Is there anything more frustrating than accidentally deleting an important file? (To me the only other thing would be is when you press the button to turn the computer on and nothing happens!!) The moment you realize a crucial photo or document is gone forever makes you want to punch a hole in the wall.
But are they really gone forever? Maybe not! Before you panic and begin tearing out chunks of hair, take a deep breath. Relax. The file may be easier to recover than your missing hair!
First, you need to understand how a hard drive works. When you delete a file and empty your recycle bin, the information hasn't actually been removed.
It's still on the disk, but it's hidden and the space it occupies is essentially marked as "free" space. That means that until other data overwrites it, you can recover it. Don’t do anything that will add data to the hard drive which could overwrite your deleted file.
Try using one of these 3 programs for recovering lost files.
With all of these programs the larger your hard drive the longer the scan will take so don't get impatient.
Recuva - Recuva scans your hard drive for deleted photos and other files such as emails, videos and documents. It can also handle flash drives, memory cards and iPods.
Choose the drive, and Recuva will scan it and list any deleted data that can be recognized as files. It also rates the condition of each file, as some may be partially overwritten. The process may take a while.http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download
FreeUndelete - FreeUndelete works very similarly to Recuva. You'll select a drive, scan it and choose from a list of files the ones you want to "Undelete."
If you only have a C: drive, FreeUndelete suggests you save recovered files to a USB flash drive so that you don't overwrite deleted data while saving. As with Recuva, this process could be lengthy.http://www.officerecovery.com/freeundelete/
PC Inspector - This program is easy to set up and use, but adjusting the settings can get technical. PC Inspector can recover files even when header entries are no longer available, making it good for older deleted files.
It can also locate hard drive partitions automatically and recover files with the original time and date stamp. The process of scanning for lost files can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or longer.
Of course, none of these programs can do a darned thing if your files are lost due to mechanical problems or physical corruption of your hard disk. Additionally, your files may have been completely overwritten and if so, they can't be recovered.http://www.pcinspector.de/default.htm?language=1