This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Wondershare. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author, who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
As long as I have been using computers, since 1983, I have faced this problem: Suddenly your file is gone. You need it back and have no way of doing so. Either you deleted it by accident, forgot to save it, or your just can’t find it no matter what search terms you use. Either way, it’s gone.
I learned long ago that these files aren’t really gone. It was once explained to me that our hard drives are like old record albums. When we save a file it spins around and finds space on the record album. When we delete files, they aren’t really deleted even though they say they are. They’re really still on that record album but are hidden. They stay there until they are overwritten by new files. That’s what makes it possible to recover lost files, as long as they haven’t been overwritten.
Recently I had the opportunity to try Wondershare Data Recovery a software that makes itself useful by recovering those files you think are gone but really aren’t.
Download and Install
Not only does Wondershare save your life by providing you a way to get back what you thought you had lost, it’s incredibly easy to use. The version I used is for Mac, although it also works on Windows as well.
After you purchase Wondershare, you’ll be sent an email that will contain the download link as well as a registration code. Go to the link, provide your email and the code, and your download will start.
Opening the file that is downloaded, it will provide you a dialog box with icons for the software and your Applications folder. Simply drag the software icon into the Applications icon. You can now access the software in Launcher.
When you first open Wondershare Data Recovery, you receive a dialog box asking you to sign into your hard drive since it is making changes to it. It will ask you to do this every time you open it.
You will then be presented with a screen to direct you towards where you want to go. Listed are four choices:
Lost File Recovery – Recovery files that were deleted, emptied from your trash, or lost through formatting or a corrupted partition.
Raw Recovery A thorough in-depth search that delves deep into your device but doesn’t include original names or the folder structure.
Partition Recovery – After searching a partition, use this to recover lost files.
Resume Recovery – Resume a previous recovery session.
Lost File Recovery Attempt
I’ve been looking for an old draft of a book I was working on on a computer I had before my current Mac Mini. I don’t think it ever made it onto this hard drive, but I thought it was worth a try. So I clicked on “Lost File Recovery”.
You then need to select the drive or device you wish to search. In my case I only had my hard drive available to me at this point.
You can also select what types of files you want to search: Image, Video, Audio, Document, Archive, and Email. I just selected Document.
Additionally, there is an option to enable a deep scan which allows you to go much deeper into the archives: Enable “Deep Scan”. For my first attempt I didn’t select it, knowing it would take longer.
The program takes you to another screen where it scans your hard drive and then presents you with the results.
Deep Scan Attempt
I didn’t get very many results at all other than very recent files, so I chose to repeat the process with the deep scan.
Raw Recovery Attempt
But I still didn’t find what I was looking for with the deep scan, so I decided to try the Raw Recovery. Going through that is very much the same process as Lost File Recovery. The main difference is that it takes much longer. MUCH longer.
At the bottom of the screen I chose to only have it search for deleted files knowing that would speed up the process. I knew what I was looking for had been deleted, so there was no sense in searching through what was currently available.
I clicked on Filter Options where I was able to first select the type of file I was searching for – Image, Video, Audio, Document, Archive, and Email – and chose Document. Additionally, there is an option of narrowing down the specific disk region you want it to search through. You can choose a starting and ending sector. Since I had no idea where this file could have been located, I chose not to change these settings.
It then searched through the hard drive much the same way it did in Lost File Recovery. However, it took a very long time. It estimated it would take over eight hours to complete its search. Through no other fault than this being a very old Mac Mini that has a bug in it somewhere that causes everything to take far too long, it actually took two whole days. But again, I believe if this were a healthier Mac that it would have truly taken the eight hours that it promised it would.
It provided a lot of results. The problem is there are no original titles with these files, so it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for. I poured over much of the data that it uncovered but was finding old things that I’d deleted for a reason. I was also finding old files of my daughter’s. She’s another user of this Mac.
Flash Drive Lost File Recovery Attempt
I realized that Wondershare Data Recovery doesn’t just search hard drives and partitions. It also searches flash drives, removable hard drives, digital cameras, and memory cards. I know at one point I had the files for that book I was looking for backed up to a flash drive. When I went through it recently, I’d found that someone else, probably my daughter, had deleted that and all the other things I had stored on there and replaced it with their own files.
So I inserted the flash drive into my Mac’s USB slot and directed Wondershare to search through it with the Lost File Recovery. It works just the same as if you are searching your hard drive.
And because it’s so much smaller than a hard drive, the search was much quicker. I had my results in seconds.
And there in all their glory were the files for the book that I had been searching for. There were many more things as well that had long been lost and forgotten. This had been deleted at least a few years ago, yet all I needed was the Lost File Recovery to find it. I didn’t even need the Raw File Recovery.
At this point you can save the recovered data. However, it will not allow you to recover it to the same drive where it was found, so I saved it to the hard drive. I then copied it to the iCloud Drive so that I could access the files on my iPad and so that there was another backup for them.
Without a doubt, Wondershare does what it says it will. Wondershare Data Recovery actually found files that I had been looking for for years, files that were long deleted off a computer and off a flash drive.
If you are searching for files that were long ago deleted or even recently deleted, Wondershare Data Recovery is a worthwhile option for retrieving them. Although, if you have to resort to Raw Recovery, you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it or not, as it could take you a long time to go through all the files one by one. But if it’s something easily found with Lost File Recovery, it would definitely be worth the price, time, and effort put into it.
Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.