Data Recovery from an Emptied Recycle Bin

When you delete files on a Windows PC, they go to the Recycle Bin, where they can be restored to their original location at any time. But what happens if you accidentally empty the Recycling Bin and realise you need something that’s now gone? Is data recovery possible?

Data recovery from an empty Recycle Bin is possible, despite what you might think. Many people assume that files in an emptied Recycle Bin are lost forever, but this isn’t the case – if you act quickly, data recovery is possible. This is because when you delete items from your machine, they’re not actually permanently removed from the hard drive; Windows keeps track of the file via a pointer. When these pointers are removed, the file becomes hidden from the operating system, which marks the space as free, meaning data can be written. As long as new data isn’t written to the same portion of the drive, you can undertake data recovery with a relatively high degree of success. Therefor, it’s vital that you act fast if you want the data recovery to succeed.

Data recovery from an unemptied Recycle Bin is simple – you just right click the file(s) you want to recover and restore them. When you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin, however, it’s a little bit more complicated. The first data recovery option is to restore your files using Windows Backup. In Control Panel, select ‘System and Security’, and then ‘Restore my Files’, following the steps in the wizard. Data recovery from a backup is always the quickest and easier way of getting lost data back, so it’s important to have a working backup at all times.

The second Recycle Bin data recovery option is to use a third party program. There are loads of free data recovery programs out there, and they all work on the principle that when you delete a file, as long as you don’t overwrite new data, it can still be recovered. EaseUS is a great free data recovery tool that is able to undelete files from a hard disk drive, including accidentally deleted files in the Recycle Bin. EaseUS also lets you take a disk image and work from that, protecting the rest of the data and preventing any potential mishaps. EaseUS is just one of many free data recovery programs out there; other include Recuva Data Recovery, Paragon Rescue Kit and Wise Data Recovery. If you’re not able to undelete your files, it is worth trying a professional data recovery service to see if they have the tools available to get your data back. At Data Recovery Specialists, we use data recovery software that is a lot more powerful than free offerings on the internet.

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Michael Jones, Technical Director

Further reading

How to install a new hard drive in your computer

Check disk hard drive repair

Deleting a file does not delete it