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restore-deleted-files We’ve talked about file recovery tools on MakeUseOf before, including one that I discussed last September in How To securely Retrieve and Delete PC files How To securely Retrieve and Delete PC files How To securely Retrieve and Delete PC files Read More .  But several friends have constantly urged me to try out Recuva, which is made and supported by the same people who created CCleaner (another favourite app of mine and MakeUseOf).

The interface of Recuva is similar to CCleaner, it is simple to use (even a computer moron could use it) and after testing it, it seems to be very effective in restoring deleted files. So I figured it deserved its own write-up on MakeUseOf.

So let’s get the short product description first of all from the Recuva homepage:

Recuva (pronounced “recover”) is a freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This includes files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images and other files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera memory cards or MP3 players. It will even bring back files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses!

But as with any deleted file that you want to bring back, the older it is, the harder it will be to bring back. Plus if you are able to bring it back, the older it is, the more corrupted the file will be. So if you want to bring a deleted file back, you need to do it as fast as possible. The more you delay, the less chance there is of recovering it.

After using Recuva for a couple of days, I have ended up being very impressed with it. It is very fast with finding recoverable files and when you click on what you want brought back, it restores the file and sends it back to your hard drive within seconds.

So here’s how the program works.


1. After opening the program, select the drive where the file was deleted then click the “scan” button.

restore deleted files xp

2. Recuva then starts sweeping the specified hard drive looking for files that are able to be restored.

restore deleted files freeware

3. You then get a list of all the files that Recuva was able to find.  As you can see, some of the files are unidentifiable with just scrambled file names but a lot of other files have their original names intact (more on that later). What I really liked about Recuva is that it has a colour-coded system where you can see right away the status of each file and whether or not it is in any condition to be downloaded successfully or not.

Red means the file is basically screwed and you can forget it. Yellow means the file is in very bad condition but you can still download it and take your chances with it – some of it might be salvageable. Green means that the file is in excellent condition and you can get it back no problem.

restoring deleted file

4. If there are too many files returned to manage or you are looking for a particular file, you can filter the files. Just specify a file type or a file name in the “filename or path” field or drop down the menu to specify a file type.   So for example, by typing in “googleupdate”, I was able to find three particular files.

restore files

5. Now say I want to want to recover those 3 files? I just need to tick them and click the “recover” button. Recuva will ask me to specify where on the computer they should go and when I have told it, the files will start downloading. In fact, they are put back on the computer so fast that I didn’t even have time to make a screenshot!

That’s basically all there is to it. Just remember to untick those files in Recuva before you close the program because Recuva remembers those files next time and will keep on downloading them over and over again! So untick them once you have recovered them and you’ll be fine.

Do you use Recuva? If so, what have been your experiences with it? What percentage of files have you managed to recover using this app? Is there any particular file format in your opinion that recovers better than all the others?

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