Search for Deleted Files and Folders

Search procedure can be helpful when you've completed QuickScan for the particular volumes and you are not able to locate your files, or you cannot assume the location.

Before using any recovery software, including Active@ UNERASER, check the Recycle Bin to see if the deleted file or folder is there. If it is, use the standard Windows Restore command to recover your data from there. If you cannot find the file or folder you are looking for in the Recycle Bin, continue with search and recovery procedures.

To locate specific files and folders:

  1. Launch an Active@ UNERASER and select a volume that supposedly contains deleted files
  2. Try direct listing: If you know exactly where the deleted files or folders are located, you can use the volume scan procedure. After the drive has been scanned, manually navigate to the folder path the same way as you would in Windows Explorer. If you cannot find the file or folder, open a tree node named !Lost & Found! If the parent folder of the deleted file has been deleted as well, it is very likely the deleted item will be placed in this virtual folder. If you are still unable to locate your data, proceed to the next step
  3. Try filtering: For the particular volume (or even folder) you can setup a filter to display deleted only or existing only files and folders:
    • To display only deleted files, right-click the view and choose Deleted only from the context menu. You can also click Deleted toolbar button in Filter section
    • To display only existing files, right-click the view and choose Existing only from the context menu. You can also click Existing toolbar button in Filter section
    • To clear the filter, right-click the view and choose All Files/Folders from the context menu. You can also click All Files toolbar button in Filter section
    Uneraser software: Search deleted folders
  4. Try Search mode: If you are not certain where the deleted file or folder was located before it was deleted, select a drive or folder and click Search on the toolbar, or right-click the drive or folder and choose Search in the context menu, or select a volume and press Ctrl+F. Do the following in the Search dialog box:
    • To find a file by name, enter the file name in the Find what field. Search will look for files that match the name. You may enter part of the file name and use an asterisk (*) to represent the rest of the name. Regular expressions are supported (RegExp)
    • To search by file type, choose a file type from the File type drop-down list
    • To exclude existing files and folders from the search results, mark the Deleted option
    • To exclude deleted files and folders from the search results, mark Non-deleted option
    • To use case sensitive search, clear the Case insensitive search check box
    • To search for a file based on a date, select the Created, Modified or Accessed [Deleted] check boxes and enter a From and To date range
    • To search for a file based on the size of the file, select the Sizecheck box and enter a From and To size range
    • To search for a file identifier, select the ID check box and enter a From and To identifier range
    • Click Find to start Search process

      Uneraser search deleted files and folders
    • After the Search is complete, examine the Search Results virtual folder. This is a flat list of all items satisfying your criteria. You can sort Search results on any column (name, size, date, ID...), check properties of items, preview and recover files and folders.
  5. Try SuperScan: If no files were found, use the SuperScan to thoroughly scan the HDD/SSD/USB surface to reconstruct all possible data entries. This is relatively slow process, however it brings maximum results:
    • SuperScan detects and reconstructs many volumes presumably existed on scanned disk area. It can detect FAT/FAT32/exFAT, NTFS, Apple HFS+, Linux Ext2/Ext3/Ext4fs, Unix UFS file systems. Inspect these volumes to evaluate a full data set being recovered.

      uneraser: superscan options
    • SuperScan inspects existing volumes more deeply, for example, if you formatted the volume, QuickScan displays no files on it, however SuperScan most likely will detect formatted data structures and will reconstruct previous data tree.
    • SuperScan has an option of detecting deleted files by their signatures. More than 60 predefined file signatures have been implemented internally (MP3, JPG, DOC, ZIP, etc..) and there is an option to create and load custom signatures from template files:

      uneraser: superscan options - load templates

If you have completed of all the steps listed above and your files and folders still cannot be found, it is likely that the drive space formerly occupied by your files has been completely overwritten with other data. If this is the case, there are no recovery tools that can help you.

This can happen when a lot of writing operations occur on the drive, for example during a software installation. As well, Windows operating system will sometimes create temporary files for different processes. If the process involves a lot of data and many temporary files are written, your deleted files may have been destroyed.

When you are using a search pattern in Search, it is the same pattern recognized when searching in Microsoft Windows. The asterisk symbol (*) in the pattern means, that at this place can be zero, or any number of any symbols.

	*          — All files on the drive or in the folder
*.TXT — All files with "TXT" extension
My*.* — All files starting with "My"
MyFile.txt — Search for the file named "MyFile.txt"

You can distinguish deleted files and folders from existing files and folders by the icons:
Blue or yellow icon point to an existing file uneraser file icon and folder uneraser folder icon
Grey icon points to a deleted file deleted file and folder deleted folder

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