properly for the ease of searching.

Read also: 6 Common Ways Modern Data is Lost

Precautions to Take Note When Trying to Recover Deleted Files

It is always recommended to use an appropriate method to retrieve your deleted files from hard drive. However, in order to perform a successful recovery, you have to follow certain precautions, such as:

Use secondary data storage device for saving backup

  • It is always advised to create and maintain the backup of your hard drive data on some secondary data storage devices, like pen drives, CDs/DVDs, external hard drives, and many others, so that you can restore your data even after your hard drive crashes.

Stop using your computer

  • As you know the deleted files do not get out of your hard drive instead their entries get deleted, thus the OS marks the space occupied by them as free to use. In this way, despite the presence of your files on your hard drive, your computer feels free to use this free space and writes new file on top of the already saved file. This causes complications for recovery software, and thus recovery of your deleted files becomes difficult. Therefore, it is necessary to stop using your computer or its hard drive completely until the recovery software performs its job.

Do not install recovery software on hard drive of affected computer

  • Installing recovery software on hard drive of affected computer can generate high chances of data overwriting on hard drive. So you may download the data recovery software on any other system and attach your affected hard drive as secondary drive to this computer.


By following the precautions and using aforementioned steps, you can easily retrieve those deleted files from your hard drive and overcome the loss of your precious files.

Read more: How to Recover Windows Data Using Data Recovery Software


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