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Windows 7 - How to Recover Deleted Files

Most Windows users will already know that, by default, deleted files are moved to the Recycle Bin and can be easily recovered from there at any time. However, what happens to a file once the Recycle Bin has been emptied? Many people mistakenly think that the file is gone for good. This is not true.

When files are removed from the Recycle Bin, they still remain on your system, although the data is hidden and will be inaccessible using normal methods. Instead, the file system gives the data over to free space. This means that, while the data still remains intact immediately after emptying the Recycle Bin, it can be overwritten at any time.

Eventually, the file will get overwritten, either in part or in whole and this can happen any time you modify the contents of the hard disk, such as by installing a new program or creating or copying a new file. Sometimes a file can become unrecoverable very quickly while in other cases it can linger, hidden on your hard disk for months or even years. Smaller files, such as documents, tend to last much longer since they occupy less space to be overwritten. During this window of opportunity, you can recover deleted files using special recovery software.

There is no way of recovering deleted files just by using the tools included in Windows 7. You will need to use a third-party data recovery utility. Many of these are quite expensive, taking advantage of the fact that you're in a situation without any other options. Recovery tools should be downloaded on another computer and run from a USB flash drive or other media. This minimizes the risk of unnecessarily modifying the contents of the hard drive and thus permanently overwriting the data that you want to recover.

Using the recovery software, you can scan the entire hard disk for deleted files. Most recovery programs will tell you whether or not a file is recoverable, in whole or in part, before you attempt to recover it. Unfortunately, many recovery programs will only allow you to recover files of a very small size unless you purchase the full version.


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