How to Recover Deleted Files Using DOS

By G.K. Bayne

Before Windows, most home computers ran MS-DOS as an operating system. Instead of clicking icons on the screen, all commands given to the computer were done with text from the "C:" prompt on the screen. To delete a file, you had to specify the file path and name. With MS-DOS version 6.0 and higher, you were able to undelete files provided they were not written over by another file. In Windows, this task was taken over by the Recycle Bin on the desktop.

Things You'll Need

  • MS-DOS 6.0 or higher

Step 1

Return to your "C:" prompt if in a program directory. You can do this by simply typing "cd\" at the existing prompt.

Step 2

Type "Undelete c:\file directory\*.*" at the C:\ prompt and press the enter key. The file directory name is where the deleted file was originally located, for example, "c:\word\*.*."

Step 3

Check the list of files that list on the screen to see if the file you wish to undelete is listed. The file will start with a "?" mark, for example "?ord.doc."

Step 4

Type "Undelete c:\derectory\filename" and press enter. The file will be restored to the original location on the drive.

Tips & Warnings

  • You should always attempt to recover deleted files in MS-DOS immediately. Once the file is over-written with other data, it is lost.