Everything seems fine when you are working on a computer dealing with business papers or organizing precious photos like I usually do. All of a sudden, you trashed a few files by accident. Later you need those files deadly.
Thanks to Recuva – a completely freeware capable of recovering those deleted files. You don't have to panic any more (hopefully). The program is totally free and very powerful and easy-to-use.
Recuva is free Windows file recovery tool designed by Piriform (the developer of another awesome app called CCleaner) to recover files deleted from storage devices (PC, digital cameras, memory cards, external hard drive, USB flash drive etc.), no matter your files are removed or lost due to human error or technical issues such as virus attack, drive crash or corruption.
Note: the utility works under Windows operating system only, hence there is no Recuva for Mac. However, you can see this post for a list of completely free Mac recovery tools. Also, if Recuva fails to help, you can also try other freeware such as Pandora Recovery, PhotoRec, or these free data recovery software.
Recuva and CCleaner have been part of my desktop icons ever since I had my PC. To be honest, I love the apps, although I met several issues while using them. They are really amazing.
Okay, now time to show you the tutorial.
First things always first – in order to maximize the chances of data recovery, better put the storage device in safe place and NEVER attempt to put more files into it. This is to make sure your files are not overwritten or destroyed by physical damage.
STEP 1 Install the program on your computer (download from Piriform). Make sure the storage device where your deleted files located can be detected by your PC. If your deleted files are stored on an external device, connect it to your PC via USB cable or card reader first. Open the software. Select the file types (Pictures, Music, Video, Compressed, Emails) or "Other" to show all files.
STEP 2 Select file location. There are four situations available for your choice. Or you can directly go to the destination by browsing from "In a specific location".
Click "Next" and you should see the following scene. Here you have two options: Enable Deep Scan or not. My suggestion is DO NOT enable it right now as Deep Scan is quite time-intensive. Only when your deleted files are not found after quick scan, then go to this mode.
STEP 3 Scanning Process. Once you click "start" button. The scanning process will start. Don't worry if you didn’t select Deep Scan, the scanning will be quite fast (within few minutes).
After the scanning is over, take a breathe! You'll see lots of files found and most cases not all are what you want. Follow the instruction "Switch to advanced mode".
Then you see more options to filter the found files. It will be much easier to get what you want (if you are lucky :).
STEP 4 Save the Recovered Files. Once you find your deleted files, highlight them and click "Recover". Your selected files will be exported. Done!
After testing Recuva for several times. There are some setbacks that may not be ignored (see my detailed review here). Firstly, too many junk files (even system cache or temporary files) are found, if you scan the whole disk. It makes us hard to find the real ones we want. Secondly, the application doesn't support preview of certain file types such as documents, videos and several photo formats. Also, per readers' questions, Recuva can't retrieve data from iPhones. You can visit MyiOSData to find iOS recovery tools.
However, the advantages far surpass its setbacks. In general, it is an awesome file recovery utility. Plus, it's free. What do you think? Have you ever tried this program? Let me know!