If you have deleted a file by accident, or if a file got deleted by a program automatically, then you may have options to restore it after all.
There are criteria that make it more likely or less likely that a file can be recovered. For instance, if you create backups regularly, you can simply restore the file from backup.
Windows too comes with a shadow copy or a file history feature that you may be able to use for that purpose. Then there is System Restore, and the option to run recovery software on the PC in an attempt to restore the file in question.
And if the files were stored on remote storage, you may be able to recover it there.
If you are using Dropbox for example, you may have noticed that all files that you add, edit or remove locally or remotely are also changed in all other linked locations. If you delete a file locally, it will be deleted remotely on Dropbox as well.
That does not mean that the file itself is gone right away, as Dropbox maintains a copy of it in the recycle bin for 30 days before that happens.
To recover any file deleted 30 or less days ago on Dropbox do the following:
- Open the Dropbox website on the Internet using your web browser of choice.
- Make sure the files and folders that you share are displayed here.
- Click on the recycle bin icon in the top right corner next to the search form.
- This highlights all files and folders that got deleted in the past 30 days but are still available on Dropbox.
- You can identify those files by a lighter gray text color, and the text deleted under kind.
- Right-click on the file that you want to recover and select Restore from the context menu that opens up.
- Alternatively, use the previous versions feature to restore a previous version of the file.
Side Tip: If you want to delete a file permanently that you have deleted, select the Permanently delete option of the menu.
When you select restore, Dropbox will display a prompt listing the file that you have selected for recovery. You need to click on the restore button again to do so. Here you also have the option to view other versions of the file, for instance for comparison or to recover one of those.
When you restore a file, it will automatically be synchronized again with all connected devices based on the synchronization rules set forth by you.