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I often want to see files (usually code or other plain-text files) I've deleted so I know whether I want to restore them or not, the issue is you cannot see contents of recycled files unless you restore them.

Some times I've already created a new file with the same name in the previous location and I still want to peep in the erased file.
Furthermore, if the file I want to take a look into is inside a deleted folder, there is no real way I can see it!

So my question is if there is any way (programmatic way counts too) to access ALL the recycled files in deleted folders, and see their contents without restoring them.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is an interesting question so I decided to take a look at it, im glad you said programmatic way count, also this will only work with plaintext files and source code files.

  1. Enable Explorer to show operating system files and well as hidden files.
  2. Copy the explorer path for C:\$Recycle.Bin\Recycle Bin, it will look something like this

    C:\$Recycle.Bin\S-1-5-21-2188403881-3684878113-998817761-1001

  3. Open PowerShell and use the Get-Content cmdlet to view your files, you will see the contents of the file in PowerShell.

I will post more detailed instructions, with screenshots, when I get a chance but I have tested it and it works.

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Sounds great. I'd develop some sort of program that does it, but that will have to wait until I have some free time (which I don't)... –  Shimmy Nov 15 '12 at 10:42
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