Restore from your backup
You do have a backup don’t you? If you have an up-to-date backup that was taken recently, the lost file may well be stored on the USB drive, online, or wherever you back up to. Unfortunately, many people do not back up at all and those that do will sometimes have inadequate backups.
Restoring a lost file from a backup is fine in theory, but in practise it is not so straightforward. If you make weekly backups and the file was only created in the last week, then it will not yet be backed up. Even if it is stored in a backup, it might have been changed significantly since it was backed up.
If you are writing a document in a word processor or editing photos for example, an old backup might be missing a lot of recent changes.
Backups are useful, but you really need to back up frequently for it to be of any use.
Use File History
File History was introduced into Windows 8 and it is also in Windows 10. It is set up by opening File History in the Control Panel and configuring it to use a USB disk drive. It then backs up files in Documents, Music, Videos, Pictures and a few other places every hour.
With hourly backups there is more chance of recovering a lost file. It requires a USB disk drive and for it to be plugged in and switched on. Just explore the USB disk and you can browse the backed up files.
Not everyone uses File History because they either don’t have a USB disk drive or it isn’t plugged in and switched on.
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free
This brings us to the third option and there are utilities that are able to find deleted files on the disk drive and to recover them. As with all utilities of this type, it is recommended that you download and install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free before you lose files rather than afterwards.
To successfully recover deleted files you need to do it as soon as possible and while using the disk drive as little as possible. In order to maximise your chances of recovering a deleted file, don’t switch off or reboot, don’t install anything, and don’t run any other software. Just run the recovery tool.
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free can scan for all file type or you can choose the type, such as graphics, document, audio, video and so on. If you know the file type it is best to tick only the appropriate category. This is because the disk drive might have hundreds or thousands of deleted files and it is best to focus on the type you need.
The utility scans the disk for files and you can choose some common locations, such as the desktop, libraries or the disk drive.
After scanning the disk drive, the results are displayed. There are folders on the left, files in the currently selected folder in the middle and a preview of the current file on the right. The preview is particularly useful when you are looking for images.
The files to be recovered are ticked and clicking Recover prompts you to select a place to save them. This can be anywhere except the disk you are recovering from. (Saving to the same disk can corrupt the files that are being recovered.)
A normal scan of the disk is very fast and it finds deleted files in obvious locations. A deep scan is available and this takes much longer, but it finds many more files. In fact, it can find thousands. The search box can be used to track down the lost file if you know its name or even just part of its name.
If you don’t know its name, then finding it among thousands of deleted files is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
The free version of EaseUS Data Recovery is able to recover 1GB of files. If you share it on social media then you can recover another 1GB of files. The Pro version costing $69.95 is required to recover unlimited files.
My test involved deleting several photo files and then emptying the Recycle Bin. EaseUS Data Recovery took about 10 seconds to find them and they were easily recovered. In real life it is never this easy though. A week may have passed before you notice a file is missing and it could have been overwritten, you might have forgotten the name, and it could be buried within thousands of other files found by a deep scan.
Title: EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free 9.9
Windows: XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
Disk space: 32MB
Verdict: A useful tool for recovering deleted files.