How To Recover Deleted Files In Windows

We have all done it - detected a file or folder we did not mean to. With Microsoft Windows (and most other desktop operating systems), you can get these "deleted" files back from the Recycle Bin, or it's equivalent. However, if you have since emptied the Recycle Bin, or disabled it - then what? Assuming you don't have a backup of some sort, there are utilities you can use that can often get back deleted files.

The reason you can even do this is that Windows does not actually delete files immediately (regardless of the Recycle Bin behavior); it just makes that area of disk space available if needed in the future. If nothing is written to that part of the disk in the interim, then the file should still be there - it's just invisible to the operating system at that point.

Note that emptying the Recycle Bin on a Windows PC running on an Solid State Drive (SSD) will likely render the file unrecoverable, even using consumer utilities. SSDs are found on some newer PCs (usually notebooks), and they work differently from a traditional hard drive in this regard.

By the way, this is the reason why you need to be careful if you sell or donate an old computer - simply deleting folders and files is generally not a good way to prepare for that kind of transaction. See here for some ways to more permanently delete data.

One such free tool is "Recuva" from Piriform - the same folks that make CCleaner and several other Windows utilities. Below is a short video by a nice English bloke on how to use it:

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