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Windows 7: Can i recover deleted files from an external hard drive?

21 Feb 2015   #1
Double

Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 
 
Can i recover deleted files from an external hard drive?

Hi Is it possible to recover deleted files from an external hard drive or flash memory? If so, can someone explain how this is possible? I thought that once you had deleted a file, that was it..?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Feb 2015   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Double View Post
Hi Is it possible to recover deleted files from an external hard drive or flash memory
Not with certainty. It's hit and miss. Don't count on it.

"Deleting" in effect removes the file from the drive's "index" so it can't be found by standard means.

Specialized software may still be able to locate and recover the file if that space on the hard drive has not actually been overwritten and occupied by another file.

Recuva and GetDataBack are two such programs.

Some free software will tell you if the file can be recovered, but may make you pay to actually recover it.

The original file name may be lost.

Then there are professional data recovery services that examine the drive in a laboratory for a high fee--$1000 or more. Such services may have a higher degree of success.

I've fiddled with the free software a few times, but never had much luck.
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21 Feb 2015   #3
ShoTTaS

Windows 7 Pro 32bit
 
 

You can use ActiveFile Recovery. It is downloadable. It can recover deleted files.

Active@ File Recovery: download evaluation version for free

Its just that this software is not free anymore.
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21 Feb 2015   #4
Bernardus

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Deleted files are still there.
Recuva is free software. There are more of these programs available for free.
Is shows a list of recoverable files and their conditions.
As long as they are not overwritten, most files can be recovered. (even after formatting)
Flashdrives USB sticks, can't be recovered.
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21 Feb 2015   #5
ShoTTaS

Windows 7 Pro 32bit
 
 

using Active file Recovery, it can recover flash drives, micro-SD, SD cards. external HDDs.
You can also try File Scavenger
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21 Feb 2015   #6
Trax

Win7 but all from NT to Win95 to 7
 
 

You don't mess with the external at all, you might write to it and lose data. I would run Recuva then have it search your drive of concern, it will take a long time; if a large disk, go to bed. I couldn't find a select all so clicked on files well a long time. I had formatted the drive before I understood you don't run a UEFI drive on a BIOS system, it took the first drive position and I was clean installing Win7, very little was recovered.
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21 Feb 2015   #7
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bernardus View Post
......Flashdrives USB sticks, can't be recovered.
Wrong..... Wrong..... Wrong.....

Even deleted files on a flash drive can be recovered ....as long as they had not been overwritten. And yes you may lose the folder structure and filenames with most recovery.

A quick demo on my 1GB pen drive.

mp3 albums on the pen drive

Can i recover deleted files from an external hard drive?-a21-02-2015-16-45-43.jpg

....deleted

Can i recover deleted files from an external hard drive?-b21-02-2015-16-48-45.jpg

PhotoRec in action - ordered to recover only mp3 file format

Can i recover deleted files from an external hard drive?-c21-02-2015-17-08-17.jpg

Recovered files playing on WMP

Can i recover deleted files from an external hard drive?-d21-02-2015-17-20-48.jpg


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21 Feb 2015   #8
Double

Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 
 

Thanks guys, I tried Disk Digger and in seconds it found over 100,000 files on my external hard drive.. awesome!

About 10,000 of the files it found also seem to be broken.. some have 556 bytes in them, some 26 bytes. This is probably normal, as these sections may have been overwritten. Is there a program to help clean these files up?
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22 Feb 2015   #9
Trax

Win7 but all from NT to Win95 to 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Double View Post
Thanks guys, I tried Disk Digger and in seconds it found over 100,000 files on my external hard drive.. awesome!

About 10,000 of the files it found also seem to be broken.. some have 556 bytes in them, some 26 bytes. This is probably normal, as these sections may have been overwritten. Is there a program to help clean these files up?
Drop em in a text editor if it looks like garbage it is, garbage is no text is found. One piece of text almost every file has is VERSION (which you can search for). If you've ever dropped a normal file in to a text editor your able to read the text and can tell what's hex, a POS file is obvious.

Each file has a header that explains it's self if no text but maybe small black hearts fill it up, garbage as there's no way it can be recovered.

Of course there's an exception to everything in this case there being no text but starts with a MZ (first two digits) is an executable file or meant to be you would have to go further in to find text and a good time to test the VERSION text. but you also have to consider the size of the file, it plays a lot into being a file or pieces of junk.

PK is also one, being a zip file just the fact it's compressed will be little if an text, but the first two digits will be PK.

That said I should of added the first two digits in some files are important, if no text yet the first two digits are letters it's quite likely to be a file of some nature, being a good file is another matter.

More than two digits of letters, say there are three first digits, I would consider a bad file
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