Whenever a user empties the Recycle Bin or Trash, they are actually instructing the file system to update its data index and remove the reference to the ‘deleted’ file(s). The data is still there, but hidden from the user. This means that the clusters containing the data will be overwritten at some point, but only if the file system needs that free space. That's why data can still be recovered on a hard drive.
Restoring Data With Original File Names
However, the only way to get all those files back with their original names is by acting fast after noticing the data loss. It’s important to avoid using the storage medium for any purposes other than data recovery because the file system may overwrite the ‘lost’ data on it, especially if it is running low on free space.
To restore the data, connect the storage medium to another computer (if necessary) and launch your preferred data recovery app to initiate a scan. The data recovery app will check the logical disk’s information about files and folders when first run. This section of the logical disk – the file allocation table (FAT) or the master file table (MFT) – contains records storing file names, sizes, date and time, as well as other information about the stored data. This is what the operating system updates when you choose to delete a file.
If the damage to the HDD is only light – as in the data loss is fresh and only the file references have been updated to reflect the change – then a data recovery application will be able to restore all data, including the original file names, folder structure, and contents.
If the damage is more serious, a long time has passed since the accidental deletion, or the storage medium has been in use, then the chances of recovering the original file names are very low. A data recovery application could still be able to get the data back – likely without the original file names – but in this case you will need to run a deep scan which, depending on the storage medium's size, can take days.
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- Can I Recover All My Files?
- Can I Recover Data From a Formatted Hard Drive?
- Can I Recover Deleted Data From My Flash Drive or Memory Card?
- Can I Recover Deleted Data From My HDD?
- Can I Recover Deleted Data From My iPhone or Android Smartphone?
- Can I Recover Deleted Data From My SSD?
- Can You Recover Corrupted Files?
- How Do I Get All My Files Back With Their Names Intact?
- How Does Data Recovery Work?
- How Is Information Stored on a Computer?
- How Much Does Data Recovery Cost?