How can I recover data that were shredded in Windows?
Question by RJ /

Is it possible to restore files after they have been destroyed using shredder? I have tried freeundelete but it’s returning crap.

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Answers (4)
  • Tina


    were you able to recover the shredded data? How did you do it?


    Hello, if you want to find out if there is something that can be recovered, short of paying for recovery services, you can try testdisk. I has worked for me on the past. Here is the link for the software and also instructions on how to use it.

  • Anonymous

    If say someone had physical access to the machine, and determined what
    time/day/etc the file was created, it is possible to recreate the file
    after it has been wiped based on the structure of the disk. When you
    defrag/optimize you’re rearranging the bits, hence if someone had
    physical access it wouldn’t matter if they determined the aforemen-
    tioned date/time/etc., since things are now diff on the disk sectors.

    It has been suggested that an electron microscope could be used to read and interpret any patterns that were not fully overwritten by the process. Theoretically this can be done – but in practice it is little more than a myth.

    The number of bits in a single 512 byte (character) sector is 4096 and there are over 200,000 sectors on a one hundred megabyte hard drive. This represents almost 820 million bits to be read back.

    If data could be recovered at the rate of 1 bit per second – this process would take 9,259 days (or over 25 years) to recover 100 MB of information. This is assuming that you could read back and interpret each bit correctly, for example on data that has never been overwritten. If you are trying to read “traces” of data that were previously written there, in the most likely scenario you may be able to correctly recover, interpret and identify 30-40 percent of the signals.

  • Bruce Epper

    Depending on what type of overwrite was done on the file by shredder, it MIGHT be possible to retrieve the data. The normal software tools to do so will probably fail. The ony real chance to recover it would be with a data recovery service who would take the hard drive and attach it to specialized equipment to try to recover your data. It is not guaranteed and it is extremely expensive. And if your system has been writing other files to the hard drive, including temporary internet files while you loaded web pages and composed your post here, temp files for other applications, swapping data out to the page file that requires the pagefile to grow, or anything else that allocates “unused” space on the drive, the chances of recovering anthing begin to plummet further and faster.