The trash can in Windows can be a life saver for recovering deleted files or folders, if you did not hold the Shift key and permanently deleted the items. But what if you did a permanent delete, and realize you either made a mistake or just need to get the file or folder back?
Chances are good for recovery of the items, using a simple utility called Free Undelete.
To maximize Free Undelete capability to recover your files or folders, it's recommended to install the utility on a small partition, or external USB Drives. Not on the primary partition or hard drive where files and folders will be deleted frequently.
Why? Because, when you delete a file or folder, the operating System does not permanently delete the data from disk. Instead, as more disk activity occurs, disk sectors (where data resides on disk) are overwritten causing any data that was located in the sectors to be written with new data.
As time goes by, and more disk activity occurs, chances of recovering delete files become less successful.
To install, download Freeundelete and run freeundelete.exe. Follow the install instructions and decide the best location to install the program. Before launching, make sure all other applications and programs have been closed. After installation has completed, Free Undelete will launch.
Select the drive you want to scan and click the Scan button. When scanning has completed, you will see a list of items found:
The list will show all the folders and files that have been deleted that can be recovered. Take notice in the Status column. Ir will show you the condition of the file or folder. Good means that you will be able to recover with out any issues. If you see Poor as the status, chances are not good the data is intact and can be recovered successfully.
For recovery, you can undelete one item or multiple items by using the Ctrl key to multi-select. If you are looking for files, you can navigate down into folders by double clicking.
Once you find an item to be undeleted, first select the location where Free Undelete will restore the item (shown by arrow) and click on the Undelete button.
After recovery has completed, you can view your files in the undelete folder you selected.
For best results to recover deleted items, minimize or stop any activity on the disk you are going to undelete files from. When trying to undelete files or folders, writing to that disk can damage the contents of the deleted files. Examples of activites that can prevent recovery includes: copying files to the disk, installing programs or running programs that use the disk as their swap media.
Free Undelete Supports FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS file systems, running on Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 Server. Although there is no mention of Vista, I have been able to successfully recovery deleted items on my Vista computer.