How files are undeleted

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Pigginbabe' writes:

" Hi, I really like your newsletter and it has really helped me a lot when I sometimes have problems. Question: A while ago, my hard drive went on me and I lost emails that I wanted to keep. Is there any way of getting these back? "

My response:

If the hard drive is completely toast (I.E.: if it won't power up / detect during boot up), then you won't be able to retrieve any data unless you mailed the drive away to a data-recovery company -- which is probably very expensive. However, if the drive still detects under BIOS and still appears under "My Computer", you can use an undelete program and attempt to retrieve your files.

RE: How Files are Deleted in MS Windows

When a file is deleted, it is not permanently removed from the hard drive until another file overwrites the occupied space.

Since a single file can span multiple locations on your hard drive, it can be 'partially' overwritten by other files. In techy terms, this is referred to as file fragmentation. Using a simple analogy, you can think of a partially written file similar to 'Swiss Cheese'.

Side note: BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System. BIOS is like a mini-operating system and allows you to configure the components inside your computer.

RE: How file Recovery Works

File recovery software works by analyzing the condition of the file on the hard drive and attempts to retrieve it.

If the file is in fair condition, there's a good chance you can get most (or all) of it back. If a file is in poor condition, it has probably been overwritten multiple times by other files and is too far damaged to be of any use.

Back in November 2003, Jake wrote a review about an undelete program called "Recover", which works under Windows (many earlier undelete programs only work under DOS, the predecessor to Windows). You can read more about Jake's review here:

Recover (file undelete) Review

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