How to Recover Deleted Pictures or Files – Data Recovery Tools and Techniques

Trashed hard driveHelp, I lost My Pictures!

If you lost or accidentally deleted your pictures and files, there are still great chances to recover them. As a computer geek, (I do this as a profession), I had to recover file many times. In the vast majority of time the files are recoverable, and in about 30 percent of the cases the retrieval is instant.

The key to a successful retrieval of your pictures and files is to act as soon as you discovered you lost the files, be it because an accidental deletion, or computer problems. I will explain this later in the document.

This tutorial is created for Windows computers, and it assumes you have a minimum knowledge of operating in a Windows Operating System. If you don’t know how to operate in a Windows environment, your best bet is to go to a local computer repair shop.

How To Recover Deleted Pictures or Files?

The Computer IS Fine, But My Files Are Gone

If the computer is fine and it doesn’t behave erratically, most likely you accidentally deleted your files. The first step in this case is to check in the Recycle Bin, but I bet you already did this. If you didn’t do it now. Look for pictures or maybe just a folder, If you accidentally deleted the whole folder, you won’t see the files or the pictures in the Recycle Bin, you will have to look for the folder that contains the files. This is particularly difficult if your Recycle Bin hasn’t been emptied in a while, and you have to search through thousands of files.

How to Recover Deleted Files from Recycle Bin – Advanced Tutorial

Sorting the Items In the Recycling Bin

If your Recycle Bin is empty, or you have few items, you can skip this.
To make it easier right click in the “Recycle Bin” folder and choose sort by “Date deleted”.
If the deletion was made long time ago this doesn’t make sense, and you would probably need to sort by type. Sort by type is not available by default on the Recycle bin, so you have to activate it. Right click in the Recycle Bin folder, select “Sort By”, and the choose “More”. Scroll down on the list and check the box for “Type”. Now the “Sort by type” is available from the contextual menu. When you sort by type all the folders are displayed grouped so it’s easier to find your pictures folder if it’s in the recycle bin.


Recover Deleted Pictures or Files Using “Previous Versions”
Recovering with Windows 7 Previous Versions
If your operating system is not Windows 7, you can skip this paragraph, this feature is only available on Windows 7.
If your files are located on the System drive, usually the C: drive, “Previous Version” is enabled by default. “Previous Version” it’s a feature that allows the system to store on a hidden portion of the drive, files and system settings. The files are automatically copied on the hidden folder, and stored for a limited numbers of days. When a file is modified, or deleted, the old version is stored automatically. Let’s say you deleted some pictures in the “Pictures” folder. Go to “My Computer” => C: => Users => USERNAME . Search for the “My Pictures” folder and right click on the folder. From the contextual menu select “Restore Previous Versions”. A list with snapshots of the folder will be presented. Select a previous version that you think contains the deleted files. If you accidentally deleted the files today at 11:00 AM, any snapshot previous to this date and time would contain the deleted files. Neat huh? The trick here is to act as soon as you deleted the files. The longer you wait the bigger the chances to get the good snapshot deleted are. The snapshots are deleted on a regular basis by the system, so if you wait too long, the files will be deleted.


Lexar Media IR437 Image Rescue Software (Retail Package)

Recover your lost or deleted files with this easy to use software. The software will scan raw data on you memory card, and it will find your lost pictures.
Lexar Image Rescue has an intuitive and easy to use interface, and will scan the mass storage device, (sd cards, USB drives), for deleted image files or after reformatting your SD card. Additionally, the newest version of the software, can recover, not only image files, but many other popular document types.

This is probably one of the easiest, and most effective image recovery software.

Data Recovery Tools

Recovering Deleted Files with Data Recovery Tools

If the two methods described above didn’t work for you, that means the data has been erased from the disk. The good news is that operating systems do not really delete the files when you delete them, the OS only deletes the record from the index, so from the OS’s perspective the file doesn’t exist anymore. This is where the data recovery software comes in handy. The data recovery software scans the drive for possible files that are deleted from the index, and reassembles them for you.

As with any other recovery method the key is to act as soon as possible. The more you use your drive after the deletion, the less chances you have for a full recovery. This happens because Windows treats the portion occupied by your lost files as empty, and will start to write new data over your deleted files. The more you use the drive the more deleted data is overwritten.

The data recovery software is usually an intuitive program that can be installed on the computer, or can generate a bootable media. The purpose of the bootable media is to avoid the use of the hard drive, to maximize the chances of a full recovery, or sometimes provide an environment for un-bootable systems.
The process of recovering data with tools is very easy, and it is somewhat similar for all software, but not all data recovery programs are the same. The scanning algorithm, the reading approach are things that can make or break a recovery utility.

