Article 41: Data Recovery

Data Recovery: What do you mean that you deleted it?

Welcome back to the Modern Nerd. I am glad to be bringing you this article, because just a few minutes ago I had to put into practice what I am preaching. Data recovery is not always as simple as pressing the Undo keyboard shortcut after you have deleted something, and if there was ever a file or picture or something on your hard drive that you needed to get back, then this is the article for you.

Here’s the disclaimer paragraph. You knew it was coming didn’t you? Yeah, well it’s here, and its nice and early to make sure that you don’t get your hopes up too high. Data recovery is sketchy. It is not a black and white issue and there are so many different variables that you should never trust someone that gives you a yes or no flat out when it comes to getting things back. Maybe. Maybe not. That’s the best I can do, so sorry. But the best is still pretty good, so let’s check out a few cool, free tools that might save a few more strands of your hair from being pulled from your scalp.

 Pull it out of the Trash

The first step is pretty simple, if you have deleted a file, and want it back check your Trash folder. Windows calls it the Recycle Bin, maybe they are more environmentally friendly than Mac. Anyway, if you have not deleted the file permanently, then it can be restored immediately to where you left it. No worries, just a few right-clicks and all will be well.

More Drastic Measures

There are those compulsively neat people who empty their Recycle Bins regularly. I count myself among them. If you threw something in there, and then deleted it permanently, then there are ways to get things back. But from this point on, it gets harder.

Recuva: Staht ‘ere Guvna.

Recuva is a free product that lets you see what files were stored to your media drives before they were deleted. If there is enough data left, then it can be recovered for you to use again. There are several options available with this program, as well as a very helpful GUI (That’s Graphical User Interface) to make your life easier. Deep Scans can reveal files that are buried farther down in the data, but a Quick Scan should find all of the most recently deleted things within a minute or two. This is a great tool and is available from Piriform. Just type Recuva into your favorite search engine.

TestDisk: Open Source Power

TestDisk is one of the most powerful tools that you can get for free out there. It can recover information lost on both NTFS and FAT file systems, as well as help diagnose and repair errors in the boot records, copy deleted files to a new drive, and there are a ton of format options. This tool has no GUI though, it is a Command Line interface. Fear not, brave user. There is a Wikipedia dedicated to helping users through it, and when all else fails, this is a good program to get. Same process to acquire this software, it’s free and available to all.

Call in the Cavalry

If you find yourself out of your depth, call in the pros. They specialize in these processes, and more importantly they know what to do when something doesn’t go quite right. Most times you can get an estimate before they attempt any repairs, and you will have the security of knowing that everything that can be done is being done. The Computer Fixer is a great example of this, and would be glad to lend a helping hand.


Thank you for reading as always. There is more information on our site, so come check it out. Like us on Facebook to get all of our updates, and subscribe to our RSS feed to get the newest blogs from both The Modern Nerd and the rest of our content.

Aaron Krick
Blog Contributor at The Computer Fixer



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