How to Retrieve Deleted Files on a Hard Drive

By Kenny Soward

Whether done on purpose or by accident, deleting a file may leave you feeling a hint of panic. But rarely is a file lost forever. The truth is that most deleted files can be recovered easily with just a few easy steps.

Step 1

Double-click the "Recycle Bin" located on your Windows desktop. Browse the list of deleted files and right-click on the file you would like to recover. Choose "Restore."

Step 2

Click "Start" and then "Computer" in Windows Vista or "Start" and then "My Computer" in Windows XP. Select your primary drive and then type the name of the file in the "Search" field. It could be that you have misplaced the file and a search will discover the missing file.

Step 3

Install a free file recovery program such as PC Inspector File Recovery, FreeUndelete or Restoration. These file recovery programs can recover your files even if they have been deleted from the Recycle Bin.

Step 4

Install a licensed file recovery program such as File Scavenger or Easy Recovery Professional if you have have formatted your hard drive.