As many obstacles as we face with our electronics, possibly one of the worst is that gut-wrenching feeling of panic after accidentally deleting an important file or document. You’ve just spent hours on a work proposal, a research paper or even perhaps a final draft of a novel and you hit the wrong button at just the right moment. Maybe your computer chose that moment to crash, and when you restart your computer, your work is gone. Fortunately, in this case, things are rarely ever gone when it comes to technology, even if you delete them.
Problem: Deleting or losing a file/document doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone forever, in fact, it’s most likely not. Though the operating system may not be able to locate it anymore, you can still recover a copy from your hard drive. The process may be long and tedious, but it is possible to recover a lost project.
Solution: Before diving too deep into the retrieval process, first check all possible locations for the file or document. If you accidentally deleted it, it’s most likely in your recycle bin (or Trash if you’re using a mac). If you can’t find it, type it into the search bar for easier access. If you’ve located your project in the recycle bin or trash, simply click recover. If not, here are a few other methods to try.
For Microsoft Word users, if your device crashed, try the following steps:
- Microsoft Word automatically recovers unsaved Word documents, so when your device is up and running again, reopen the application. An auto-recover list should appear on the left hand side of your screen.
- If the document isn’t there, click File>Options>Save. Then, copy the AutoRecover file location filepath and paste it into the File Explorer.
- Open the folder with the correct name and copy the .asd file with the most recent modification date and time.
- Return to MS Word, click File>Open>Recover Unsaved Documents (located at the bottom of the recent document list).
- From here, you should be able to paste the copied file into the folder that pops up and open the file.
For Mac users:
- One method is macOS’s Time Machine. Hook up an old external hard drive, go to System Preferences>Time Machine>Select Backup Disk. Then select your external hard drive and turn on automatic backups. Time Machine backs your computer’s data up onto the hard drive, and you can browse old versions of files.
- If you’re using macOS Sierra or later, search for hidden folders in Finder using SHIFT+CMD+.hotkey (period key).
- If you’re running an older version, enable hidden files by running the following command in the terminal with a space after each sentence : com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
- The “.Trashes” folder should appear and you can search for your file.
If none of these solutions works for you, try contacting the manufacturer for more detailed instructions.