It has happened to all of us at some point. We accidentally delete a file or photo that down the line we need again. For most of us, this is frustrating and absolutely devastating, because we often cannot recover it. While there are tools out there to use to recover files, the average computer user may not understand exactly how deleting files on a computer works or why even a program may not be able to recover those files.

There are many programs out there that help users recover deleted files and photos. Piriform has introduced one such program called Recuva. Recuva allows you to easily recover files from your hard drive, external drives and even flash drives. Recuva is easy to use for even the novice computer user and our guide will show you how to get started recovering files and photos on your computer.

How to use Recuva

The quickest way to get started recovering files and photos with Recuva is to utilize the built-in recovery wizard upon start-up.

Welcome to the Recuva Wizard

While you can turn this feature off, for those who are unfamiliar with how file recovery works, this wizard can be a beneficial way to get started with this software.

Click “Next” to continue.

File type

You can choose which file types the Recuva wizard searches for to recover.

This can include pictures, music, documents, video, compressed files and folders, e-mails and every possible file on your computer. Click the type you want to find or simply click “Other” followed by “Next” to search for all deleted files.

Next, you will choose where to look for these files.

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If you know exactly where it was, you can choose from the following options: On my media card or iPod, in my documents, in the recycle bin or in a specific location. If you choose a specific location, you can pinpoint the hard drive, partition or removable media device you want to search.

You can also opt to click “I’m not sure” to search everywhere on your computer.

Click “Next” to move on to the next step.

Thank you, Recuva is now ready to search for your files

Before the scan begins for deleted files, you can choose to perform a deep scan. Only perform a deep scan if you are positive about what you are searching for and could not find it the first time around.

Click “Start” to begin the scan.


A pop-up will appear giving you the rundown on how long the scan will take, what Recuva is scanning and the progress of each scan.

Results of scan

When finished, another window will appear giving you the results of the scan.

Every file found will be available for you to take a look at and see what is recoverable and what is not.

Keep in mind that when you delete a file or folder on your computer, it is not necessarily deleted permanently. Until another file or folder overwrites the original after being saved, the file is still available for recovery. As long as the file is still available to be recovered, Recuva can restore it for you.

Simply click on the checkbox next to the file. If you cannot recover it, it will let you know to the right of the screen.

Checking boxes to recover files

Click “Recover.”

Where to save file for recovery

You can then choose where you want to save the file for recovery.

Recovering to same drive

A pop-up will appear asking if you want to save the file on the same drive it was deleted from.

In many cases, restoring a previously deleted file to an area it was not originally stored is the best way to actually recover the file. Rewriting the data to the same place it was deleted can cause complications. You can always recover a file or folder to a removable media drive, such as a flash drive or external hard drive to reduce the chance of failure.

When you are ready to recover the file and have chosen a place to recover it too, click “Yes” on the pop-up.

Recovery complete

If the recovery was successful, a pop-up will appear letting you know.

If it was not successful, a pop-up will also appear alerting you.

You can now open, work with and start to use the file you recovered.

At any time while using Recuva, you can open up the Advanced Mode by clicking “Switch to advanced mode” on the right-hand side of the program.

Recuva advanced mode

This gives you access to all the features the wizard does without walking through the steps to recover a file like it did.

You can choose which area to scan, how to scan, use a keyword and work with the options for Recuva.

Once you get the hang of the program through the wizard, you will become more comfortable with using Recuva in its advanced mode.

Is Recuva foolproof for file and photo recovery in Windows?

No software tasked with recovering files, photos and more is foolproof. Some files cannot be recovered because they are unreadable or overwritten. When you begin tinkering around with data recovery, you also want to learn what data recovery is all about.

This will help you understand just how the process works and how programs like Recuva can help make it easier to recover files deleted. Recuva is a great tool to recover lost files, folders and more if they are still able to be recovered.

Download Recuva.