PictureThis article will consider how to recover deleted files, and best of all will show you how to do it for FREE!  It will consider how to use the basic un-delete feature of the powerful testdisk and photorec tool provided opensource from cgsecurity.org.

If you’re looking for professional help to recover deleted files, please click the contact button above to get in touch with a data recovery professional.  Even if you’re just looking for some free professional data recovery advice give us a call.So the first thing you’ll notice about testdisk and photorec is….

How to Recover Deleted Filesthe rather unimpressive DOS looking command prompt interface.  Yes it’s ugly, but don’t rule out what it has to offer under the hood.  It’s an amazingly powerful tool that we still occasionally use here in our data recovery company, despite having other software costing thousands.

Upon first opening the photorec.exe you’ll see the prompt shown here where you select the physical drive you’re going to recover data from.  The choice should be relatively easy by simply looking at the size and model number listed in the prompt.

Testdisk Recover Deleted Data FreeNext you’ll be asked to select the partition you want to recover data from.  Unless you have a custom configuration, just go with the one that has the biggest “size in sectors listed below and press enter.

You also may want to make note of the filesystem listed along with your partition.  In this case it shows as “NTFS” since we are running this on a Windows hard drive.

How to Recover Erased DataThis becomes important in the next step where you’re asked what filesystem you have.  There’s only two options “Ex2/Ex3” or “Other”.

Unless you are running a linux or freeBSD environment, or recovering data from a NAS, you can safely stick to the “other” option which supports both Apple and Windows formats.

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Next you select whether you want to scan the whole drive, or just the free space.  If you’re looking to recover deleted files, you’ll want to select “free” which will save a lot of time scanning sector areas that are already allocated to other files, and won’t contain any deleted files.

After this you’ll be asked where to save the data to

 

PictureListen up, because this next part is important.  You really should choose a save point that is on a different hard drive, or at least a separate partition than the one you are recovering from.

Just click the little “..” until you get up to top level and select what folder to save the files to.  Usually it’s best to not be recovering data from your running OS drive, but rather you should use a different computer to scan the hard drive and save files there instead.The rest of the process is pretty self explanatory.  The software will run for up to several hours finding files and dumping them into folders where you selected to recover the deleted files.The files found in RAW scan will usually have no names associated with them, so after it finishes simply use windows search to find the file type that you’re missing and start looking.  E.G. if looking for deleted digital camera pictures you’d probably search for “*.jpg” or something like that.

Have questions or want a pro who really knows how to recover deleted files?  Contact us using the above links.

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