Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Recovering deleted files from memory cards, flash drives / thumb drives with Restoration

If you accidentally delete files from a USB flash drive / USB key / USB stick / thumb drive or a memory stick / memory card like an SD card (which you can open and read on your PC using a card reader), unfortunately they don't go into a Recycle Bin from which you can restore them.

Fortunately, there is a way to get deleted files back from a removable disk, if you act fast - i.e. before you try to write anything else to that flash drive or memory card, or indeed ideally before you do anything else with it.

Plug the thumb drive into your PC, or insert the memory card into the card reader and plug that in to your PC. Then try Brian Kato's excellent Restoration utility - which is a free little download that's been around for some years, and works on all versions of Windows before Vista, i.e. XP back to Windows 95.

It can restore files deleted from hard drives too - but in that case you're better off downloading it to a USB key or flash drive (rather than the affected hard drive) and running it from there, so as to try to preserve the deleted files on your hard drive (which should still be there, just invisible). Better still, why not download Restoration in advance onto a thumb drive, and then in future if you need it you can just plug it in and run it from there.

NB do NOT download Restoration to the drive, stick or card containing the accidentally deleted files - download it to another drive!

It's easy to use, but here's a walk through of how to use Restoration:

  1. After you've opened Restoration.exe from wherever you've downloaded it to, select the removable drive from which you want to recover deleted files.
  2. Click "Search Deleted Files".
  3. Normally I'd say "No" to "Do you want to scan vacant clusters?" (but if the search didn't turn up what you wanted, you might try Yes).

  4. The deleted files that it can detect are listed on the left. Simply select the files you want to restore by clicking on them, holding down the Ctrl key as you click if you want to select more than one file.
  5. Then click "Restore by Copying", and choose where on your computer (or external hard drive, or indeed the memory card or USB key) you want the selected deleted files to be restored to. That's it!
It's always worked perfectly whenever I've tried it. I've not needed to use it much as, obviously, I normally try to be careful and not delete files unless I'm very sure I don't need them. But whenever I've used it, it's done the job and saved my bacon. There's no guarantee it will always work, of course, but it's certainly worth a try.

Thanks for the lifesaver, Brian!


abdul said...

Thanks for solving my problem..
mistakenly i too deleted few files from memory card..
Now i resotred them all..


Anonymous said...

Oh WOW! thanks! this program just saved my life indeed! :) just yesterday i deleted 3 pages of a literature review an hour before it was due (not to mention an hour before the campus was closing for columbus day break). i cried and ran with my computer to one of the computer experts where we tried to recover it to no avail... i tried again today, and with this great help page you wrote up I was able to find it on my own! =) thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Hi, came across this tool this morning after deleting a vital document from my USB. I ran the program and it is finding old deleted items but not the one I deleted today. I am quite destressed about this as I have been working on this all night and then stupidly deleted the wrong version. Can anyone help??

Anonymous said...

Thank God!i've just deleted my important video which i won't get it anywhere.This programme save my life!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!! I'm an 8th grade student and I accidently deleted a huge report from my flash drive. I had so many things due and i definitely didnt have time to rewrite it. I dont know what I would have done without this program

Anonymous said...

OMG .... That was a lifesaver.

james said...

Worked great and easy to use

Improbulus said...

Thank you all for the feedback, very glad it worked for you! (sympathies in the 1 case where it didn't...)

Anonymous said...

I accidently delete my family vacation & my little brother 4th grade honor roll party! i was gonna be in trouble for sure but this program just save my butt big time


Branko said...

GREAT Work Brian!!!
Your tool rocks! So easy and functional! I have saved a database I have been working on for days and erased by accident. This link was the first I have visited and it worked. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

I installed the application on my flash drive, but after I enter my file name and click SEARCH DELETED FILES, I get the following error message:

"Access is denied.

Please log on an account with Administrator privilege and then run the program again."

As I'm the administrator of my little flash drive, what do I do?


aimei said...

Hi Brian

I have the same problem...
"Access is denied.
Please log on an account with Administrator privilege and then run the program again."

Can anyone help?? Mistakenly deleted a file i worked overnight on.... sigh!

Anonymous said...

actually am following the strategy to restore my deleted files but unfortunately its' giving an error and closing !! WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ?

Anonymous said...

thanks very much brian,the software saved my ass

Scott Parisi said...

i hav used a software called kernel for fat and ntfs which works perfectly with latest version of windows, it wrks in two modes standard and advance modes respectively for recent data lost and lost of data long time ago. This software will show preview of data recovered to check your all files are recovered are not,demo version can b downloaded frm

Anonymous said...

does it work if i formatted my thumbdrive?

Staci said...

When I get to search the deleted files, it starts working and I see the files showing up, but after a minute or so a window comes up and says the application has stopped working. The program then closes, I keep retrying and it will not work properly. I have used this program before and it worked fine. HELP!!

The Contrarian said...

It scans my flash drive and then quits unexpectedly.

Anonymous said...

Starts a scan then quits - the program is a failure

Anonymous said...

Didn't work :(. Gave an error message and closed immediately!

PC said...

Would you recommend this software over Recuva?

eriquelaleur said...

just used it to save a playing test I deleted by habit while editing extraneous recordings. glad to know this works in 2012 with windows 7! (◕‿◕✿)