When we want to find a file or folder that we have deleted from our computer, the first thing we have to do is search the recycle bin. When we erase any data in Windows, it is not completely removed from the hard drive, but it is moved to a specific section, what we know as the trash can, and it remains there waiting for us to decide what to do with it.
This trash can is, broadly speaking, an intermediate step between having a folder on your hard drive and deleting it completely. A second chance to recover our data in case of deleting it by mistake.
The trash can is present in all Windows operating systems, and it is always activated by default. Generally, it has a specific space reserved on the hard disk, a threshold that, until we reach it, the files will not begin to be deleted. In addition, we can program automatic emptying (with the Windows Storage Sensor), and also empty it manually when we want to free up space.
We can always find the trash can on the Windows desktop. And, to recover a deleted file or folder that is still in it, we only have to click with the right mouse button, and choose the option to “restore”.
This folder will automatically go back to its original directory, along with all the files that were inside. If we want to move it to another hard drive, or to another directory, instead of restoring, we have to choose the “Cut” option to move it wherever we want.
Use the Windows tool
In case the trash can not satisfy our need, there are other ways to recover files and folders deleted by system error. One of them, before having to resort to third-party software, is file history.
The Windows file history is an optional function, which we can activate if we want to use it, which is responsible for making periodic backup copies of the data stored in the main Windows directories so that, in case any of them are modified , or is deleted, we can recover them.
To try to recover this data, what we must do is place ourselves on the folder where the directory, or files, that we want to recover were stored, and open the “Properties” window. Within it we will select the “Previous Versions” tab and thus we will be able to access the possible backup copies that we had saved within the PC.
These versions of files or folders can be generated in two ways. The first one, activating the file history function (from Control Panel> System and Security> File history), and the second is creating restore points from the PC.
Do you have a backup?
If neither of the two previous options has not worked, we will ask ourselves a new question: do we have a backup copy of the folder that we have lost? This backup can be done in several different ways. On the one hand, we may have made it manually, copying and pasting the files, from their original directory to another hard drive (internal or external), or to a USB memory. If so, we do not have to worry, and it will be enough to copy the folder to where we had it so that everything returns to normal.
We can also have made the copy with a backup program. In this case, what we must do is open the program and use it to explore the copy in search of the deleted folder that we want to restore. If we find it, it will be enough to recover it from said backup so that it can work again.
Finally, we can also search in the units of cloud storage, such as OneDrive or Google Drive, in search of a possible backup that we have been able to save in them. If it is in the cloud, it will be enough to download it back to the PC to be able to have the deleted folder at our fingertips.
Command to recover deleted folders
In case the folder is not in the trash, it does not have an internal copy from Microsoft and there is no backup copy of it, then the possibilities are greatly reduced, and we are going to have to choose to use forensic recovery tools. data.
Microsoft’s own operating system has as standard a recovery tool that we can all use for free from a simple CMD terminal: Windows File Recovery. This tool is compatible with all types of drives connected to the computer, and we can recover files and folders from NTFS, FAT, exFAT and ReFS file systems.
We can see all the documentation of the program to adjust it to our needs from its support page. And, to download it, we can do it from the Microsoft Store itself.
Developer: Microsoft Corporation
Forensic recovery programs
Finally, if none of the above works, then we will have to resort to the use of specialized programs in the recovery of deleted or deleted data, either by mistake or on purpose. These programs, normally, work in a very similar way to the Windows tool that we have just seen, but they tend to be much more intuitive and have a very simple interface so that anyone can recover the data without the need for commands.
One of the best, which we can also use for free, is PhotoRec. This is one of the components that are part of the TestDisk tool and that, thanks to it, we will be able to easily recover all kinds of files and folders deleted from the PC. Although it is a tool designed to be executed through commands, it has a fairly simple interface to use with which we will be able to recover our data without any complications.
In case this program does not convince us, then we can resort to other much more professional programs for the recovery of data from the PC. For example, one of the best known is Recuva. This program, created by the developers of CCleaner, has everything you need to analyze the hard drive and help us recover any file or folder that is stored inside.
We can also find other payment programs, generally much more complete, for this purpose. For instance, Disk Drill, one of the simplest, most intuitive and most accurate tools for the recovery of all types of data, or EaseUS Data Recovery, a very complete program to recover data from all types of media and file systems, including RAW partitions without any file system.