Don’t panic if you lost valuable files by shift-deleting, emptying the recycle bin, or even disk formatting and reinstalling the system. You can undelete files with the help of data or file recovery software (also known as undelete software).
However, the longer you wait the more the chance to overwrite the deleted data with new file. In this case the lost data will become unrecoverable.
If data loss has already occurred, don’t delay, undelete files now! The longer you wait, the more you use your computer after data loss, the less the chance for full data recovery.
Below we explain some technical aspects of data file recovery process and also warn you about disastrous mistakes you should avoid in order to undelete files successfully.
Explanation of File Deletion
The essence of the trick is that when you delete files they are not physically deleted from the disk, they remain there. The system deletes only the first character of the file name. The file becomes invisible for the system and other programs, and disk space occupied by the file is now marked as available for writing. But the files are still there and you can undelete these files. Undelete software operates directly on the file system (the system that stores files on a disk in clusters). It searches for the disk section that was occupied by deleted files. If that space is not occupied by new files, reliable recovery software will undelete the files. If the disk space was overwritten by new data, you won’t be able to undelete files. That is why it is vitally important to avoid data file recovery mistakes or your data will be gone for good.
Don’t Defragment You Disk When You Need to Undelete Files!
Your hard drive space is divided into clusters, the basic units that store the information on the disk. The size of each cluster is usually just about several kilobytes, so no wonder that often one cluster is not enough to hold the entire file. In this case the file is stored into several available clusters. The clusters are not necessarily sequential ones, they can be located at different parts on the disk, which results in fragmented file. When you have many fragmented files on your disk, you computer is running slow because the system has to constantly apply to different parts of the disk in order to “assemble” each file for further use - editing, coping, relocating, etc. The problem is solved by defragmenting the disk. Now remember this: Never defragment your hard drive after data loss! If you do so, you won’t have a chance to undelete files. Defragmentation collects parts of each fragmented file scattered on the disk and puts them into sequential clusters. In this situation, the probability that the new data will be written to the clusters with the deleted files is extremely high, which results in complete loss of information and impossibility to undelete files.
Undeleting Files Tip:
God forbid from defragmenting the hard disk after data loss! Not just that, reduce the use of your system to minimum, minimize browsing the Internet, don’t copy new files to the disk. Recovery programs should be installed on another disk if you want to undelete files successfully.