Let’s get to the important part first - if you’ve just lost your data, skip past this introduction and go directly to our first tip, so you can start your rescue operation. If not, a few minutes spent now might help you a lot in the future. Pay special attention to our third tip.
I always thought of myself as a reliable guy with reliable data. I never deleted my files accidentally, I made regular backups and had a power supply for my computer to protect me against surges and outages. However last year I experienced two cases of data loss where I needed to use recovery software. The first was a dead hard drive that’d hardly served a year. Subsequently, I accidentally deleted a large project file that was too big for the Recycle Bin. Happily I’ve got all my data back, thanks to good advice and a little preparation.
Tip #1Use your system as little as possible until you recover all of your lost files. The more activity taking place on your hard disk, the greater the chance that some of your lost data might be written over.
- Avoid browsing the web, because your web browser saves cache files on the disk;
- Don’t launch any unnecessary programs, because they can also use your disk;
- Don’t restart your computer.
Tip #2Before you go further, take steps to free up some space on the disk containing your lost files. The more free space your system has, the less chance of overwriting any lost files with new ones. You can do one or more of the following things.
- Empty your Recycle Bin - making sure that you haven’t put any important files in there by mistake;
- Empty your browser cache. For Internet Explorer, click on the “Tools” menu, then select “Internet Options”. Then, on the “General” tab, click the “Delete Files…” button.
Tip #3To install any software after data damage increases the risk of your data being overwritten, so if you haven’t had any data problems yet, consider installing a data recovery program just in case.
- Use your system as little as possible
- Take steps to free up some space on the disk
- Avoid installing a data recovery program to the disk where your lost files are located