Digital Crave

D’oh! How to recover computer files you deleted

Digital Crave

View gallery

.

© Fox

Stop me if this sounds familiar: You deleted some computer files you realized you needed -- after the fact. And on a really bad day you also cleaned out the Recycling Bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac). Insert face-palm move here.

Don't worry, it's happened to the best of us. The good news is it's possible to recover the files you've accidentally deleted. Well, in most cases, you'll be ok.

Whenever you empty the Recycle Bin or Trash, the files aren't really deleted just yet. They still reside on your computer's hard drive, but you've got a limited window -- say, a few days or weeks -- in which to recover them or else your operating system will write over this reserved space with new data.

And be sure not to do anything major with your hard drive, such as use the disk defrag tool, until you've recovered these deleted files. On a related note, the more hard drive space you have left unused, the higher the likelihood your files are still accessible.

So, what to do?

To "undelete" these files, you'll need to download third-party software, as these computer programs are not built into Windows or Mac OS.

"Data recovery software," as they're sometimes referred to, more or less work the same: they allow you to preview deleted files so you can choose which ones to recover.

Popular solutions for Windows include Recuva (my favorite), Uneraser, Undelete Plus, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, WinUndelete and Restoration. Mac users might consider Data Rescue 3. These digital downloads work on desktops, laptops, netbooks and ultrabooks. Some programs, like Recuva, can also recover files deleted from your digital camera card, USB thumbdrive, iPod or MP3 player.

View gallery

.

Many of these programs are free, so be sure to start with those, while others are free to view your deleted files and then you must pay a few bucks to recover them. Sneaky, eh?

The trick is to see which one works for you. As previously mentioned, many of these software offerings handle the process in a similar way but performance (and price) could vary between them. On a related note, keep an eye on Download.com, as C|Net's popular file repository often gets new Windows and Mac tools to help undelete accidentally deleted files.

Going forward, just to be on the safe side, remember to frequently back-up your important files -- just in case something happens like an accidental delete. You could use an external hard drive if you have a lot of files or else consider one of the many free cloud services, such as SkyDrive, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, SugarSync and Box; most of these offer between 2GB and 7GB of free storage, per account. Personally, I use a combination of the two and have back-ups of the hard drives, too. Don't keep all of your back-up solutions in the same room or else they can all be ruined in case of fire, flood or theft -- instead, consider a safety deposit box, fireproof box, fireproof hard drive or trusted family member's home.

Check out more tech trends and news at Digital Crave

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Constant Gym-Goer Ditched Her Cardio Workouts for Powerlifting and Lost 37 Lbs.

      For years, Alice Fields was a cardio queen, who would toil away on the treadmill in the hopes of slimming down. Fields tried this weight loss method unsuccessfully for around five years, and says she “felt trapped in my own body,” until a friend introduced her to powerlifting 18 months ago. “Not only had my strength increased dramatically, but my whole body composition changed.

      People
    • Dear Abby: May I fantasize my husband's a woman?

      DEAR ABBY: I’m a woman, twice married. My first marriage was to a woman who hurt me deeply by lying and cheating. I am now married to a man who, even with his faults, is a wonderful husband. My thing is, I am still strongly attracted to women. I consider myself to be bisexual. When my husband notices that I look at women, I’m honest and tell him what I admire about a particular woman. What I leave out is that I’m turned on by them. He is not open to my actively being bisexual, not even a threesome. Is it all right for me to fantasize when I’m intimate with him that he’s a woman? I know some people fantasize about being with a celebrity or a more attractive mate, but is it all right to fantasize

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • 17 times Ariel Winter set the red carpet on friggin’ fire in 2016

      There’s so much to love about the hit show Modern Family. And one of our favorite parts is the insanely talented cast –…

      Hello Giggles
    • 15-Year-Old Allegedly Decapitated Missing Classmate in ‘Horrific, Horrific Murder’

      Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino walked out the door of his house on the night of Nov. 18 — and was never seen alive again. On Saturday, weeks after his disappearance, one of Lee’s classmates at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, was arrested and charged with allegedly murdering and decapitating the 16-year-old, PEOPLE confirms. “This was a horrific, horrific murder,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said at a news conference on Saturday.