A few general rules for all recovery software:
To avoid further data corruption, mount the corrupted drive on another intact system. You can do this in a couple of ways:
Install the software on a separate system and attach the drive with a USB enclosure or adapter.
Create the recovery media on another computer and boot the computer with the bad drive from the bootable recovery media
Only start doing the job when you have enough time to dedicate. If you start and stop, and then start again you risk to lose more data.

How Can I Recover My Pictures After Formatting the SD Card

Pictures Recovery after Deletion or Formatting with Recovery Software

If you accidentally deleted your photos on the SD card there is no Recycle Bin for the SD card, so there is no easy way to recover them. Also it happens quite often to format your SD card and to realize that you didn’t save the pictures yet. What do we do in cases like this?
Fortunately, there is software that makes the recovery for cases like this a breeze. One of the easiest to use programs is “Sandisk RescuePro Recovery Software”.

Sandisk RescuePro Recovery Software, V3.3 Disk

It works on and card not just on Sandisk cards. It is really easy to use, and in most of the cases it is able to recover your pictures. One thing about this is that you need to wait the code for the software for a few days, but is worth. The software is actually an annual subscription, but it is very affordable.

Remember, if you deleted the pics on your card, or formatted the card, you need to stop using it immediately to insure a good recovery rate.

Recover Files from A Defective Computer

How To Recover Pictures and Files from A Defective Computer

Your computer might be defective and it won’t start. What to do in this case? First you need to assess the state of the computer and why the computer won’t start. Depending on this, you might be able to recover your files or not. In the next paragraphs I will give you tips to know what is wrong with your computer, and what to for each case.

  • If your computer boots and you can get on your Windows account, then probably the files were accidentally deleted.
  • If your computer passes the initial boot sequence but stops when loading Windows, it is the operating system that is corrupted. A re-installation could fix it, or a boot rescue CD could also fix the OS. Sometimes this could be due to bad computer RAM memory.
  • If your computer doesn’t pass the initial black screen booting sequence, something more serious could have happened, such as a defective hdd, or some other hardware problem.
  • If the computer doesn’t do anything, it is also a hardware problem. You can tackle this with a local computer shop, or proceed to moving your drive on another computer.
  • If the computer starts but it doesn’t recognizes your hard-drive, then you cannot rescue your files anymore. Actually there are data recovery services, that will disassemble your drive, and will read the data on the platters with special equipment. These are special services and are very expensive. Most of us prefer to lose the family pictures than to pay for these services.

What To Do If The Computer Won’t Boot

My Computer Won’t Boot, I Need My Pictures And Files

There are many reasons why your computer won’t boot. If you think your computer is not worth investing too much work to revive it, then the easiest way to recover your files is to take out the old hard-drive, mount it on a USB enclosure, and read it through USB on a good computer. You will be able to read your old files without any problems. This method assumes your hard-drive is not defective.For the case that Windows won’t boot because of a file-system corruption, or other Windows corruption problems, there is the Recovery Boot Disk that will allow you to boot your computer and fix a wide range of problems.

If the hard disk is the one that caused your computer to not boot, you still have good chances to recover your files, but in many cases you need a data recovery software like Data Rescue PC 3, to scan for files on the corrupted disk.

If the computer warns you before booting that there is a problem with the disk drive, you need to stop immediately using the drive if you want to maximize your chances of recovering the data. If your drive is making clicking noises, you also need to stop using it. Sometimes a hard-disk will have just enough life for a last run, so after recovery it will die.
The next step is to acquire data recovery software and install it on a good computer, and buy a USB enclosure and use it to mount the drive from the defective computer. Now connect the hard-drive to recover on the good computer and start the recovery.

Data Loss Prevention

What can I do to prevent data corruption or data loss?

  • Enable in BIOS and on the hard-drive S.M.A.R.T. This is a software utility embedded on the hard-drive that will detect when too many error corrections are occurring. Whenever this happens it means that you drive is near an imminent failure and you should backup/replace it.
  • If a message of a hard drive error appears, stop using your computer until you change the drive. You can use the computer to make a backup of your data onto another drive.
  • Check old backup tapes and copy them onto new tapes, using a temporary restore. This should happen each 10 years or more.
  • Check the data stored on CD’s and DVD’s, and recopy that media regularly. Not all CD and DVD media are equal. The factory-recorded media is the longest lasting. The media burned at home or on a computer CD-ROM unit can last between 1 to 10 years or more. So it is wise to rerecord it after a few years if you bought good quality media, or after one year if it’s on cheap media.
  • Buy an antivirus and keep it up to date.

Copy and Backup Utility Review – Robocopy or Xcopy, Which One?

Robocopy or Xcopy Which One to Use?

