Recuva (pronounced “recover”) is a freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This includes files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images and other files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera memory cards or MP3 players. It will even bring back files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes, and viruses.
Step-by-step approach and recovery options
You can specify the type of files you are trying to recover data, whether they are pictures, music, documents, videos, compressed archives, emails or other types, as well as their last known location.
Recuva can be configured to search a media card or an iPod, in My Documents, Recycle Bin, in any other specific location, or the entire system and all connected devices.
Enable the Deep Scan mode
If previous attempts have been made to recover the respective files but failed, you can enable Deep Scan, which is a thorough scanning process that takes a longer time.
Expert users can enjoy Recuva without using a simple wizard. All they have to do is select the drive, scanning mode (for files or contents), and file type.
When results are displayed, you can view the current state of each file by checking out the bullet color (green – excellent, orange – poor, red – unrecoverable). Plus, you can view useful information about each file, such as size, last modification and access time, comments, number of clusters allocated at the offset, number of overwritten file clusters, and hex mode.
File recovery can take a long time (depending on the size and state of the file), and if the output destination is in the same drive, Recuva tells you this decreases the chances of a successful recovery.
Secure deletion operations
Additionally, you can overwrite files, which means they will be completely deleted. However, this doesn’t always work on files with red bullets (Recuva tells you if the operation was a success or not).
If you use Recuva to securely delete overwritten files, the software will overwrite any residual sectors and change the file status to “unrecoverable,” but you can still view the contents of the files (these are recoverable too).