      People
    • As Trump pushes back on Boeing, consider this: His private jet cost a fraction of Air Force One

      One reason Donald Trump is pushing back on the cost of Air Force One is that his own plane cost less than a tenth of Air Force One.

      CNBC.com q
    • NASA just spotted a massive hole growing on the surface of the sun — here’s what it means

      NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory just spotted a massive hole on the sun surface called a coronal hole. The hole appears black because it's cooler than its surroundings, and is responsible for high-speed solar winds that can sometimes disrupt satellite and radio communication satellites. Follow Tech Insider: On Facebook

      Business Insider q
    • The Cory Monteith 'Autopsy' Special Reveals New Details About His Tragic Death

      A special about the death of Cory Monteith aired Saturday night, and we now know the tragic details of what caused his death. Each day, 78 people in the United States overdose on opiates — substances like heroin — and die. New details revealed in a special on Reelz, Autopsy: The Last Hours of Cory Monteith, show that it was actually Cory's effort to get sober that ultimately led to his death, a sad reality that sheds light on the reality of having a substance use disorder — one we don't hear about everyday. An interview with Dr. Michael Hunter, a forensic pathologist, reveals Cory died after taking heroin and drinking alcohol shortly after he had gone to rehab in an effort to manage his substance use.

      Glamour q
    • Woman shuts down saleswoman who called her $130 engagement ring 'pathetic'

      When it comes to love, it's not about the money. Quinn and Ariel McRae dated for two years before tying the knot. But a saleswoman where the couple bought Ariel's rings tried to put a damper on the festivities by calling the jewelry "pathetic." "My husband doesn't have a lot, neither of us do," McRae explained in a Facebook post about the encounter. "We scrape and scrape to pay bills and put food in our bellies, but after almost 2 years of dating we decided that we couldn't wait anymore, so we didn't." "I wasn't even thinking about rings, I just wanted to marry my best friend," she continued, "But he wouldn't have it. He scraped up just enough money to buy me two matching rings from Pandora." The two headed to the store and picked out a pair of rings they could afford — two rings for $130. SEE ALSO: Little boy proposes to his classmate with his mom's diamond ring McRae was was thrilled to get her rings, and then, the couple encountered a saleswoman. "While we were purchasing my rings... another lady that was working there came over to help the lady selling them to us," she wrote. "She said, 'Y'all, can you believe that some men get these as engagement rings? How pathetic.'" "I watched my now husband's face fall," she continued. Quinn was already upset that he couldn't his fiancé a more expensive ring, so the saleswoman's words crushed him. "He was so upset at the idea of not making me happy enough and of me not wanting to marry him because my rings didn't cost enough money or weren't flashy enough," she explained. "Y'all I would have gotten married to this man if it had been a 25¢ gum ball machine ring" she proudly posted. "When did our nation fall so far to think the only way a man can truly love a woman is if he buys her $3,000+ jewelry and makes a public decree of his affection with said flashy ring?" McRae quickly shot down the pretentious saleswoman, calmly saying, "It isn't the ring that matters, it is the love that goes into buying one that is." "My husband was so afraid of me not wanting him because he couldn't afford a piece of jewelry," she posted. "But here I am though, courthouse married, $130 ring set, the love of my life by my side and happier than I could ever imagine." Looks like this marriage is off to a pretty perfect start. Mashable reached out to McRae for a comment, and will update the story when she replies. BONUS: Tom Hanks photobombed a wedding photoshoot in gym shorts

      Mashable
    • Forget the NES Classic, this $49 console can play all the retro games you want

