Don’t panic: how to recover lost data from your PC | Aug19 Newsletter
It can happen to anyone. That sinking feeling can hit hard when you accidentally delete a crucial file, an email is erased by mistake or a computer crashes, wiping out your hard work.
Don’t panic, though, as there are still ways of recovering your data when disaster strikes.
1. Check the Recycle Bin
If you’ve just deleted something you didn’t mean to, the first place to check is the Recycle Bin. Fortunately, when you select a file and press ‘Delete’ Windows does not delete it but instead moves it to the Recycle Bin.
Restoring a file from the Recycle Bin is a simple matter of double-clicking on the icon to display its contents and then right-clicking on the file and selecting ‘Restore’ from the menu.
Can’t find the Recycle Bin? Search in the ‘Start’ menu for ‘Show or Hide’ and you should find a shortcut to the settings where you can tick the box next to the Recycle Bin and make it appear.
Also, many applications (like Microsoft Word or Excel) automatically save versions of your files as you work. Even if your computer crashes, you may find Word still able to recover a quite recent version of the document for you, so check to see if the software application has recovery options.
2. Check elsewhere
Have you shared the deleted file or document via email? Has it been saved or synchronised with a cloud storage service?
Better still, have you made a backup of the file on another hard drive?
Some email servers store backups of email or keep them on the server after you delete them. Check that the email isn’t simply hiding in your “Trash” bin where it can easily be recovered.
3. File recovery software
If you have exhausted other options, there are many data recovery utilities available, both free and paid.
Be sure to research any app online before downloading and scan it for viruses first. These applications can scan your hard disk for orphaned or deleted files and give you the option to restore them to their original state.
Among the free options are programs such as Recuva and TestDisk, although many have limited power for recovering files or have limited options unless you buy the paid version. Paid options include Disk Drill, Kroll Ontrack EasyRecovery and Stellar Windows Data Recovery.
Finally, some quick recovery tips include:
Act fast – if you download or install another program it could overwrite the file you are trying to recover
Use a different PC to download the utility
Free up space to help Windows
If you suspect a hardware failure, turn the PC off immediately and seek assistance.
Recovering lost data might be difficult, but fortunately thanks to modern technology it’s not impossible – and that’s good news for anyone who has ever lost a vital file.