How to Unrecover Deleted Files

Through an accident, I blame the dog for this one, my entire documents folder got deleted this morning. To compound the issue, the folder was 'too big' for the wimpy Recycle Bin, so the files were permanently deleted. When I realized what had happened, I nearly went into shock.

Customer documentation, contracts, important pictures of aforementioned dog, all down the drain. I'm definitely going to have a bad day now...I thought.

After normal breathing resumed, I learned 2 things.

  • System Restore does not help unrecover files
  • I really should have backed up my computer

I'm calmly writing this blog post because I found Free Undelete by Recoveronix Ltd. Free Undelete will look for deleted files and directories and restore them to their former glory. Brilliantly simple to use, and priced at $0 for personal use, I am a fan for life.

Recoveronix Ltd has an entire suite of recovery products like:

Get familiar with this list. I know grad students that would give their right arm to get back a mistakenly deleted thesis.

Important!! Read This!!

If you are furiously downloading Free Undelete right now to recover files of your own, pay attention to the following tips from the FreeUndelete folks:

Proper Usage Techniques

A deleted file is essentially an area on disk designated as free and ready to accept data (such as contents of some other file). Luckily, unless the area has already been overwritten, it still holds the contents of the deleted file. Due to this fact it is possible to undelete files.

This fact also dictates the following procedure for using FreeUndelete:

  1. Stop any activity on the disk you are going to undelete files from! Remember that writing to that disk can damage the contents of the deleted files. Examples of disastrous activity include: copying files to the disk, installing programs there or running programs that use the disk as their swap media.
  2. Download and install FreeUndelete. Whenever possible, save the setup executable and install the program to a disk that does not hold files you need to undelete.
  3. Run and use FreeUndelete.
  4. 15212 Views Print Print Comments (7) Random, Wow

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    2/24/09 12:16 AM # Posted By Ben Nadel

    Dan, good tip! I remember a few times where that would have been super handy. Namely, accidentally hitting "del" on a file in HomeSite when editing a site (yes, I deleted the entire site on the local dev machine). And, when I remoted into the Dev machine, the recyclebin was empty. Grrr!

    Luckily, I had recently made a move to production, so I was able to just pull down the live code, but it was a nice little tachycardia session :)

    2/24/09 1:50 AM # Posted By dfguy

    saved my butt many times. it's also free for commercial use.

    2/24/09 3:21 AM # Posted By Kevin

    Another note from working at a pc shop years ago... if you really need to get those files more than anything else, hit the power button ASAP. don't open any app or files at all. Pull the Plug.

    Next, if at all possible, plug the drive into a different computer without booting from the drive in question. then run you undelete apps.

    To unrecover a deleted file would seriously ruin my day if I wanted the files back :)

    deleted things get undeleted, lost things get recovered, recovered things that get lost again might be unrecovered?

    just kidding with ya

    2/24/09 8:36 AM # Posted By zwr

    Do you know a very nice application <a href=" ">Advanced Outlook Repair</a>. It is a powerful tool to recover messages, folders and other objects from corrupt or damaged Microsoft Outlook PST files.

    3/4/09 3:47 PM # Posted By James Allen

    Man, I can imagine the moment you realised you'd deleted those files..
    I've been in that kind of position before and it's awful.

    You definetely should have some kind of backup system in place. I personally use
    the Internet backup service IDrive ( It's a free and paid service - the free one gives you 2GB but if you recommend 5 friends you get 12gig, at least you did when I signed up.

    I have it sitting on my development server and it backs up all my sites / db and business
    documents every night. It even keeps different versions so you can restore older docs
    if needs be. Works really well and is a real piece of mind thing.

    There are lots of other online backup services of course.. Just a good idea to have
    something in place that requires no thought.. :)

    8/9/09 11:10 PM # Posted By JNPT

    Almost same things happens with me when i accidentally deleted my emails and I tried a popular PST Repair Tool ( I had recovered all my deleted emails.

    10/1/09 5:30 AM # Posted By Bob Luis

    Microsoft offers the Inbox Repair Tool to correct most of the issues with corrupted PST (Personal Storage) file. Although it is not always capable of handling PST Corruption (limitations of utility: your PST file remains inaccessible. To handle such cases, you may try third party PST Repair software ( such as Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repai Software.

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