Data recovery guide

Most likely you came to this page because you need to recover your data lost during some computer accident. Sometimes such a recovery can be a very tricky task that only data recovery experts can solve, but most cases fit well into one of the typical file recovery scenarios in the list we compiled. All you need to do is pick the most relevant case from the list below and get detailed instructions on how to get the data back in that particular case, but before going into action we recommend you read our general advice on data recovery.

General advice:

1. First and foremost: Stay calm, don't hurry, and don't worsen the situation. Ensure that no further alterations are made to the storage device where the lost files resided. Don't save files to the damaged disk. If it's your system (boot) disk, from which the operating system loads, then it is best to just shut down the computer. Make all software preparations on a different computer.

2. Learn more about data recovery. We recommend you to read our article File Recovery Basics: How Data Recovery Works. You'll understand how data recovery works and what to expect from it in your particular case.

3. Inspect the affected disk. Don't work on disks with damaged hardware. Symptoms that a hard drive has hardware problems:

  • Your system does not recognize the device anymore, or it appears under an unusual name.
  • The hard drive makes unusual noises, clicks, starts too slowly.
  • Bad blocks constantly appear on your hard drive.
  • SMART inspecting programs report a severe hardware failure event. You may use our data recovery programs for such inspection.

Important! If you believe that the hard drive in the computer is malfunctioning, use R-Studio Emergency to create an image of the entire hard drive. DO NOT DO ANYTHING ELSE WITH IT BY YOURSELF ANYMORE! Don't try to run a scan or recovery procedure. Don't try to use some other data recovery software. Remember, tampering with a drive in this condition will surely inflict more damage to your files. At best, you'll have to pay extra money to a professional data recovery service. At worst, you'll lose all your data for good. Bring the drive to qualified data recovery professionals. They have special equipment, software, and, most important, the required skills to work with such drives.

4. Try to work with images rather than actual disks. This keeps your data safe from accidental data corruption. Read this article for more details: Clone Disks Before File Recovery.

5. Prepare a large enough place to store recovered files and images, if necessary. Never try to save recovered files on the disks where they resided.

6. Last but not the least: don't buy any data recovery software unless you're sure it can recover files in your particular case. Any decent data recovery program allows you to work in its demo mode to find your lost files and estimate their chances for their successful recovery. Please note that even if the program shows you a correct file and folder structure, that doesn't guarantee that the files can be successfully recovered. Only successfully previewed files can be successfully recovered.

Typical data recovery cases:

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