How to recover missing, lost, or deleted files

Restore from Recycling Bin or Trash

If you are running Apple Mac OS or Microsoft Windows and the file has been recently deleted, it may still be in the Trash or Recycle Bin.
If present within this area, it can be recovered by right-clicking on the file and selecting Restore in the menu.
If the file has been backed up to floppy disk, CD, USB flash drive, or cloud storage it is recommended that the file be restored from that backup if the file cannot be found.

Download freeware program or purchase a program

When a file is deleted (even when removed from the Recycle Bin), the files are marked as deleted, however they are not immediately removed from the hard drive. Assuming no other file has overwritten the deleted file on the hard drive, a recovery program can be used to recover deleted files. Below is a list of freeware file recovery programs that can be used to recover lost data.
  1. Recuva
  2. Restoration
  3. Disk Drill – for Mac and Windows
  4. Undelete Plus
  5. FreeUndelete
  6. Photorec
  7. PC Inspector File Recover *Not compatible with Vista/7
 In Windows, if you are prompted to run a program as an administrator, such as Restoration, right-click on the executable file and choose the option to Run as administrator.
If other programs have been installed or data has been moved on the hard drive since a file has been deleted it cannot be recovered using these programs.
There are also several companies who have created programs designed to recover your lost data. For example, PowerQuest makes the utility Drive Image that in some cases can be used to recover data from a hard drive.