These two command line file copy utilities seem to provide the same functions. However don’t be deceived by the number of options xcopy provides. It is just a as it is a poor relative of the more robust, featured,
When to Use Xcopy and When to use Robocopy?
If you need advanced features such as backing-up, type of copy and you want 100% reliability of the copy process then Robocopy (robust copy) is your choice. If on the other hand, you don’t have a complex copy job Xcopy will do it. Xcopy is part of the operating system, it comes with Windows, whereas robocopy needs to be copied from another system, or you need to install the Resource Kit. To put it more simple, xcopy is always available as the shell command “copy”.

Features of Xcopy and Robocopy

Why not use the shell command copy then, is the next question. Because “copy” is just too minimal and cannot accomplish what the other two can. It only copies files and not directories with the afferent directory structure. It cannot copy attributes and ACLs.
In contrast, the other two file copy utilities are featured in such way that they can be easily used as backup systems if the correct options are setup. In conjunction with the scheduler and using a batch script this can be a powerful backup solution that is both inexpensive and flexible.
The features of Xcopy and Robocopy are: selective attributes replication, ACLs can be maintained or not for the files copied, ownership can be copied or not, folder structure replication, fully automation, archive attribute support – which makes it a real backup utility, file exclusion option, verification of the copied files, performance tuning.

What are the differences between Xcopy and Robocopy?

If we were to sum up we could say that Robocopy is way more powerful than Xcopy. But of course you might ask me for arguments to support my statement, here they are:
The most annoying thing about Xcopy is that you can’t use the network restartable mode if you copy ACls. Isn’t this annoying? For me this was enough of a reason to install the Resource Kit and get the Robocopy immediately. But wait, the list doesn’t stop here.

Robocopy as a Backup Software

Why is Robocopy worth writing about? Robocopy is a great software that can be used as a backup utility. Its features makes it fit for maintaining automated file backup using various approaches. It can be used for directory mirroring, for archiving files, for moving files, etc…
It can be used to copy only new or changed files, it can use the archive bit, as any good backup software would.
If the target directory is enabled for compression, it can save space as well.
Another application of Robocopy is during migrations or server upgrades. Because sometimes migrations or server changes are time sensitive, we need to copy as much as possible before switching to the new server. This where Robocopy comes in handy. You start the mirroring ahead of time, so all the files are copied. When the time of switching is close there are only minor changes to be done so the operation is very fast. The key options for this applications are: robocopy /MIR to mirror the directory, robocopy /MON:n to MONitor the source and run again when more than n changes occur and robocopy /MOT:m to MOnitor source and run again in m minutes Time, if changed.
Another neat application is to archive files that haven’t been used in a given period.
This command moves files that haven’t been used in 500 days, in restartable mode, copying the attributes, the file’s owner, and the ACL, excluding older files.
robocopy C:\FILES \\SERVER\FILES-ARCHIVE /e /zb /r:0 /w:1 /copy:daso /xo /move /MINLAD:500

Other Cheap Backup Utilities

Another cheap, (free), utility is xxcopy.
The utility competes with Robocopy, has versions for both 32 bit and 64 bit OS, and has more command switches.
However, this isn’t a free program for businesses, it is free for for personal use though.

Downloads and Resources

Download the resource kit for Windows 2003 here, (the resource kit contains robocopy):
You can download xxcopy here:
A robocopy GUI interface can be downloaded here:
Another robocopy GUI interface can be downloaded here:

Centos Network Configuration – on a Barebones from Command Line

Centos LogoCentos Network Configuration – is very simple on a full installation. However, I downloaded the Centos’ “Minimal Install” cd and used yum to install various packages I needed.

The simple way to do it if you have a standard installation is to use the Network Administration
Tool (system-config-network), which is a graphical interface to edit the configuration files. Since I haven’t installed this tool, I needed to edit the files manually.

How to Configure Network in Centos from Command Line:

A quick way to see if your interface works and if you can ping internal resources.
ifconfig eth0 netmask
Use your IP addresses.
Note that this is not persistent, at the first reboot, ot first network services restart this will be lost.

For a DHCP address assignment use:
ifdown eth0
dhclient eth0

To get a persistent centos network configuration use the following procedure:

Edit the network configuration file

vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
Edit the configuration file so it contains your IP address configuration as follows:

This configures your interface with the IP and the netmask
For more info about Centos’ network configuration look here: .

Set up Name Resolution

Name resolution configuration, is more consistent across various Linux distributions. Most of the Linux distros will have the configuration file at /etc/resolv.conf.
Edit this file and change according to your network:
vi /etc/resolv.conf
Modify the file so it contains pointers to your DNS servers like this:

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