I accidentally deleted important files, for which I do not have a backup. My thesis files worth four years of sweat is gone and when I tried to go back to a "previous versions" I get the message:

There are no previous versions available

How can I recover them from a Windows 7 machine?


First: STOP USING THE HARD DRIVE WHERE YOU DELETED THE FILE and do all recovery operations from a Live-CD. This will avoid other applications from overwriting whatever remains of your file.

You can try PhotoRec. Most of the time it should recover at least something, but if the old data has already been overwritten, you're out of luck.

  • 2
    +1 for the important first point. Don't know the recommended recovery software, but one that I see frequently recommended is GetDataBack from www.runtime.org. If the data is that critical don't even shutdown the computer - pull the plug - hold the power button in and turn it off. Then pull the drive out so you don't accidentally use it. IT MAY ALREADY BE TOO LATE, but if it isn't you DO NOT want to keep using it as every byte written to the disk could overwrite your critical data. At the end of the day, you may need to send the drive to data recovery, even then, recovery cannot be guaranteed. – Multiverse IT May 11 '12 at 2:38
  • I have had good results with PhotoRec, at least for FAT 32 filesystem. – Renan May 11 '12 at 12:10

You could try a few hard drive recovery tools, such as this one here. I haven't used them sorry so I can't let you know which one I'd recommend.

Also check out some of the questions asked right here on Super User such as


  • I tried using NTFS undelete but I don't see my files... any of them... they were about 30 files... – Jeon-Ho Aaron Cho May 11 '12 at 2:27
  • Are mentioned by 'Multiverse IT' on the other post you may need to send away the drive to get it done professionally, but even this is a long shot. Sorry I couldn't be of more help – Robotnik May 11 '12 at 3:03

protected by Community May 27 '15 at 15:39

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