Modern computer systems have a staging ground for files and folders you want to delete, either the “Trash” or the “Recycle Bin”. But once that’s emptied you can’t recover anything, right? Not necessarily…
In the early days of computing, files either were visible and part of your file system or they were gone. Deleted. No more. Which meant that backups were really important because there wasn’t any room for error nor any recovering from an impulsive desire to do some digital spring cleaning. Fortunately your Mac has a much better design now and when you delete a file, it’s not actually deleted, it’s moved to a staging area that’s represented by the trashcan. Decide you don’t want it deleted? Open the trash and pull it out.
It’s still the case that once you digitally empty that trashcan, however, you’re out of luck. The files are then gone forever. Unless you have a super helpful crisis aversion utility like iBeeSoft Data Recovery for Mac. With this program you can recover things that have been completely deleted, even from removable drives.
Turns out, I needed this handy program just the other day, after getting an external drive back from a colleague just to find that somehow she’d deleted a folder of client videos I really needed to work on. I did the usual and checking the Trash for the files. Nada.
Tip: On a MacOS X system, the Trash shows what’s queued for deletion both on your boot drive and any external drives while attached and accessible.
With the external drive plugged in I launched iBeeSoft Data Recover for Mac. The opening screen is pretty futuristic:
Since I know that the files I want are videos and images, I unchecked the other file types to make the job of picking through the potentially recovered files. Any guesses how to get started? You’re right! Click on “Start“…
The first step is to specify to the program which drive you want to have scanned for lost files:
My external drive is the “My Passport Air” – a very nice 1TB drive – so I’m going to double-click on that entry at the bottom of the list to proceed. Now the program will do the real work, scanning and analyzing every block of the device. Bigger drives will take more time, but at least you can see how many files it’s found as it proceeds:
After a surprisingly short amount of time given the drive size, it shows a list of what’s been found and is available to be recovered. Note that everything’s shown by its location, so you’ll be opening folders and subfolders to find what you seek. In my case, I looked for my original folder “Client Video Editing” (which you can see on the left). More importantly, notice below that three .MOV and a .PNG file have been found!
That’s everything! PHEW!
To recover the files, simply check the box to the left of each entry (or check the topmost box as a shortcut). Then the Recover button becomes a clickable option…
The top also shows that this is 903MB of data, some pretty decent size files. Click Recover and it’ll ask where you want the files saved: I highly highly recommend you recover them to a different drive to improve the chance of your recovered files being uncorrupted.
You’ll get a status update as the program chugs along:
After a short amount of time, you’ll then see this cheery message:
Done. Now you’ll find that your files are deep within a reconstructed folder hierarchy that matches the original drive, so my files ended up deep in subfolders, finally in 502 > Client Video Editing:
And that’s it. Mission accomplished!
One thing to keep in mind is that on any drive if you want to recover files or other data, you’ll have more success if the drive hasn’t been used since the accidental deletion or emptying of the Trash. That’s why if you do have a mistaken deletion it’s critical that you immediately stop using the drive, quit all other programs and don’t do anything else on the file system until you can run the recovery program. Recovering files from weeks or months earlier? Just about impossible on an active system.
That’s it. iBeeSoft Data Recovery for Mac is a simple and efficient program that you won’t need for most of your computing work, but when you do need to recover an accidentally deleted file, document or movie? It’ll be worth its weight in Bitcoin!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by iBeeSoft and a full software license was supplied for the purposes of this review.