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What is File Recovery Software and Do I Need It?

File recovery software only works if used immediately after deletion and will not work if your device has physical damage.


Tech users everywhere have experienced that moment of panic when they realize that they have just deleted files from their computer that they desperately needed. Sometimes only a few important files are deleted, while other times it may be an entire database of information. The severity of your deletion incident can determine the best way to recover those files. 

When a smaller recovery is needed, the best course of action may be to use file recovery software. While recovery software is generally frowned upon in the data recovery industry, a reliable and quality software program for a minor amount of data can be the most efficient way to recover your sensitive information. 

Knowing When to Use File Recovery 

File recovery is the process of retrieving data that has been accidentally deleted. The general recovery process begins with scanning drives and folders to find deleted entries in the Root Folder of the device or the Master File Table. Generally, a file system includes a catalogue of file entries so the software can sift through the entries to find what was marked as deleted. Each entry also has a list of data clusters so a recovery program can find what clusters make up the file. 

File recovery software will not work in certain situations and should only be used when you are confident of the outcome of using the software. Some instances where using file recovery software may work include:

  • If files and folders have been deleted
  • When there have been operating system upgrades
  • If the device the files are on has not suffered any physical damage

On the other hand, this type of software will most likely cause further damage and will not retrieve your files in situations such as:

  • Hard disk drive on a computer is making clicking or grinding noises
  • Device has experienced a power surge and will no longer boot up and run properly
  • Host device will not recognize your drive or other media

The most important piece of advice is to avoid running a recovery program on the same disk you are attempting to recover the information from as this can cause overwriting of your files. 

File Recovery Gains Popularity for Windows Users

Some computer systems may have their own version of a recovery, but in many circumstances, this may just be a “return to last saved version” and might only be an option after an improper shutdown of your device. Once items are deleted, there is not an “undo delete” option that immediately recovers your data. Microsoft is attempting to fix this problem with its own Windows File Recovery tool, which can be downloaded for free on their website. 

It is a command-line app, which recovers a variety of files and documents from hard drives, SD Cards, and USB drives. It does not support the recovery of files on cloud storage, however. In order to use this tool to its full advantage, a user must download and activate the recovery tool as soon as files are deleted to avoid possible overwriting. Microsoft’s tool recovers:

  • MP3 files and MP4 videos
  • Office files
  • PDF documents and JPEG images

One of the modes on this recovery program allows you to choose specific files, but the File Recovery tool as a whole is only compatible with Windows 10 2004 and above.

Should I Choose File Recovery Software?

A deleted file designates an open area on a disk to the media and next time an application runs, that information will be stored in the area that once held your deleted file. This is a disastrous incident, especially if that file held irreplaceable information. Sometimes, a reliable file recovery software can retrieve what’s yours without harming other data. If you want to use software, find a reputable source to get it from and ensure it’s not a scam that will cause further damage.

Secure Data Recovery offers a line of file recovery software including: Undelete for Files, file repair for each program in Microsoft Office, and repair for databases and servers as well. All of these software programs are broken down into categories by platform type, general type, and OS compatibility so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. If used immediately after file deletion, you may be able to save your files as soon as possible with an easy-to-use program

In the cases where your media has experienced too much physical damage to operate, software is not the answer. Secure Data Recovery offers our top-rated data recovery services on all media and OS systems for drives that have experienced both physical and logical damage. No matter how your data has been lost, we have a slew of options to choose from that ensure you have the best chance at getting it back. Call 1-800-388-1266 to learn more.  

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