Deleted files and “previous versions” in Windows 7

By | July 27, 2011
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You all know, by now,  when you delete a file in Windows:

a. It’s not really deleted.
b. It goes to the Recycle Bin and can be easily recovered from there.

And you might know that if you accidentally delete a file, you can bring it back immediately by using the Ctrl + Z keys.

But what if you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin and you realized that you’ve just deleted something important. Yes you can use a recovery program to bring it back (the sooner the better). But did you know that Windows keeps copies of your files, and you may be able to recover versions files that you didn’t back up?

Windows 7 (32bit and 64bit) creates System Restore Points automatically. These Restore Points are create backup copies of your files, folders, and settings. You can sometimes recover “previous versions” of your files by navigating to the folder that once contained the file you accidentally deleted. Right-click on the folder and choose “restore previous version” from the right-click menu. Select the most recent available back-up of the file and click “Restore.”

Just remember: you must be in the folder where the file you delete was stored. Also remember that you cannot restore previous versions from any folder in your Libraries because they are not really folders, but indexes of files and folders, which point to the files and folders where they are actually stored.

If all else fails, you can use one of several free recovery programs available – like Recuva. Recovery programs like Recuva can assist you in recovering files that you’ve deleted. However, keep this in mind: The longer you wait between the time you deleted the file and the time you attempt to recover it, the less likely the chance of you recovering a useable version of it. This is because when you delete a file it’s not actually deleted. Windows simply marks the space the file occupies as available to use (free space). As time passes the chances increase that Windows will overwrite that space with other files, and if it does, your chances of recovering a useable version of the file you deleted decrease. So always make sure you try to recover the file as soon as you realize you’ve accidentally deleted it.

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