One of the great things about Macs is the sheer amount of information they can hold and the variety of tasks they can perform with that data. Music, videos, pictures, not to mention a host of applications that do everything from provide directions to informing us of how many steps we’ve taken in a day–data on a Mac is more than just 0s and 1s, it’s the lifeblood of the entire user experience.
So imagine the horror of accidentally trashing an app or file and then, without realizing it, emptying your trash bin. Sometimes this happens when you’re trying to clean up your computer and sometimes it happens when you feel sure in one moment that you will never need a certain file again, only to end up kicking yourself days, or maybe even minutes later.
This scenario happens more often than you would think, but fortunately there’s a solution to this dreaded problem!
When you first realize you’ve lost or deleted something unintentionally, you need to resist the temptation to panic.
Make sure that the data is actually gone and not simply misplaced. Check your trash can thoroughly. You also may want to use Time Machine, if possible, to restore your computer to a time before the data was lost. Unfortunately, if you didn’t save the file before it was trashed, you won’t be able to restore to the most recent version.
Next, don’t start clicking around in search of your lost file. Instead, try to quarantine the deleted file by not using the disc on which its stored. This is because deleted data is not truly deleted–it still exists it’s just designated as a free space that can be overwritten.
Once you’ve quarantined your data, you can now start the process of restoring it by using data recovery software. There’s an enormous variety of data recovery software on the web, many of them similar, though different in quality.
Ideally, you should have your software downloaded before you need it, which is to say you should get recovery software now, or as soon as possible!
Once you’ve got the proper software all you have to do is tell it to scan the affected disk. The scan may take awhile, but be patient.
After the disk has been scanned, you will have the option to preview the recovered files. This can be the most time consuming step because the names of deleted files are almost always destroyed so that you can’t search for them directly. Instead you will have to manually sort through all of the files and use the preview function to verify its content.
Once you find the file or data in question, simply click “recover” and wait for the magic to happen!
That’s the whole process and as you can see, it’s not all that bad. You can make it even easier by having your recovery software ready to go before there’s an issue. In addition you should be religious about backing up files to your email or external hard drive so that you have alternatives to recovery software.
If you do all of this, you’ll never have to worry about lost data on your Mac again!