How to Recover Deleted Files on Your Mac OS X

Disk Drill helps you rescue files that have been deleted. With our free file recovery Mac software, successful recovery doesn't depend on the type of disk you're using or the reason the data was lost. If you can get your Mac to recognize the disk, data file recovery is imminent.

Disk Drill's Mac file recovery software can recover data not only from native Mac OS X disks (HFS and HFS+) but also from external drives, memory cards and other devices with a FAT, FAT32 and NTFS file systems. If you need the capability for deleted file recovery on your Mac, chances are we can help.

To rescue your lost computer files, Disk Drill uses several powerful OS X file recovery techniques. The choice of which one to use is made easy - just one click of the "Recover" button and Disk Drill will run through all of the recovery options, one by one. But if you're an advanced user, you can choose the exact method you want from the Recover menu.

Read on for a quick overview of the steps. For detailed tutorials, see How to Install Disk Drill and How to Recover Lost Files with Disk Drill Basic in our Knowledgebase.

#1 Download and Install Disk Drill

Download Disk Drill, CleverFiles' Mac file recovery software. Drag and drop it to your Applications folder to install, and from your Applications folder to the Dock for easy access. Disk Drill will require your administrator password on the first launch. That's all the preparation you need.

#2 Select the Drive To Be Recovered

If you are recovering files from an external device, connect it first, then launch Disk Drill. Upon opening, Disk Drill will list all the detected disks and partitions. Click on the drive or partition you want to start file recovery from. By clicking the drop-down arrow next to the Recover button, you can see the various recovery methods available for each volume.

#3 Undelete Protected Data

The Undelete Protected Data method can be used to recover any files that were deleted when Recovery Vault or Guaranteed Recovery was active and protecting your drive. Instead of peering over your disk's sectors one by one, Disk Drill will ask Recovery Vault where to find the files, making deleted file recovery for Mac as easy as it will ever be. If you have Guaranteed Recovery enabled, Disk Drill will actually keep an invisible copy of each file you send to the trash. This recovery method is notably faster and is able to retain the filenames and locations of deleted Mac OS X files, unlike any other OS X file recovery alternative. Once enabled, this method allows for absolutely free file recovery on your Mac hard drive.

#4 Quick Scan for FAT32 and NTFS

Quick scan can be used for deleted file recovery on FAT32 and NTFS systems, as used on Windows operating systems and your typical USB flash drive. It skims the deletion records on these file systems to quickly turn up results - although not as quickly as Undelete Protected Data. If your file wasn't deleted too long ago, Quick Scan is a good way to go about file recovery.

#5 Deep Scan Any Volume for Lost Data

The Deep Scan technique works very slowly, but it is equally reliable. It turns your drive inside out, ruthlessly sniffing out deleted files. If there's any chance of saving a file, Disk Drill's Deep Scan will find it. It's the surest way to recover files on any disk or flash drive, but also tends to take a lot of time.

#6 Preview and Select Files for Recovery

At the end of the scan, Disk Drill will show a comprehensive list of all the items it was able to detect that are candidates for deleted file recovery on your Mac. You'll notice that Undelete from Recovery Vault and Quick Scan are both able to preserve old filenames and system locations, whereas Deep Scan lists them according to file type and category. Select the files you're looking for and use Preview to confirm that your files can be successfully recovered. Then upgrade to Disk Drill PRO if needed and save your selected files.

File recovery for Mac is that easy! Download our free Mac file recovery software today. It's that easy on Windows as well, thanks to our Disk Drill for Windows release.

As a result, if you accidentally delete a file, empty the Trash Can when you didn't mean to, or even run into a hardware issue, chances are very good that Disk Drill will be able to find the file using Quick or universal Scan. - Steven Sande