How To Recover Accidentally Deleted Files With Recuva

Don't you hate it when you accidentally deleted a file and you realize later that you absolutely need it? If it went to the Recycle Bin, it's easy to restore. But what if you permanently deleted it, with a Shift+Delete keyboard combination? Or you deleted it from a memory card or USB stick? Like the wedding photos from last week? Luckily, most times it is possible to recover those files. There are many tools that can help you do this. One of them is named Recuva, it is free and very popular. In this tutorial will show you how to recover deleted files using this application.


When you try to recover deleted files, it is very important to use the computer as little as possible to create or copy files on the partition/device where the deleted files were placed. That is because when a file has been deleted, the reference to it has been taken away, but the file is still there. If new files are created in the place of the ones you deleted, they will overwrite the old files, making it impossible for you to recover them.

So when you want to recover a file from a partition, it is best not to install a program on the same partition, or download a movie, install a game, etc.

If you want to recover files from your "C:" drive, you should not install Recuva on that drive. But if you deleted some files from your memory card or USB stick, you can install Recuva on your "C:" drive. No problem at all.

Where To Download And How To Install Recuva

Recuva is available both in an installer and a portable version. We recommend that you use the portable version, which you can download from here.

Download it to a USB stick, right-click or tap and hold on it, and extract its content.

After extraction, open the folder where Recuva is found and choose the version that suits your computer. Recuva.exe is the file you have to run if you have a system that is 32-bit. Recuva64.exe is the file you have to run if you have a 64-bit operating system installed.

Then the program opens with a wizard, that will guide you through the all the recovery steps.

If you chose to install the program, launching it will get you to the same "Welcome to the Recuva Wizard". However, the installer tries to convince you to also install CCleaner. If you don't want that, make sure you uncheck this option during the installation.

How to Recover Delete Files With Recuva

Now that you have started the Recuva Wizard, let's see what to do next. First, choose the type of files you have deleted. In this example we've deleted pictures, so we searched for pictures. Click or tap Next.

Now you can define where you have deleted the files from. The files we deleted, in order to show you this process, were stored in a folder called Important Files, found on our test computer's Desktop.

Remember that, if you know where you deleted the files from, you should be as specific as possible, since this will decrease the search time a lot. When you don't know, you can choose "I'm not sure", but you have to realise that the recovery process will take longer.

Now you get to a screen from which you can start the scan for deleted files. There is a tickbox to enable "Deep Scan", which by default is unticked.

The first time you run Recuva, we recommend that you do the normal scan. Most of the time it will find your files just fine. If it doesn't, you can always run the scan a second time around, this time with "Enable Deep Scan" checked. It will take a lot longer, but it returns better results for files that have been deleted a long time ago.

Click or tap Start and sit back to watch the magic happen.

The scan is split in three steps. Recuva first scans for the deleted files, then it analyzes how damaged they are and finally it analyzes their contents.

When the search process is done, your deleted files will be displayed.

Select the files you want to recover, right-click (or tap and hold) and select "Recover Highlighted". Or you can check the box near each file you want to recover and then press the Recover button.

IMPORTANT: Remember to make sure you save the files to another medium than the drive/partition you recover them from. We wanted to recover files from the hard drive, so we recovered them to a USB stick. When you want to recover files from a memory card or a USB stick you should recover them to your hard drive.

When you've got all your files recovered, you can close the program.

How To Work With Recuva In Advanced Mode

After the scan is made and you are shown the results, you can also switch to the so called advanced mode.

That will make the files found appear in a list, with information about their original location. You also get three tabs on the right side of the window, where you can preview files, read more info about them (size, state, creation time, etc.) and view their header coded in hexadecimal.

If you want to recover all the files found, you can tick the box before Filename, which will select all the files from the list.


Recuva is a neat program that will help you to recover lost files. It offers a very easy to use interface, fast scanning speeds and a good detection rate. If you have any questions about it, don't hesitate to ask below.