How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac and PC: A Comprehensive Guide

We’ve all had that moment of panic when we accidentally deleted an important file. But don’t lose hope; there are a number of approaches you can try on both Mac and PC to try and recover these files. You can follow the instructions in this guide.

Recovering Deleted Files on a Mac

Step 1: Check the Trash Bin

Your trash bin should be your first stop. How to do it is as follows:

  1. Open the Trash Bin by clicking its icon in the Dock.
  2. Look for the file you deleted. You can use the search bar at the top right if you remember the file’s name.
  3. Once you find the file, drag it out of the Trash Bin and onto the Desktop or the desired folder.

Step 2: Use the Time Machine

If you have Time Machine configured and you can’t find your file in the Trash Bin, proceed as follows:

  1. Open Time Machine from the Launchpad or the Applications folder.
  2. Use the timeline on the edge of the screen or the up and down arrows to navigate through your backups.
  3. Select the file or folder you wish to recover, then click the ‘Restore’ button.

Recovering Deleted Files on a PC

Step 1: Check the Recycle bin.

The Recycle Bin is the Mac’s Trash Bin’s counterpart on the PC. How to retrieve files from it is detailed below:

  1. Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking its icon on the Desktop.
  2. Look for the file you deleted. Use the search bar in the top right corner if you know the file’s name.
  3. Right-click the file and select ‘Restore’. This will return the file to its original location.

Step 2: Use File History

If File History is turned on and you can’t find your file in the Recycle Bin, take the following actions:

  1. Open the folder that once contained the deleted file.
  2. Click the ‘History’ button in the Ribbon. This will open a new window with a list of previous versions of the files in that folder.
  3. Look for your deleted file in the list, select it, and then click ‘Restore’.

Advanced Recovery Options

You might need to use a third-party file recovery tool if the methods listed above don’t help you recover your files. Both free and paid options are readily available. My favorites are Recuva for PC and Disk Drill for PC.

Keep in mind that your chances of success are higher the sooner you try to recover a deleted file. The space a file once occupied on your hard drive is designated as being available for new data when it is deleted. If new information is entered there, the deleted file might become irrecoverable.

Although accidentally deleting a file can seem disastrous, you can recover lost data on both Mac and PC in a number of ways, as you have seen. The secret is to move swiftly and make use of the tools at your disposal. To avoid future data loss, always regularly backup your data.

Reach out to us to get set up with a backup solution—we include backups on our support plans—to add as much coverage as possible!

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