I've been raving a lot lately about the importance of backing up, and it seems I still haven't done enough to get my point across.
Case in point: since my most recent, I have received multiple e-mails asking how to retrieve files that have been accidentally deleted.
The right question is: Is it even possible to retrieve lost files? And the answer is, it depends. Once you have deleted a file (and even emptied the Recycle Bin), the information from the file is still on the hard drive. As long as the same spot of hard disk hasn't been used by another file, it's possible to get that file back. So, the earlier you try to recover, the more likely it is you will be successful.
Note that during a normal operation, a computer does a lot of writing to the hard drive, because it uses hard drive space as scrap notes for different computations. If you need to recover a lot of data from a main hard drive, where the operation system is installed, it's best to put that hard drive into another computer to do the recovery.
There are many software applications that can recover data, and I was given the opportunity to try out the new 3.0 version of Undelete Plus Tuesday. This is the update to the free version of Undelete Plus 2.93, which can be found at Download.com.
Compared with the free version, this update's new interface is much easier to use. It also has faster scanning speed for deleted files and better support for removable storage devices.
I tried the software with a few different storage devices and it restored deleted files from all of them. You can even preview the deleted files prior to restoring them, which is very helpful if you want to restore images. You can also install the software on a thumb drive, which is recommended if you want to recover files from a main hard drive, as otherwise the installation of Undelete Plus itself might use disk space once used by the deleted files, making the recovery impossible.
Undelete Plus is available now and costs $19.95 for a year's subscription. This is the promotion price, down from the regular $29.95. This price is rather high considering the fact that there are other alternatives available that can do something similar for free. Nonetheless, if you need to quickly recover files that you accidentally deleted, this software will likely get the job done for you.
It's important to stress, however, that if you back up regularly, there will be no need for software of this sort.