There is nothing more frustrating than emptying your laptop or desktop’s recycle bin only to forget you wanted to save one last document. Perhaps it contained a phone number or a password, maybe it had personal information that you don’t have easy access to or it may have been a film you suddenly had the urge to watch again. It’s a common pet peeve of all computer users. Whether you have a Mac or a PC, it’s a real pain to lose essential data.
Often, it’s not even your fault. File corruption can occur due to malware or your user account being erased from the disc. In the cases when it is your own doing, particularly with a PC, files can be mistakenly deleted simply by pressing “Shift + Delete”.
Of course, anyone who has watched police TV shows knows there’s a way around losing data forever. Computer designers were aware that mistakes happen and set up a fairly foolproof system to restore permanently deleted files from laptops and desktops. They didn’t just create one complicated hacker-exclusive backdoor, but many simple workarounds for how to recover lost files that were deleted permanently.
So if you’ve carelessly emptied the recycle bin recently, the first step is not to panic. We’ll walk you through it from there.
Recover Deleted Files From Window 10
According to Statista, Macs and PCs each almost evenly divide the owners of desk and laptops in the UK. Here are the steps for how to recover permanently deleted files on Windows 10:
- Use Backup
It’s important that you set up Windows backup when you first get your PC, as it will be an option that will save you a lot of headaches along the way.
- Open your “Control Panel”.
- From there, go to “System and Security”.
- Click on “Backup and Restore.”
If “restore” is not an option, look for “Select another backup to restore files from.”
2. Restore Previous Version
If for some reason, the first option wasn’t successful, there are alternatives.
- Right-click on the folder that used to contain the files you deleted.
- Choose “Restore previous versions”.
- From the versions available, choose one from a date before you deleted the files.
- Click “Restore”, then drag and drop the files wherever you want them on your system.
3. Using File Recovery Software
The third option is to download data recovery software, which recovers files. There are some available for free, such as Stellar Data Recovery Standard. Once you have the software:
- Install it not on the hard drive, but on an external hard drive or different volume to avoid overwriting. An external storage device is recommended.
- Launch the software.
- Select “All Data” or choose a specific file.
- Click “Next”
- Select the location from where you deleted the files. You can find a file under “Common locations”, or you can perform a scan of your connected drives to find it.
- If the drive you’re looking for doesn’t appear, you can click “Can’t find drive” to restore data from a lost or missing drive.
- After the scan is completed, the files will be listed in the left Tree View pane. You can expand the tree to find the files you’re looking for, or click “File type” to sort the files more easily.
- You can also use the search bar to find missing files.
- If the search still yields nothing, perform a “Deep scan”. This will take a little longer, but it will find all data that can be recovered.
- Lastly, select the files you want to restore. Click “Recover>Browse” to choose a location.
- Click “Start Saving”.
The most important step is to make sure you keep an updated backup of any files that may be important.
Recovering Deleted Files From macOS
There are two kinds of people in the UK, mac and PC users. It’s a divide that was famously mocked with Apple’s ads featuring a suit-and-tie-wearing John Hodgman and a casual Justin Long. It’s really just a matter of preference, though if you are a Mac owner, you can still have the same issue regarding lost data. Here’s how to recover permanently deleted files or folders from a Mac:
- Time Machine
The macOS Time Machine feature is one of the best, built-in aspects of owning a Mac. If you have an external hard drive, hook it up to your computer. Then:
- Open “System Preferences”
- Select “Time Machine”
- Click “Select Backup Disk”
- Select the external hard drive plugged in and turn on automatic backups.
- The Time Machine will keep all your computer’s backup data stored on the external hard drive, from which you can browse back in time to see older versions of files.
2. Check The Bin
It’s important to remember that just clicking delete doesn’t completely erase a record of your files. You have to empty the Bin to permanently delete the data. However, if the file is stored on a USB key or external hard drive, those drives have their own rubbish bins as well. They’re hidden by default.
- If you’re using macOS Sierra or higher, you can view hidden files by merely pressing SHIFT+COMMAND+Period key (or hotkey).
If you have an older macOS, you have to bring up the terminal and type in some commands. To bring up the terminal, hit Command and the space bar.
- At the prompt, copy and paste the following two lines, putting a space between the two:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
Replacing “TRUE” with “FALSE” will hide the files again.
3. When Nothing Else Works, Use the Disk Drill
Here’s something you may not know about Mac’s operating system. When you delete a file, it’s not actually deleted on your hard drive, just marked as free space. So it stays on your computer until it’s overwritten by something else. If you have an app like Disk Drill, which reads files directly on the hard drive, you can still save your files.
- Download Disk Drill.
- Select the drive you wish to scan.
- You’ll be presented with a list of files you recently permanently deleted.
- Select the files you want, then click “Recover”.
When All Else Fails, Call In The Experts
At Datraction, we’re data recovery specialists that tackle even the most challenging data loss issues. If you’ve tried the steps above and you’re still struggling to recover your files or you’d rather put your laptop in the hands of the professionals, we can help. We’ve helped thousands of customers from all over the UK get back their precious memories and important files. Get your quote today for affordable data recovery.