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Ultimate Guide to Retrieve a Recently Deleted File

published 2/27/2020

How computer literate are you? Just over 25 percent of American users are classed as having medium-to-strong computer skills. One of the most common problems encountered by the rest of us is getting back recently deleted files.

There are not many more frustrating scenarios than realizing that you've deleted that critical bit of data that you need, the document that you were working on, or your budget spreadsheet. How do you undo delete? How do you restore permanently deleted files?

The solutions are at hand. We're data recovery experts, and know how to get your files back! 

Whether you've deleted files from your own computer, cloud storage, or a USB drive, we can help you get them back. Ready to find out how? Then keep reading!

How to Recover Recently Deleted Files From Your Computer

First off, you need to head to your recycle bin.

When you delete a file in Windows, it doesn't get deleted right away. Microsoft knows that this could cause a host of problems for users. Instead, it sits in the recycle bin for a while.

To open up Recycle Bin, you can click on the desktop shortcut that is automatically available on Windows. If you've deleted the shortcut, go to your taskbar on the bottom of your screen, and use the search bar to find it.

When you open it, it will show you all the files that are in the recycle bin. If you're looking for something that was recently deleted, you might find it useful for it to show recently deleted files first. 

To do this, right-click in a blank space and hover over Sort By. Then click on Date Deleted. The most recent deleted files will now show first. 

To restore a file, right-click on it and hit Restore.

You need to be aware that some programs will delete files in your recycle bin without asking first. For example, CCleaner, the famous cleanup tool, will delete all the files in your recycle bin to save space. If you are looking for a recently deleted file, do not run CCleaner.

How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files

We said that deleting a file on Windows doesn't permanently delete it, but that isn't always the case. While by default the file will go to the Recycle Bin, there is a way to skip this. To delete a file for good, you need to hold down shift while pressing the delete key when you highlight the file.

If you did this you won't be able to find the files in your recycle bin. You might still be able to get them back, though. 

Where a quick Internet search will reveal nuerous programs to claim to specialize in recovering recently deleted files, there's a danger to going down that path. If you don't know what you are doing, downloading and installing a progam from the Internet to attempt recovery can actually make things worse. Here's why: Once a file has been deleted, it still may be fully intact on the storage drive until it gets overwritten. Overwrite occurs more as the computer is used longer - so you downloading, installing and attempting recovery could all be increasing the chances of overwrite. Professionals NEVER work using the device/drive that needs recovery - they work from a seperate computer system where the chance of overwrite is eliminated.

If you decide to try your luck by finding and downloading a recovery program, recognize that there are limits to this approach. You can think of deleting files in Windows as taking the sticker off a physical folder. Other files can then use this space.

If the space where the data used to be has been overwritten, you won't be able to get your files back. Acting fast is the name of the game, here.

Recovering Deleted Files From USB Storage

Do you use USB storage to keep your files safe? Deleting files from these devices doesn't send them to the recycle bin: this is only used for internal Windows files.

Instead, the files are always deleted for good. Yet you can still recover recently deleted files on your USB storage. To recover files from USB storage, you will need to use the services of a pro or a similar tool to what was described above and set it to scan your external storage for deleted files.

If the space hasn't been overwritten yet by new files, you should be able to recover it. Do not attempt to move any new files across to your USB drives before scanning. If you do this, your computer might overwrite the space and destroy your files.

Recovering Recently Deleted Files From Cloud Storage

Cloud storage platforms are popular. Maybe you use Dropbox or Google Drive, for instance. What happens if you delete files from these?

Can you recover them? Yes, you can. 

Both of these platforms have a trash folder, where they store files for 30 days before they delete them. As long as it hasn't been longer than 30 days and you haven't emptied your trash, you should be able to find these files in this folder.

Restoring them is like restoring files from your recycle bin. Click on them and restore them to your drive's main folders. If it's been more than 30 days, chances are you won't be able to restore them.

Protip: Keep Backups

The best way to avoid the problem of deleting files you wanted to save is to keep them backed up. You can do this on USB devices, tapes, DVDs, or in cloud storage.

The important thing is to keep all important files backed up. This way, you never lose them if something goes wrong.

How We Can Help

We've provided some tips above and things to think about if you find yourself with recently deleted files, however, all the solutions we've shown you are "consumer-grade." 

If these solutions don't help you or you're having critical data recovery problems, we can help you. We know how to get data off your devices that you may not be able to find using these techniques. 

If you'd like to ask us questions about our services or rates, please contact us! We'd be happy to hear from you. You can call us  at 855-328-2362. 

To learn more about us, click here!