Restoring Deleted Files

"But I thought when something was deleted it was gone forever?".. no.. when you delete something from a computer's hard disk or floppy disk, it is just "potentially gone". If you're fast enough you can sometimes get it back.

If you deleted a file by accident, first of all, STOP.

If you deleted [and by deleted I mean actually deleted, not just "moved into recycle bin"] a file on the computer you are looking at this page with, and want to get the file back, don't do ANYTHING. When Windows deletes a file it simply marks the space as empty, it doesn't actually erase anything but the pointer to where the file IS, but any disk activity CAN overwrite the file, so doing stuff on the computer increases the likelihood of the file being damaged or completely erased. Note, if the file was on a different hard disk or on a floppy, just don't access that disk with anything and you'll be fine.

Ok, now you are on a different computer, or not using the affected drive, you will need a decent program to restore files. Such as say, this one by Brian Kato, I am simply mirroring this freeware file here to ensure it remains available, and to save his bandwidth. Simply save this file to a drive OTHER than the one the file was deleted from. Then open the file [usually by double clicking] and select the folder you want to unzip the contents into, which, again, should be on a different drive than the one you wanted to restore the files from. You should be seeing a Window thus:

The window will hold a default unzip path, which should be set to a drive other than the one the deleted file was on

Now, when you unclick, there should, in the location you specified, be a folder/directory named "REST2514". Open this folder, and double click on "restoration.exe", [it has an icon like a recycle bin] You should see a window open that looks like this:

Restoration's Main Window allows you to select the drive letter and filename to search for

Now, follow this procedure [excerpt from the readme file which will also be found in the REST2514 folder]

  1. Select a drive.
    If the first byte of the file is unknown, character "$" is used as a substitute. (FAT partition)

    If you specify all or part of the file name, all first byte unknown files which possibly contain the text are displayed.

    You can't use wildcard "*". Therefore, if you want to search by extension, please enter something like ". TXT".

    If you check "Include clusters used by other files" box and search, you can find more files, but the file has little possibility of being restored correctly if the indicated cluster is used by another file.

    (FAT partition)
    If you check the "Include even if the file size is zero" box, you can find more files, but it's almost pointless to restore them because it's exactly the same as creating a new empty file of the same name manually.

    After finishing the regular search, a message will appear asking you if you want to scan vacant clusters, if you couldn't find your target file, please select yes. All possible items (the ones that pass the specific condition) will be listed. After showing the items, when you click on the heading for a column, that values in that column instantly sort in ascending sequence. If you click the heading a second time, the values are sorted in escending sequence. Subsequent clicks would continue to alternate the sort sequence between ascending and descending.

  2. Select a listed file.
  3. Click "Restore by copying" button.
  4. Specify the location you want to restore to. I recommend you if possible to select a different drive from the searched drive so not to overwrite original data. If the file is an NTFS compressed file, it will be decompressed and restored.

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