We’ve all been there: in the search for a critical file on your computer, you realize with dawning horror that you must have deleted it by accident.
Before you work through the five stages of grief, you might want to take a step back to consider an important question: can you undelete files?
If this nightmare situation sounds familiar, you’re in luck: the nuances of file deletion and data recovery can be tricky to work with, but we’ve put together a simple guide to help you understand whether you can get back your essential files. Here’s what you should know about recovering your deleted data.
Can You Undelete Files?
The simple answer to this is sometimes.
To understand why, you’ll need to understand how file deletion works on most computers.
When you drag a file to your system’s trash bin, you’re deleting your computer’s “pointer,” or its labeling system. In essence, you’re removing your computer’s ability to find the file in its storage. This means that, for all intents and purposes, your computer thinks that the file no longer exists on your device.
Once the “pointer” is gone, your computer will consider the remaining file as something like an empty void. As a result, your file is in danger of being overwritten every time you save new data on your computer.
Depending on when you start working to recover old documents, you may find either that the files in question are either easy to recover or that they no longer exist because your computer has overwritten them.
This is why it’s crucial to stop saving new data and files to your computer as soon as you realize that you need to recover files you’ve deleted. By limiting the new information your computer has to store, you can keep part or all of your necessary files from being overwritten by accident.
How Do You Recover Lost Files?
There are several methods to try to recover a deleted file, each more complicated than the last. Here are some steps to try, in order, to see whether you can get back the files you need.
First, try CTRL + Z or CMD + Z to undo the deletion. Of course, this works only if you’ve performed the action recently.
Next, try restoring the necessary file from a saved backup or previous version. This works only if you’ve set up automatic backups through a cloud service.
If these tips don’t work, it’s a good idea to reach out to an expert file recovery service such as lifeguarddatarecovery.com. If your file can be recovered, these tech gurus will provide the solution!
Note that some websites may encourage you to install a free file recovery software to get back lost files after permanent deletion—but these types of software come with significant risk. As stated above, saving new data and program files to your computer might mean overwriting the file you’re trying to recover!
Whatever you do, make sure to save your file in a safe place once you’ve gotten it back, and be sure to take the proper steps like online backups to prevent data loss in the future!
Get Back Your Critical Files
At the end of the day, it’s worth noting that deleting a file isn’t the end—though it does mean that you’ll need to tread with care. Be careful about saving new data on your device, and follow the simple steps above to recover lost files with ease. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional as needed!
Looking for more of the tech tips you need to know? Be sure to check out our other posts for additional insights.