How to recover missing, lost, or deleted files
Before reviewing the below recommendations and suggestions, verify that the files are deleted. In some cases, the files may have moved. You can search the hard drive for the files you believe to be missing by running find or search on the computer.
Restore from Recycle Bin or Trash
If present in this area, it can be recovered by right-clicking the file and selecting Restore in the menu.
Recover file from backup
Download freeware program or purchase a program
When a file is deleted (even when removed from the Recycle Bin), the space used by the files is marked as available. However, the data in that space is not immediately overwritten with new data. Assuming no other file has overwritten the deleted file on the hard drive, a recovery program can recover deleted files. Below is a list of freeware file recovery programs that help recover lost data.
In Windows, if you're prompted to run a program as an administrator, such as Restoration, right-click the executable file and choose Run as administrator.
If other programs were installed or data was moved on the hard drive since a file was deleted, it cannot be recovered using these programs.
There are also several companies who have created programs designed to recover your lost data. For example, PowerQuest makes the utility Drive Image that in some cases can recover data from a hard drive.
Utilize a service from a company that specializes in recovering lost data
Utilize the service of a local data recovery company or an out-of-state data recovery company. One word of caution is that these services can sometimes be very expensive. We recommend they be used only if the data is critical or data cannot be read from the hard drive. Below is a listing for a few of the major data recovery companies.
- Action Front Data Recovery
- CBL Data Recovery Technologies Inc.
- Doctor Byte
- DriveSavers Data Recovery
- Kroll Ontrack
- Lazarus Data Recovery
- Secure Data Recovery Services
- Stellar Data Recovery
- DataCent Professional Data Recovery
- Virtual Data Recovery
- Wondershare RecoverIt
There are also several companies that specialize in the service of recovering files or documents that are password protected. Below is a listing of some of the companies that provide this service.