Last Reviewed:  April 19, 2023

Recover Deleted Files

If you've accidentally deleted a file, hopefully you've got a backup copy. Everyone should have at least one active backup of every file (see below). To restore from backup:

  1. In FileCenter, go to the drawer/folder where the file was
  2. In the bottom left-hand corner of FileCenter, you'll see the Windows path to that drawer/folder
  3. Now go into your backup software
  4. Locate that same Windows path
  5. Select the file and restore it

If the file wasn't backed up, you may or may not be able to get it back. The key factor is what kind of drive the files were on.

The three main types are local hard disk, removable drive, and network drive.

If the file was on a local drive (a drive that's in your computer), just use the Windows Recycle Bin to recover it.

For files on a removable drive (basically any USB drive) or a network drive, the deletion is probably permanent.

However, if you did the deletion within FileCenter AND you had FileCenter's Recycle Bin feature turned on (Settings > Miscellaneous), FileCenter will put the file in its own recycle bin, as long as you deleted the file from FileCenter (if someone deleted it outside of FileCenter, you're out of luck). There will be a folder in the bottom of the drive that holds the cabinet called "FileCenter Recycle Bin" and you can find deleted files there, in their original folder locations.

As a last-ditch option, there's a chance you can recover a file if the deletion was very recent. In a nutshell, when you delete something, Windows doesn't really delete it. Rather, Windows just marks the file as deleted in the drive's "table of contents" to note that the space is now available. Until Windows actually writes another file over that space, the old file is still there.

There are lots of file recovery utilities out there. Any one of them works as well as any other. The gotcha is that if Windows has put a new file in the space where your old file was, the old file is gone.

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