So you’ve emptied your recycle bin and then realized that you’ve deleted a file that you still need. If you act fast enough, you may be able to recover the files before the computer overwrites them with something else. In the following article on how to recover deleted files from the recycle bin, I would like to show you some tools and the steps to take that can help you recover your files after you have emptied your recycle bin. Read below for recycle bin recovery steps (& Mac file recovery options).
You are not alone; recovering lost files is a big industry. I’m going to help you get your files back in this article and at no cost or low cost, if it is possible, so don’t worry. As a computer tech it’s my job to remind you of one thing you likely already know is true: I know you’ll groan but can I please just remind you to back up your computer every so often. If you do then recovering deleted files from an emptied recycle bin might not be a problem for you next time! A good option is to have a second separate drive just for this purpose. For the general user, I’d advise to get an external hard drive of similar size that does it all for you. Click this link to see a range of options (it will open in a separate tab).
For computer techs (or for your clients with larger demand), and to achieve large storage there are of course a lot of options, but one way to get a lot of extra hard drive storage is to buy a drive docking station and then buy large internal hard drives – it’s a lot cheaper that way for a greater amount of memory. I hope this helps you implement a good back up strategy. Anyhow, on to recovering your files deleted from the recycle bin!
One of my favorite quick recovery tools is called Restoration. It’s a stand-alone Windows based file recovery program that allows you to restore deleted files even after they have been emptied from the recycle bin. Restoration requires no install and because of this, you can put it on your flash drive and take it with you wherever you go. Here is how to use it.
Step 1: Download free Deleted file Recovery Software
Download Restoration onto a drive other than the one that you want to recover files from. This is the first software program to try. There is an important reason not to write the downloaded drive to the same one you want to recover files from; if you write any more data to the same drive, the hidden but not-yet deleted files might be over-written and lose your data for ever!
Step 2: Run Restoration and choose the drive to scan
Run Restoration. If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8 then you may have to right-click Restoration and choose “Run as Administrator”. Next, choose the drive you wish to scan. If you know the file name or at least part of it, type it into the “All or part of the file” box. If you don’t then just leave it blank. You can check the box “Include used clusters by other files” but if this applies to the file you are trying to recover then it will probably be corrupt. You can now click “Search Deleted Files”.
Step 3: Scan through the list to find the file that you would like to restore
When it is finished scanning you, can search through the file list to find the file that you would like to restore. Once you find it, highlight it and click “Restore by Copying”.
Step 4: Save your file (preferably to a different drive)
You will now be asked where to save the file. If you try to save it to the same drive you are scanning you will be asked if you would like to select a different drive so you don’t overwrite the original data. Once you have finished restoring the file you should be able to open it.
Alternative method on how to recover files deleted from recycle bin
If Restoration can’t do the job then the next tool I recommend using is Recuva. Just like Resoration, Recuva is a free utility that let’s you undelete files after you have emptied your recycle bin. It has different scanning methods than Restoration including a “deep scan” feature to use when the standard scans aren’t working. Here is how to use it.
Step 1: Download free Recycle bin recovery software
Download Recuva onto a drive other than the one that you want to recover files from. Again it is important to avoid using the same drive to avoid over-writing the downloaded file over the top of hidden file data.
Step 2: Run the software and select file recovery type
Run Recuva. You will be presented with a wizard to ask you what type of file you want to recover. If you aren’t sure then just choose “All Files”.
Step 3: Select from the recycle bin option
Next you will be asked where the files are located. If these files were deleted from the recycle bin then choose “In the Recycle Bin”.
Step 4: Start the scan
You are now ready to start your scan. This is also where you can choose to Enable Deep Scan if Recuva is having trouble finding the file.
Step 5: Choose the file you wish to recover
Once the scan has finished, you can now choose the file you wish to recover. Select the file and click the “Recover” button. Choose a location that is not on the drive you are trying to recover from, otherwise, you may overwrite your file.
Hopefully, after using these file recovery utilities, you now have your files back.
When you delete a file, Windows flags that space as usable free space again. Therefore, there is always the possibility that Windows has already overwritten the deleted file with something else. If this is the case then Restoration or Recuva will not be able to recover your file or your recovered file will be corrupt. So the faster you act from the time you delete a file, the greater your chances are of recovering it will be.
Alternative semi-free method on how to restore deleted files from recycle bin for Mac computers
If you are using a Mac, then I recommend using the MiniTool Mac Data Recovery utility. It will restore files for free up to 1GB. If they are larger than that then you must pay for the full version.
For more in-depth information on file recovery methods, check out How to Recover Data from a Crashed Hard Drive.
Please share your experience with Restoration, Recuva, or MiniTool software for recycle bin recovery that are proposed within this article on how to recover deleted files from the recycle bin, or any other file recovery programs that have helped you retrieve deleted files.