      Nintendo NES Classic is one of the hottest products of this holiday shopping season, and stores are hardly able to keep up with demand. But it’s not the only console you should consider to get your retro gaming fix. For as low as $49, the RetroEngine Sigma will give you access to a lot more game than Nintendo’s new NES. DON’T MISS: Amazon's 12 best daily deals: Black Friday returns for one 4K TV, deep Apple Watch discounts, more The campaign has a month left to hit the $20,000 needed to move forward with the project, and it already raised more than $13,000 in pledges on Indiegogo. The console is about as big as the NES Classic and supports as many as 28 distinct classic gaming consoles, so it should offer plenty of extra retro excitement, on top of what the NES Classic has to offer. On top of supporting a variety of old consoles, the new system is also supposed to make actual gaming a seamless experience for the user. The RetroEngine Sigma supports wired and wireless controllers, and can be used as an at-home media system. The system runs an Armbian OS desktop and would even let users browse the web, and “write a novel.” Sure, with crowdfunding campaigns there’s always the risk of not seeing the product delivered to your door. But assuming the team behind RetroEngine Sigma will be able to fulfill its promises, you’ll get your new “old” console in April. Head over to Indiegogo to read more about the RetroEngine Sigma console, and watch the following video to get a taste of this tiny desktop PC / retro games emulator concept.

      BGR News
    • Julianne Hough Shares Epic Dancing Throwback with a Young Mark Ballas — and They’re Both ‘Tan AF’

      Before Julianne Hough and Mark Ballas were Dancing with the Stars pros, the longtime friends danced side-by-side in competitions as kids — and Hough has epic evidence to prove it! Prior to becoming a household name, Hough and her brother Derek moved in with Ballas’ family (his parent’s Shirley and Corky were family friends) as children — Julianne was just 10 and Derek 13 — to train as ballroom dance pros at the prestigious London dance school Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. Witnessing their love be sealed under a beautiful Oak tree in front of family friends was such a special moment.

      People
    • In 2005, a U.S. Navy Sub Ran Into a Mountain

      In 2005, the nuclear attack submarine USS San Francisco suddenly stopped dead in its tracks. The ship's crew were thrown about, some over distances of 20 feet, and the majority of the 137-member crew suffered one injury or another—including one that would later prove fatal. Further inspection would explain what happened, and reveal that the submarine's bow looked like a crushed soda can. USS San Francisco had run into an undersea mountain. On that day, January 8, 2005, the San Francisco had been approximately 360 miles southeast of Guam, traveling at flank speed (more than 30 knots). The navigational charts used by the ship's crew failed to show a seamount, or undersea mountain, protruding from

      Popular Mechanics q
    • Ariel Winter looked like a total goddess in this black and white sheer gown

      We’re not gonna lie. We could look at red carpet looks all day — and then some. And we’re currently thanking the…

      Hello Giggles
    • No bail for 15-year-old charged with decapitating classmate

      LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy charged with killing a high school classmate whose headless body was found near a river said in a police report made public Monday that they had gone to smoke marijuana together and he had last seen the classmate alive.

      Associated Press
    • The 57 Most Delish Cheesecakes (58 photos)

      Making cheesecake is easier than you think! Whip up one of these easy, homemade recipes to impress your friends.. From Delish

      Delish
    • United Technologies CEO on Carrier deal: I wasn't born last night

      Jim Cramer spoke with United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes, who shed light on his conversation with President-elect Donald Trump.

      CNBC.com q
    • The best bottle of wine in the world costs $6

      And you can pick it up at Walmart.

      The Street q
    • Air Force One to get upgrade

      CNBC's Phil Han reports on the new and upgraded Air Force One which will replace the current Boeing 747-200.

      CNBC Videos
    • A KKK Leader Had to Miss the Trump Victory Parade He Organized

      And the scheduled cross-burning was in jeopardy due to inclement weather.

      Esquire
    • See Prince William, Princess Kate and the Rest of the Royal Family in Their Tacky Christmas Sweaters!

      The royal family threw a tacky Christmas sweater party — well, sort of! Madame Tussauds London unveiled a special version of the royals’ wax figures on Tuesday, featuring each member in a festive sweater. The royals granted permission for Madame Tussauds to dress their wax figures in Christmas-inspired jumpers as part of the Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day campaign on Dec. 16.

      People
    • Amazon opens line-free grocery store in challenge to supermarkets

      Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it has opened a brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle without lines or checkout counters, kicking off new competition with supermarket chains. Amazon Go, the online shopping company's new 1,800-square-foot (167-square-meter) store, uses sensors to detect what items shoppers have picked off the shelves and sends a bill to their Amazon accounts if they do not replace them. The store marks Amazon's latest push into groceries, one of the biggest retail categories it has yet to master.

      Reuters