What to do if you have deleted some important files, and emptied your Recycle Bin?
Works on: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
STOP USING THAT COMPUTER IMMEDIATELY. PUT IT ON STAND-BY.Yes, do NOT shut down, restart or hibernate it. Do not pull the power off either. STAND-BY is your only choice. If you're reading this blog or googling from the same computer, you're already reducing the chance of recovering your files. Stop now.
Hopefully you're reading this from a different computer now. Follow these instructions as quickly as possible, especially if your computer usually turns off itself after 10 mins of standby. There are many apps that can help us recover deleted files. I've tried out two and sharing them below. Now is the time to recall whether your computer has a single drive (just C:\ drive) or multiple drives (C:\, D:\, etc).
If you only have single C:\ driveFrom a different computer, download Data Recovery tool (use the "Direct download link" below the big green download button so you don't get other junks from CNET). Extract the content of the zip file to a USB stick.
Now go back to your original computer, and plug-in the USB stick. Run the DataRecovery tool directly from the USB stick (Just double click. Don't try to copy over to your computer). The tool is very simple to use; pick a drive and click "Scan". The list of recoverable files will show up on right side. You should select all and click 'Recovery' because the filenames won't be recognizable anymore. (DO NOT CLICK WIPE). When asked where to put the recovered files, select your USB stick.
If you have multiple drives (C:\, D:\, etc)If you have multiple drives you can still use the Data Recovery tool above which is the safest. However, if you are sure your files were originally in a drive different from your Windows drive (typically C:\ drive), then you can use a slightly better app EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition. Unlike previous tool, this app will show you the original filenames, making it easier to exactly find your files.
Download the tool, copy the installer to your USB stick and plug it into your original computer, and install it. Run the tool and select "Deleted File Recovery", pick the file types and the drive you want, and it will show you a list of folders from that drive. If your files were deleted from recycle bin, select $RECYCLE.BIN and hopefully you'll find your file there. When asked where to put the recovered files, select your C:\ drive or USB stick. They will be put in a folder named after your drive letter. Say your files were from D:\, then they will be in D#something.