Data recovery for Windows 7 - your advice?
February 15, 2021 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Suddenly discovering 50 GB of free space on my hard drive is not good news. I have accidentally deleted a lot of photographs which I would like to recover. More details inside. Is there any (hopefully free) recovery software that you could recommend? Do you have some other advice?

The pictures were in the Recycle bin, which I stupidly enough emptied without checking what was there. I haven't done much with my computer since then, so I hope some of these files have not been overwritten yet. I would be grateful for any photographs that I could recover. I'm running Windows 7, 64 bit.
posted by Termite to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you can pull the drive and plug it into some other computer, PhotoRec is your go-to tool for this.
posted by mhoye at 9:45 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]

Installing software would probably overwrite the disk where the photos were.

You need to stop using that computer immediately, and call a local expert/company to see if they can recover the files. I believe it needs to be done using another machine acting on your drive.

Even using other software (e.g. whatever software you're using to read MeFi) can overwrite space by caching into that space. Seriously -- if they are important files, stop using that computer and call an expert.
posted by amtho at 9:46 AM on February 15
posted by hypercomplexsimplicity at 9:48 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]

Stop using your computer immediately. Use someone else's computer to make an Ubuntu live USB disk. Use it to copy the whole drive to a larger portable hard drive. ("dd" is a useful search term.) Then you have unlimited time to figure out what to do and can use your computer without fear of making things worse. Good luck!
posted by eotvos at 10:20 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for your replies so far! I've tried PhotoRec, but I don't understand it. Maybe some of you could explain it better than the cgsecurity web site?

If the photos are lost, it's not a total disaster. Life goes on. But it would be really good to recover them. I always like to learn something new, so learning how to use recovery software would be a good experience. And speaking of learning: I've already learned to backup anything that's valuable :)
posted by Termite at 1:45 PM on February 15

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