How to recover deleted file on a FAT32 volume?

Problem:

I have Windows 98 and drive is formatted as FAT32. I have accidentally deleted an important file and emptied "Recycle Bin". Also I deleted another file by using [Shift]+[Del] (that is by bypassing "Recycle Bin"). How can I recover my files?

Solution:

  • Boot in DOS mode. You can do it in the following ways:
    1. Boot from bootable floppy (usually it goes together with operating system package)
    2. Press F8 while Windows 98 boots, and then select "Command prompt only"
    3. Click Start->Shutdown, then select ''Restart in MS-DOS mode'' and click Ok
  • Run Active@ UNERASER
  • Select the drive containing deleted files and scan it by pressing [ENTER]
  • (Optionally) You can switch to long filenames view by pressing [SHIFT]+[TAB] key

    Undelete files by UNERASER
  • Find and position the cursor on your deleted file. Deleted files are marked grey

    Undelete files by UNERASER
  • (Optionally) Check file's recoverability by previewing deleted file contents - press [ENTER]

    Undelete files by UNERASER

    If file is not recoverable — error message will appear
  • Try to recover deleted file by pressing the [Ctrl]+[U] keys — unerase command
  • If file is recoverable, a dialog box appears where you can choose the output drive and path (screenshot). Pressing the OK button starts recovery process

File are not recoverable if overwritten with other data, or its header in the root folder is overwritten or damaged. Usually it happens when you write something onto the drive where deleted file is located.

Recovery tips:

DO NOT SAVE THE RECOVERED FILES ONTO THE SAME DRIVE FROM WHERE YOU RECOVERED THE FILE! While saving recovered file(s) or folder(s) onto the same drive where they are located, you can intrude in process of recovering by overwriting table records for this and other deleted entries. It's better to save data onto another logical, removable, network or floppy drive.

DO NOT SAVE/WRITE/INSTALL ANYTHING ONTO THE DRIVE CONTAINING YOUR IMPORTANT DELETED DATA THAT YOU WANT TO RECOVER! Even installing data recovery software to the same drive could make your sensitive data irrecoverable. Download and save Active@ UNERASER for DOS onto the bootable floppy and boot your system using the disk!

 
  1. PRODUCT OVERVIEW
    1. Restoring Deleted Data
    2. Files Erased
    3. Partition Damage
    4. Steps to unerase Files and Folders
  2. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
  3. USING Active@ UNERASER CONSOLE
    1. Starting Active@ UNERASER DOS console
    2. Starting Active@ UNERASER Windows console
    3. Command Bar Menu
    4. Performing a Drive Scan
    5. Performing a Device Scan
    6. Searching for Deleted Files and Folders
    7. Searching for Files by Name
    8. Using Hex/Text Viewer
    9. Unerasing a Deleted File
    10. Unerasing a Deleted Folder
    11. Creating a Disk Image
    12. Steps to create a Disk Image
    13. Checking Disk Image
    14. Working with Disk Image
    15. Long File Names Support
    16. Recovering Files with Long Names
  4. DATA RECOVERY TIPS
    1. Treat Recovery Area With Care
    2. Save Recovered Files Onto a Different Drive
    3. Load UNERASER to a Floppy
  5. PREPARING TO USE THE UTILITY
    1. Preparing a DOS-Bootable Floppy Disk
    2. Preparing a Bootable ISO CD-ROM Image
  6. USING COMMAND LINE PARAMETERS
    1. Overview of Command Line Parameters
  7. QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
  8. HOW TO...

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