Article: How to recover deleted files?


Files can be deleted by mistake, or simply as a matter of misunderstanding. You may have already encounter situations when you move a file to some external media (for example, to a diskette) and then find out that the media is damaged and you urgently need to restore the original file on the hard drive. This happens especially often with files that are 'not so important', but nevertheless you hate to lose them.

Sometimes you need to recover files that has simply disappeared. You know they should be there, but you can't find them. This may mean that the files were deleted by a virus, or that the file system was damaged. Whatever the reason, you need to stop saving any files to the drive where your files disappeared and scan the drive with a reliable recovery program.

To restore deleted files, we will use Advanced NTFS Recovery. It works equally good with all kinds of lost files (deleted, damaged, formatted etc.).

Step 1: Download and install the program.

Download Advanced NTFS Recovery to a known location. Run setup and follow on-screen instructions to install the application.

Step 2: Start the program. Select a drive to scan for lost files.

Launch Advanced NTFS Recovery. It welcomes you with a greeting from its wizard:

File recovery wizard

Click "Next".

Select a drive to recover

The program detects storage devices on your system and shows a list. You can select either logical or physical drives for scanning. If your files were simply deleted, it is enough to choose the corresponding logical drive. You may want to scan a physical drive if it has been formatted and you need to restore formatted files or partitions.

Once a drive is selected, click "Next" to start scanning.

Lost files scan

Step 3: Find and restore deleted files.

The scanning process can take some time, depending on the capacity of the disk that you scan. Finally, the process is over. Click "Finish" to exit the wizard and browse recovered files.

Recovered files

You can try looking for deleted files in their folder(s). However, it is not always possible to restore filenames, so that files deleted from the file table don't have names. For usual undelete programs this means that the game is over, files are lost and cannot be recovered. But Advanced NTFS Recovery is able to scan beyond the file table and to retrieve all recoverable files. It also detects file type.

We didn't find our photos in their directory (Photos), so let's try "Recovered files" (the very first folder in the list).

Our photo was in the JPG format, so we choose the corresponding type.

Preview and restore files

As we can see, the program has recognized lots of deleted files. Without the filename, how can we find the right one?

Well, we are lucky as we know the approximate size of the file. Our photo was in pretty good quality, which means big. We sort the list by size (by clicking the corresponding column), scroll down and try to preview files. And yes, here we are.

Advanced NTFS Recovery has a preview feature that allows previewing of certain file types. A complete preview means that the file is fully recoverable.

For other file types (that cannot be previewed) the program offers its recovery prognosis. "Excellent" usually means that there are very good chances for the file to be restored completely and without problems.

Once you have found your files, select them and click "Recover" on the toolbar. The program will ask you where to save restored files. It is recommended to use another drive, not the one where deleted files are.

The evaluation version can recover small files: up to 64 Kb (perfect for small documents, text files etc.). If your files are larger than 64 Kb, you will be prompted to register your copy of Advanced NTFS Recovery.

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