How to get back deleted or lost files

[This post is a work in progress, but the basic GOLDEN RULE of file recovery is so important I have posted it before it’s finished. I’ll update with more information when I have the opportunity.]

There are many reasons why files get lost, and the flippant and unsympathetic response of many companies of “Do you have a backup?” is normally followed by an even less helpful look of scorn when the reply is “I’ve been meaning to but never got round to it”. This is not helpful in the slightest, and just adds to the despair of losing those photos documenting your child’s first months, your last 10 years email, or any other irreplaceable files.

The saddest aspect of this response to a cry for help is that in a great many situations, the files are simply hidden, not lost. A small amount of effort can often restore most if not all of the files, but an understanding of what’s needed to maximise the chance of success is very important. Without doing anything that seems dangerous, a user can reduce or remove entirely any prospect of successful file recovery.

Before I go any further, it’s time to introduce the golden rule. As soon as you discover that you’ve lost files that you need, STOP USING THE STORAGE MEDIA! I’ll go through the reasons for this later in this article, but it’s the most important thing to remember.

Next page – Why should I stop using the disk?…