Use Recuva to recover files
1 Download and install
Head to www.piriform.com/recuva and click Free Download to grab the application. Run the installer to install the app. While the default installation options will work for most users, make sure you remember to deselect the option to install any additional applications when prompted.
2 Recovery wizard
When you launch the app it’ll fire up a recovery wizard. Make sure the storage device where your deleted files are kept is connected to the computer. If your deleted files are stored on an external drive, such as a USB flash drive or a memory card, connect them to your PC via a USB cable or card reader.
3 File type
In the next screen, the program will ask you to select the type of files you are trying to retrieve. You can only check one of the options. If you wish to retrieve two or more types select All Files. This will retrieve all deleted files, but you can sort out the ones you don’t need later.
4 Select location
After selecting the type of file you wish to retrieve, the program will prompt you to select the location where you want to retrieve the files from. The screen lists several options. The default option searches your entire computer, while the second option looks for deleted files inside any removable drives.
5 Browse location
Instead of searching your entire computer, you can save time and look for deleted files inside a specific location by selecting the second-to-last option. Now click Browse and point Recuva to a particular folder on the computer. Select the last option if you wish to look for files on an optical disc.
6 Initiate the scan
That’s all the information Recuva needs to start hunting for deleted files. Click ‘Start’ in the next screen to get going! Do not toggle the option marked Deep Scan at this stage. This option kicks off an intensive and time-consuming scan and should only be used if you can’t find the files using the regular process.
7 Analyse results
A regular scan usually only take a few seconds. When it’s done, Recuva will list all the deleted files it has dug up. The list is normally fairly long and exhaustive, especially if you’ve asked the application to look for all types of deleted files back in Step 3.
8 Switch to Advanced Mode
Since the recovered files don’t retain their original name you’ll need help identifying the files. Click ‘Switch to advanced mode’. This will split the interface and show three tabs in the right-hand pane. Use these to preview the files and read their metadata information, such as size, state, creation time, etc.
9 Narrow down results
You can also rein in the results by limiting their scope. Use the pull-down menus in the advanced mode. The first menu lets you switch drives, while the third can be used to only show files of a particular media type. When you find files you recognise, toggle the checkbox adjacent to the files you wish to recover.
10 Recover files
Now click Recover. Recuva will ask you where you wish to save the recovered files to. Ideally this folder should be on a different drive to the one you’ve scanned for deleted files. That’s it! This folder now contains all the recovered files for you to now rename and move as you please.