Dumpster Diving: How to Snatch Lost Files out of an Empty Recycle Bin

data recovery for macMaybe you know somebody who accidentally dumped a critical file in her recycle bin and then, not knowing what she’d done, proceeded to empty said recycle bin. Maybe this has happened to you. Whatever the case, it can feel horrifying to know that you potentially lost something important…forever.

Fortunately, there are plenty of apps that will help you find deleted files, even if you’ve emptied your recycle bin.

The first step is to download a recovery app. You can do this by running a Google search, or visiting a popular Mac site. There are a lot of apps out there so you’ll want to do some research. It can be tough knowing which app to pick, but don’t let it frustrate you. Most of these programs work in a similar fashion. Your best bet is to do as much research as possible and then just close your eyes and pick an app.

Once you’ve chosen your software and installed it, start scanning for files.

The key first step in all recovery operations is to stop using any affected discs. When you delete files they stay on your disc until more information comes to overwrite it. This means the deletion isn’t permanent until the overwrite process has happened. The more you use a particular disk of your hard drive, the more you are cluttering it with extra data that will hamper the software’s ability to find what you’re looking for.

Once you’ve stopped using the disc, all you have to do to run your recovery software is click “scan”, or whatever the option is for your particular app. The tedious part is searching through the scanned files once the app has run. You will need to manually verify the contents of every file because recovered files don’t retain their original names.

Once you’ve jumped this hurdle, all you have to do is tell the app to recover the file. Again, because deleted files lose their file names, you won’t be able to easily search for the recovered file on your computer. You will have to dig around a little bit to find where the file was stored.

Now that you’ve found the file, make sure to back it up to an external hard drive or at least a disc different from the one on which it was originally stored.

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