Q:

How do you retrieve deleted computer files?

A:

Quick Answer

Recover deleted files on a PC or Mac by checking delete folders, restoring a backup, utilizing a specialized recovery software or taking it to a professional computer service. Some deleted files can not be recovered if they have been permanently overwritten.

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Full Answer

  1. Dig through the trash

    For PCs and Macs, special folders for deleted files usually have a desktop shortcut icon, but you can also search for the folder by name. On a Windows PC, look for your Recycle Bin and open it. Browse though the folder to look for your file. If you find it, right-click on the file and click on Restore. This restores the file to its original location, where you can access it again. On a Mac, the folder is called Trash. Look for your file in the same method as the PC. Click once on the file to highlight it. From the File menu, select Put Back.

  2. Find a restore point

    If the file is not in the Recycle Bin or Trash, you can try to restore an earlier version of your drive. The restore process varies among different computers and operating systems, but most Windows PCs let you access a restore menu from the Control Panel.

  3. Utilize software

    If restoration is not an option, there are some specialty software programs that can sometimes recover files that have been deleted beyond the Recycling Bin or Trash. Some examples include Recuva Portable, SubRosaSoft FileSalvage and Prosoft Data Rescue.

  4. See a professional

    If all else fails, take your computer to a professional computer repair and maintenance service location. Professionals can sometimes use advanced techniques to recover lost files from a hard drive, for a fee.

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