Recover Files After Deletion – For Free!

Humans, true to their nature, will always make mistakes. That said, how much effect that mistake has on their daily routine depends on how quick that mistake is found out and rectified.

And one of the main reasons that you lose data is through human error. Deleting a file (or even formatting even) is a fairly common occurrence and is not fatal mistake on its own. Deleted files by default will go to the recycle bin first and if you are missing any files, just check your recycle bin.

However, the problem arises when you have emptied the recycle bin OR pressed (shift+del) to permanently delete the file (like I always do). When this happens, you have no way of retrieving the data through conventional methods.

To get them back, you need special software, another computer, and loads of luck. Oh, and stop using the computer. You do not want to accidentally overwrite the data and lose any chance of  recovering  data.


First you need to remove the hard disk (the one with the deleted data), connect it to another computer and set it as a secondary/slave drive.

Why do you need to do this though?

This measure is taken to ensure that you do not accidentally overwrite the data which you just lost. To do recovery, you will be working on an image file of the hard disk instead of the hard disk itself. I will tell you the reason later.


Remember that you need to attach the hard disk as a secondary/slave drive? If you haven’t done it, do so now! After you have done that, you need data recovery software to help you  recover  the data that you just deleted. I’m using ADRC’s data recovery tools software, as it is free (and it works well too!). Download it at this location:

ADRC Data Recovery Tools

Download, unzip and double-click on the program icon. The ADRC data recovery tools application should open. No installation is required.

Create Disk Image

Creating a disk image file, while not really necessary, gives you a buffer so that if anything happens during the recovery phase, you can always fall back on the original disk as it remains untouched.

Once ADRC data recovery tools is running, You need to open the “image backup/restore” window. To do this, under the tools menu, select “image backup/restore”. Then, click the “Create Image from Disk” radio button.

Click the browse button under “Image File” and choose a suitable file name before saving. Under “Image Disk“, select the drive you want to create the image from, i.e.; the drive that you have lost data on. Then click the transfer button and wait for imaging to finish.

Remember that you must never ever save the image file to the same drive as the one you lost data on.

Recovery Phase

Once the imaging and backup is done, we can finally proceed to the recovery phase.

We are still going to use ADRC data recovery tools software. This time however, under “tools“, select “undelete“. Select the image file that you created and click “search“. After this, there will be an agonising wait for the process to finish. With luck, the file you need and deleted can be found in the list.

Select the files (to select many files, press ctrl and click) that you need. This can be a tedious process as there may be many files which you do not need populating the list. Persevere! You need the files! Once you have selected the files, simply click the “Undelete Files” button. You will then be prompted to specify a location to save the files.

And there you have it! As long as you do not do anything (much) to the hard disk, you should have no problems in  recovering  the  files  you need.

Source by Suhaimi Baruddin

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