Whoops! Recovering Deleted Files
When it comes to business, maintaining records – including store product images and descriptions – is key in the event of unexpected server woes. Backups are also necessary. But, what if you accidentally delete a necessary file?
Upon first noticing a missing document (or other file), fret not. Most of the time the file is still recoverable. Here’s how to find what you fear may be lost:
- Check the Trash or Recycle Bin. On both Macs and PCs, when you delete a file it goes here first (unless the file is way too large for the bin, in which case you’d have been prompted to confirm you wanted to permanently delete it. To recover a file from the trash or recycle bin, simply drag it back to the desktop.
- Look on the backup drive. If you back your system up regularly (and you should), this process is usually as simple as connecting the drive to the computer and browsing or searching for the file. If you backup your system to the cloud, good cloud services allow you to search not only by file name, but content as well.
- Check incoming or sent email. Was the file emailed to you? Did you email it to someone else? If you archive your incoming and sent emails, a copy of the file should still be there. If not, and it isn’t too embarrassing, you can always ask the original sender or recipient to send you a copy.
- Check the server. If the data was previously placed on the server (for review or public display), and you have access to the server (via File Transfer Protocol or some other means) it’s easy to connect and re-download.
- Check the site cache. If it’s a graphics file, and it was previously live on a web site, check Google’s page caching. If the file is still on the server, a cached page may point you to the exact location. Cached pages are also useful in locating previously published textual content.
- Run recovery software. There are several free and pay-for recovery programs and any reputable one will likely locate the deleted file as long as it’s not corrupt. Note, however, the best way to recover a file is to restore it to a new folder, and not to the original location.
- Call in a pro. If nothing else works and recovery of the file is dire, bring in a professional.
While there’s no guarantee that any type of file is recoverable, the majority of actions you perform on your system – especially on a PC – can be undone. The key is to take action as soon as you discover the document or file is missing. Also, it’s wise to always review the files in the trash or recycle bin before confirming their permanent removal. Double checking never hurts.