Handy Recovery is downloadable software that is just what it says: a handy way to recover files you may have accidentally deleted. I played with it for a bit and found it capable and user friendly. You can download a free version here that works for 30 days but only allows one file recovery per day. The full version costs a fairly-typical-for-software rate of $39, though that price is much cheaper than the hundreds or even thousands it can cost for data recovery services that involve someone taking apart your hard drive. So it’s not a bad place to start to get those files you need back.
Installation is quick and easy. The interface is a standard two window viewing pane that shows folders on the left and files inside the folders on the right. The options at the top are fairly straightforward: analyze, recover, find file, filter, help, etc. So you first want to analyze your hard drive to get a full listing of files, which includes deleted files. Then you can sift through the folders just like you would if you were using My Computer to try and find files, the main different being that this listing shows deleted files as well.
I found the filter feature especially useful, which allows you to filter your file and directory listing by file type, date (creation or modification date), size, etc. If you have one file in particular you are looking for, you can use the “find file” feature to search specifically for that file (though often deleted files don’t retain the same name as the original file, but in that case you can look for it throughout the directory structure or do the filter by size/date/type).
If you don’t find what you were looking for, there’s an extended analysis feature which can be enabled. It takes much longer but looks deeper. If you’re interested, more details on the procedure are available on the software’s website or in the help menu. Incidentally, I have to say, the help section is well put together. It’s the way any good help section should be designed: organized well and not very long but still comprehensive and informative.
Bottom line: Though I recommend a good online backup solution (like Mozy, which is free), if you’re reading this, it’s likely because you are interested in your alternatives at the point of having deleted files with no backup. And Handy Recovery may be able to help.
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