Summary: Data Recovery software is not the only way to help you recover your deleted files on Mac or Windows. There are other techniques through which you can restore your files provided specific prerequisites are met. This blog will share different do-it-yourself methods to recover your deleted files without using data recovery software.
When you can’t find your files in their correct folder location, they might have been moved to another location. You can look for the file through Spotlight search.
Then, drag and drop the file from the search area to Desktop or the required Finder location. Continue the same for other files.
If you’ve unintentionally deleted some files from your Mac, the most convenient way is to look for them in the Trash (Bin) folder. First, select the files you want to recover and choose ‘Put Back’ from the context menu.
The deleted files will restore to their original location. Or else, you can drag the selected files from Trash and drop them on the Desktop or anywhere else in Finder.
Related Article: How to Recover Deleted Files from Trash
Probably, you might have renamed your file. So, you won’t be able to locate your lost file using the name search. Instead, try searching the file using different search criteria. For instance, if the missing file is an image, you could type .jpg and scroll the search result to preview Spotlight or the Finder’s search box. Suppose you could find the file, drag and drop it to the correct location and give it the required name. Do the same for other file types to search.
Time Machine is a built-in backup app provided in macOS, which helps you restore your deleted files. If you’ve set up an external hard drive as a Time Machine backup drive, the app takes incremental backup of your ‘Macintosh HD’ at a scheduled time. Steps to recover deleted data from Time Machine are as follows:
Step 1: Go to Time Machine > Enter Time Machine from the Menu bar.
Step 2: Browse through the files using up or down arrows or the timeline.
Step 3: Select the required files, then click Restore.
If you have any query related to Time Machine set-up and restore, we suggest you walk-through our popular guide on how to set up Time Machine on Mac.
iCloud is a native cloud storage service offered in your Mac. Using the 5 GB free cloud storage space provided with your Apple account, you can sync your important files and folders with iCloud. So, if you’ve deleted your files by using the permanent deletion command or emptied your Trash after deletion, look for those files on iCloud and restore them to your Mac. But, keep in mind that the iCloud sync process requires an uninterrupted Internet connection for regular uploads.
Windows allows you to search the entire computer using the Windows search functionality. To search for a file, press the Windows key and continue typing the name of the file. Windows Search opens with the search result. Find the file and restore it to the correct location. Continue the process for other missing files.
Just like Trash in macOS, Recycle Bin in Windows retains all your deleted files and folders temporarily. So when you delete your files on your PC, go to Recycle Bin and look for your deleted data. Select the required items, right-click and then choose ‘Restore’ to get them back to the location from where the data got deleted. You can even drag and drop the selected items to Desktop.
Related Blog: How to Recover Deleted Files from Recycle Bin
OneDrive is the proprietary cloud storage space provided by Microsoft. Using the 5 GB free storage space linked with your Microsoft account, you can sync your valuable documents, email attachments, pictures, etc., to OneDrive. If you’ve deleted your data from the synced folder by using the Shift + Delete command or by using the Empty Recycle Bin option after deletion, you can restore them from OneDrive.
It is a built-in backup feature provided in Windows. If you’ve set up an external storage drive or network-attached storage for File History, you can quickly restore your deleted files using File History. Following are the steps to recover data using File History:
Step 1: Go to the Start menu, type ‘Restore your files with File History’, and then hit Enter.
Step 2: On the File History window, look for the deleted file and navigate its version.
Step 3: Choose ‘Restore’ to save it to its original location. Or right-click on Restore and select ‘Restore to’ to store in a new place.
Step 4: Alternatively, you can go to the folder where the deleted files were once stored. Right-click the folder, select Properties, and click the ‘PreviousVersions’ tab. Select the latest version, then click Restore.
Both Windows and macOS have built-in features that help recover deleted files without the need for data recovery software. For instance, macOS provides iCloud, and Time Machine, while Windows has OneDrive and File History. By using these built-in and often ignored features, you can recover your deleted files efficiently.
However, all the above methods are useless if you fail to take a timely backup of your files. In such situations, data recovery software is the only solution.
Santosh is a technical writer with 10-year experience in writing. He writes troubleshooting blogs, articles, and other web content on a variety of topics, including data recovery, data security, and data backup. His hobbies include solving puzzles, gardening & painting.
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