It happens to the best of us. You don’t pay full attention for a second and before you know you deleted an important file of your external hard drive or USB that you definitely wanted to keep. But before you start writing Word Document all over again make sure to check out this Recuva file recovery guide about how to recover deleted files.

What is Recuva?

Recuva is an file recovery tool for Windows computers developed by Piriform Ltd (also known from tools like CCleaner and Defraggler) which comes in 2 versions (Free and Pro). If you just deleted some files from your HDD or USB than Recuva Free should do the trick in most cases.

So my files aren’t gone?

Well, we can’t give you any guarantee of course but Recuva’s Deep scan functionality will can for deleted files that are buried deep within the hard disk which often has exceptional good results (even when files are damaged or might be overwritten in the process).

Recover deleted files with Recuva

Before reading the steps below, make sure you downloaded Recuva ( and installed the recovery tool. Now you can start recover deleted files.

Step 1: Start the application. The Recuva Wizard will start which will give you the option to hide the wizard in the future. (For unexperienced users I recommended using the Recuva Wizard at any time.)

Click next when you made your choice.

Step 1 of Recuva file recovery

Step 2: The file type page within the Recuva Wizard gives you the opportunity to specifically select the file type you want to recover. If you deleted one or multiple folders it’s recommended to search for all files but if you only lost some Word documents or MP3 files it’s fine to select only that specific file type to speed up the process.

Hit next when you decided which files you want to recover.

Step 2 of Recuva file recovery

Step 3: The next step within the Recuva Wizard is to select the file location which contained the deleted files. If you have no clue where you saved them, don’t worry. Recuva has the option so search all storage locations that are currently connected to your computer.

If you know the location of the deleted files (the My Documents folder, the recycle bin or the drive letter of your external storage device) than select the right option and click next.

Step 3 of Recuva file recovery

Step 4: Before Recuva will start scanning your location for deleted files it will give you the option to active deep scan. Deep scan will give better results but can take much longer before completion. You can always deep scan later so if you don’t have the time for it you can always try it without first.

Make up your choice and click start.

Step 4 of Recuva file recovery

Step 5: After starting the scan you will get a small window which shows the progress in the meanwhile. You can continue doing the stuff you need to do while running Recuva on the background (but make sure to not cancel or close the application).

When the scanning phase is done it will automatically come up with the results.

Step 5 of Recuva file recovery

Step 6: After the scan is completed you will get a list of all files that are found on the selected location. In front of the filename you will see circles which can come in 3 different colors (green, orange and red). It won’t come as a surprise that green means you have a decent chance to recovery where red means it most likely unrecoverable because the file is overwritten in the meanwhile. The state and comment column will tell you what’s going on with the files that Recuva was able to scan.

Select the files you want to recover by marking the squares in front of the file name and click recover (right bottom of the application).

Step 6 of Recuva file recovery

Step 7: Before the recovery process will start you will first get the chance to select the location where you want Recuva to recover your files. Selecting the same location will decrease the odds of recovering successfully and might not be ideal. (Don’t worry, you will get an warning message if you select the same location by accident.)

Select your storage location and click OK.

Step 7 of Recuva file recovery

Step  8: The file recovering process will begin and will disappear when it’s done (just like the scanning phase).

Step 8 of Recuva file recovery

Step 9: When the recovery phase is done you will get a small window which shows the results of the recovering process. When something went wrong while recovering your files it will be shown.

After this the recovery is done, your files should be recovered in the location you selected in step 7 and you can close Recuva by clicking OK.

Step 9 of Recuva file recovery

Recuve Advanced Mode

Some of you might have seen the option already but Recuva also has an advanced mode in the file selection phase (step 6). It will give you the chance to gain more information about the specific file(s) which you can’t find in the default columns.

Make sure to active this mode if you have doubts about having the right file or version of your file.

Recuva Advanced Mode

How to avoid losing files in the future?

The solution is quite obvious, create back-ups! You might not have to recover deleted files when you have a recent back-up anyways.  There are multi solutions to create back-ups (manually or automatically) on another hard disk or USB stick. If you are looking for an non-hardware related solution you can always pick one of the cloud solutions like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or DropBox.

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