If you have been in this computing for a long time it will be impossible that you have not ever found yourself with the need to recover deleted files from the storage units of your personal computer. This includes internal disks (hard drives or SSDs) or external devices that we connect such as microSD cards or USB sticks.
Be it for an accidental deletion; an operating system problem preventing access or a malware infection, data loss is the order of the day. To them are added the problems of the storage unit. Its useful life is not infinite because successive accesses, reads and writes or incorrect handling of external drives can cause errors and file loss.
If we have not made the corresponding backup copies (at least of the main files) as required (mandatory in these times) the situation becomes complicated. Fortunately, many of the mistakes are not fatal And if the storage units have not suffered critical physical failures, they are likely to be recoverable. The files may have “disappeared”, (because they are not formatted or there is a problem in the structure of the files) but they are still on disk.
Free applications to recover files
The industry offers professional data recovery services that use advanced forensic means and achieve the best results even in the worst states of storage drives. The price of these services is quite expensive and they are reserved for critical data processing of companies or professionals.
A consumer customer has a wide collection of commercial data recovery applications. If the budget does not allow you to use it, free tools are also available They usually offer good results, although it will depend on the type of problem, the condition of the units and whether we have taken into account a series of recommendations that we will see below.
We remind you of ten of these specialized file recovery applications. Most are for Windows systems and some have a Linux version and are open source:
All these software solutions work in the same way. They are simply downloaded, installed and run. They perform a preliminary scan of the storage unit and show the status of the deleted files that could be recovered in easy to understand and manage interfaces.
From there, we only have to mark the files that interest us and the application will carry out the recovery process.
Depending on the storage unit to analyze and recover the process can take a long time. Be patient. There are no miracles and sometimes it is impossible. If the errors were not caused by a hardware failure, you can recover enough files. Once we have verified that we have been able to save the data, we recommend cleaning the unit with formatting, copying the saved data and continuing to use the unit in the usual way as long as the errors were not caused by physical failure, because the errors will be repeated.
We insist on backups as a regular maintenance task. He is the best lifeguard for data in the event of hardware failures, the operating system or a malware infection including a Ransomware attack that, as you know, encrypts the files and there is no way to recover them.
The second recommendation to gain effectiveness when recovering files from the PC is simply mandatory and is stop using the unit as soon as the problems start. It is a critical aspect, because overwriting is the main reason that we cannot recover the data.
Another recommendation that derives from the previous one is to remove the storage unit from the computer where it has failed and try data recovery on a second computer external as a PC. If it is a hard disk or SSD we would mount them in free bays as a secondary unit and the same if it is a microSD that has failed in a smartphone or a USB stick or external disk connected to USB ports.
There are no miracles in this. But you don’t lose anything by trying them and if there has been no physical damage and you follow the recommendations there is a good chance of recovering this deleted data.