Any way this person can get their data recovered easily?

Someone asked me if I knew how to recover deleted files. It turned out they had deleted files but hadn’t emptied their recycle bin (windows XP btw) and they simply hadn’t realized that you can restore files from the recycle bin. So I right clicked on the item in the recycle bin (it was a folder, if that’s relevant) and clicked on “restore”.

I then told them to go to wherever the file had been before it was deleted, and they should find it there. But when I saw they were navigating to their flash drive I started to get scared, as it seems I’ve read before that flash drives are funny about deleted things. And indeed, the restored file was nowhere to be found.

Is it usual for things deleted from flash drives to be sent to the recycle bin? And is it usual for them to be unrecoverable if simply "restore"d to their original (flash drive) location?

Or is it possible this thing still exists somewhere? I ran a search but didn’t come up with anything–on the other hand the search seemed unusually quick so I’m not confident it got to his whole machine.

He’s happy to have learned about the recycle bin so that’s nice at least… :wink:

“Easily” is one of those subjective words that scares me, but in XP there should be a system folder called “Recycled” or similar (I don’t have an XP machine handy right now). The deleted files should be compressed in there. Pull them out and run them through a decompression tool for the task. A particular tool doesn’t come to mind (I’ll update if I remember what I’ve used).

Be aware that data corruption is a fairly strong possibility, but if we’re talking text docs, you should be able to get the bulk of the data - aka, partial recovery.

My advice would be to try using Recuva, it’s free and very easy to use. just select the flash drive as the area to be scanned and set it off running a deep scan. When the scan is finished it will list all the deleted files it has found and their current state. If the area that previously stored the file has been completely reused you are out of luck but if the flash drive hasn’t been used much you should be able to get stuff back.

Ok, you need access to BIOS level calls to perform block reads on the disk. Oh wait, easily, no, forget about it. It’s gone if GiantRat’s advice doesn’t help.


Edit: Try Mittu’s method as well. Also visit a local computer store. They may be able to help.

The Recycle Bin only works for files on your computer, not those on a flash drive or network.

There are recovery utilities that should be able to restore files deleted from a flash drive, though.

Exactly. In fact it would be a terrible idea for files that were “deleted” from a flash drive to end up in any shape or form on the hard drive of the host computer. Not only would that create a serious security breech, but the file on the flash drive could be huge and it would have to be copied over to the host computer just to “delete” it.

A file deleted from a flash drive would not even be listed in the Recycle Bin.

I think that the file once existed on the PC’s hard disk, was later copied to the flash drive and then deleted from the hard disk. That would explain why it was in the Recycle Bin.

If I’m correct about this then when you restored it from the Recycle Bin it would have been restored to its original hard disk location.