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Raising the dead - Undeleting deleted files…

Friday, 10 December 2004 other undelete windows

Quite a short tutorial today.

Have you binned five years of work by accident? How about destroyed your entire music collection? Well most cases of “death-by-user” for files are supposed to happen but there are times when you just slip on shift+delete and they’re gone… But please don’t worry… Unless its been a while since you did the deleting, chances are the files are just under the surface and more than willing to come back to life… If you know how, that is…

Deleting is not Deleting

It sounds silly but its true.

Data is just a pattern of magnetic patches on a series of magnetically sensitive platters. At the beginning of a partition on these platters can be found the file allocation table. This is like a treasure map that tells the system where file “a.doc” is etc.

When you delete something (even from the recycle bin, you’re only removing the reference… the treasure map.

Voodoo time

So how do you find something without a map? You dig up the entire island!

Restoration (and other tools) search though every part of the hard disk looking for patches that could be the file you’re talking about. Once its found the linked fragments on the HD, it can copy it back to another location.

Your Turn

Firstly you need to download Restoration.
This is a free tool and can be found here at the link above. Extract it to a folder.

Then watch this video of me using Restoration (1meg) if you need help using it.


This will only work if the part of the hard disk where the file used to be hasn’t been overwritten by another file since it was deleted. Restoration also requires that the file allocation table exists on the drive still and windows can access the disk.

If you need to recover an entire partition, consider getting Easy Recovery Pro.