Digging in the Trash: Recovering Files from an Emptied Trash Can on a Mac
Digging in the Trash: Recovering Files from an Emptied Trash Can on a Mac

how to recovery lost files on macSometimes we empty the recycle bins on our Macs and moments later realize there was an important file tucked away. It’s tough to realize you’ve just dumped an important file and will now have to start over from scratch.

Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch because there are apps out there that will allow you to find deleted files even if they’ve been permanently removed from the trash bin.

The first step is to download a recovery app. You can do this by running a quick Google search, or visiting a popular Mac site. There are a lot of apps out there so you’ll want to do your homework first. Don’t get overwhelmed though, because many of the programs target similar file types and are operated in a similar fashion. Do look at reviews of the app to make sure you’re not getting scammed. There’s nothing worse than download a free, open source app only to have it further corrupt your disc and cause to lose even more!

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

Thinking ahead is very important here. As I mentioned before, deleted files aren’t truly deleted. Instead they’re designated as free space that may be overwritten. What you want to do is avoid accidentally overwriting that space so that you can easily pluck the data you need and back it up. Don’t use the disk on which that file existed. 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 and scanned for files, it’s time to do the time-consuming part. Begin searching through the recovered files by using the preview feature of your app. You’ll have to personally verify the contents of each file because recovered files don’t retain their original file names. Have patience and make sure that you have definitely found the file for which you were searching.

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.

And that’s it! It’s a simple process and in most cases fairly painless. The hardest part is choosing the software and finding the file once you’ve recovered.

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