Retrieving lost or deleted data in MS Windows

I have heard of stories where people have recovered erased data (data that have been emptied from the recycle bin). Is this possible? Can deleted data be recovered? What other instances can we recover deleted data? I have had an important document that was sitting in the recycle bin and my room mate accidently clicked empty recycle bin.
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Executive Software makes a product called Undelete.
It will sometimes recover data removed from the Windows Recycle bin from before the time Undelete was installed.

You can call and ask.
For undelete to work it must be installed before the recycle bin is emptied.

Try - it's worked great for me.
Too fast on the submit button - remember if you continue to use your system the chances go down on a succesful recovery because the erase data will  get overwritten.
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

Dushan De SilvaTechnology ArchitectCommented:
Dushan911 is absolutley correct in what he is suggesting
We had a situation with a server which had alot of important information deleted and the recycle bin emptied, we used GetDataBack and had a 100% recovery of all our data.
FYI - I recommend (getdataback) in the first post
As Dlongon has said

I too would recommend 

I have purchased most of their programs now.

As a test I copied a file to a floppy disk, then I deleted the file, then I ran the runtime.prg software and it still found the file.

I also did the same test but this time I formatted the floppy disk and then I was not able to get the file back

So there are programs that will get data back, but the more intense you delete such as fdisk and format  or.... so I have read, the longer you leave it, the less chance of recovery.

Hope this helps



Your absolutly correct regarding the sooner you work on the recovery the better chance you have in getting it back.

This is because when windows deletes a file, it only removes the "file entry" in the "bitmap" the actual data does not get removed.  As you make addtions and subtractions from the "bitmap" your chances of recovery become reduced.

I am curious, if you do a "quick format" of the floppy, you may still be able to recover data.  A quick format is only going to remove all entries from the bitmap and not do an actual format of all data sectors on the floppy.
tek07Author Commented:
Hey dlongan, can you elaborate more on how the deleting process works? Only the file entry bitmap gets deleted. So what happens to the actual file...?
The bitmap is a "index" to the actual file data.  Windows only removes the entry in the "index" during a delete, thus the data still remains, untill something overwrites it.

Here is some more info on one type of a file system called FAT:

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.