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PC Inspector File Recovery: “Magically” Unerase Deleted Files

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Published on November 22nd, 2005
Category: Utilities

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Imagine this scenario: There is a cracker (also known as a bad hacker) who has been stealing Internet access from open, unencrypted wireless networks in Manhattan. The FBI and CIA have been trying to track him for months to no avail. The cracker uses these wireless networks to facilitate his dark activities like stealing account information and transferring huge amounts of money into his bank account in Geneva, Switzerland, where his money is safe from the US government. One day, as he is quietly and unassumingly doing some routine criminal activities using the Starbucks Wifi network, he notices customers in Starbucks who are staring at him. He tries to play it cool and pretends not to notice. But in his head, he’s is certain that they have finally got him. Calmly, he performs a number of keystrokes on his laptop to run a program that deletes all the data so that there will be no evidence. The undercover agents carry out their operation and apprehend the criminal.

But will there be enough evidence to convict him? He did delete all of his data before they took him into custody.


There may be enough evidence to convict him. Though he did delete all of the data, there are ways to recover it if he did not delete it a certain way. To understand this, one must understand how most file systems work.

A hard disk can be likened to a book. There is a table of contents at the beginning and the actual chapters in the body. The table of contents is like the file system index. This is where the list of file and the locations on the disk are stored. If the computer needs “asdf.txt,” it looks in the file system index for the location. Then it reads the data from the location.

Deleting data on the disk is just like scratching out an entry in the table of contents. Though it does not show in the table of contents, the chapter still exists. Until the pages of the chapter are torn out, it will still be there. When deleting a file, all the computer does is scratch out the entry in the file system index. It is still on the hard drive somewhere but it is just harder to find. The data will stay there until the computer overwrites it when it needs the space.

Because of this, it is fairly easy to “unerase” deleted files. There is only one free file recovery software that I know that can read from FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS file systems (all Windows Operating Systems), PC Inspector File Recovery. It is very easy to use. Basically, you select a drive that has your deleted file and just search for it in the deleted directory tree. It displays each deleted file on the hard drive and the condition that it is in. All conditions other than good mean that there is not enough data to completely recover the file.

There is even a search function for deleted files.

Clearly, it is easy to recover data from a hard disk. Consequently, extra measures MUST be taken when deleting classified data or when selling a computer or a hard disk. Watch for my next article on how to do this!


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52 Responses to “PC Inspector File Recovery: “Magically” Unerase Deleted Files”

  1. thewebguy Says:

    woulda helped me a few months ago, but awesome find nonetheless ;D

  2. me Says:

    “magic” only in circus

    dumb hacker, knows how to get into other people’s banks
    and can’t figure out dod erasing methods?
    deserves to have the book thrown at it, literally.

  3. Sven Black Says:

    I’ve used this program before, it’s quite outstanding and free. While I was building my website we suffered a severe crash and everything was wiped out. We had considered using one of the very expensive data retrieval companies but took a chance and used PC Inspector. We got back about 90% of the data and saved ourselves months of reworking.

  4. PvUtrix Says:

    Thx! Very nice freeware program

  5. Blogging Around the Clock!! » Blog Archive » Freeware that Recovers Deleted Files in NTFS and FAT12/16/32 Partitions !! Says:

    [...] “Magically” unerase files that were emptied from the recycle bin. Click Here.. [...]

  6. asdf Says:

    wow

  7. Gath Says:

    If this is the “only one free file recovery software that [you] know that can read from FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS file systems” than you haven’t really searched very hard. I’ve searched a few months back and found several but the best and simplest was ‘Restoration’. It’s a small app that doesn’t require an install, just put it on a floppy and go. More info at
    http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,23108,00.asp
    and
    http://www3.telus.net/mikebike/RESTORATION.html.

  8. jessiegrey Says:

    Sweet

  9. Regelian Gray Says:

    I need this

  10. jessiegrey Says:

    Awesome

  11. Regelian Gray Says:

    where can I get this

  12. duh Says:

    Why did my post get erased?

  13. Anon E. Mouse Says:

    I have tried this and it works but NOT if you delete a directory. If you delete a directory, you can get the directory back but there are NO files in it. Unfortunately, when I delete stuff, I usually delete the entire directory and this makes the program fairly useless to me.

  14. silencer Says:

    I used this last January after my 120 gig FAT32 drive somehow got erased. It recovered nearly all the data–including nested directories, amazingly, so I dunno what happened to Anon E. Mouse there. Perhaps his had already been overwritten.

  15. Joe Says:

    Wow, this will kick but. I help people when their SC101’s fail here at Netgear. SC101=Network Storage Unit. I’ll point them here for this handy tool.

  16. Douglas Garcia Says:

    gostaria de mais detalhes sobre programa de recuperao
    obrigado

  17. Fábio Says:

    Quero fazer o download

  18. Adriano Says:

    Quero testar o programa

  19. ceeeeeto Says:

    quero testar o programa

  20. Marcello Aguiar Says:

    Very good

  21. freire Says:

    where can i get it?

  22. will Says:

    Vamos ver c é bom mesmo

  23. ssk8erboyy Says:

    I want this software

  24. bruno Says:

    Quero ver isso

  25. Chris Says:

    How can I get a copy of this program?

  26. JOHN BARTLETT Says:

    Deleted files from two floppys before realizing they were the wrong ones to delete. PC Inspector saved my bacon. Thanks.

  27. avinash Says:

    i cant get back my files

  28. Kiltak Says:

    Yeah, PCinspector does a marvelous job for some HD crash also.. I wrote about it a bit a few days ago : http://geeksaresexy.blogspot.com/2005/12/hard-drive-recovery-utilities-when-you.html

  29. PC Inspector File Recovery: “Magically” Unerase Deleted Files - the freeware review — 10100.org Archive Says:

    [...] PC Inspector File Recovery: “Magically” Unerase Deleted Files - the freeware review Imagine this scenario: There is a cracker (also known as a bad hacker) who has been stealing Internet access from open, unencrypted wireless networks in Manhattan. The FBI and CIA have been trying to track him for months to no avail. The cracker uses these wireless networks to facilitate his dark activities like stealing account information and transferring huge amounts of money into his bank account in Geneva, Switzerland, where his money is safe from the US government. One day, as he is quietly and unassumingly doing some routine criminal activities using the Starbucks Wifi network, he notices customers in Starbucks who are staring at him. He tries to play it cool and pretends not to notice. But in his head, he’s is certain that they have finally got him. Calmly, he performs a number of keystrokes on his laptop to run a program that deletes all the data so that there will be no evidence. The undercover agents carry out their operation and apprehend the criminal. [...]

  30. vince Says:

    Thank you! I deleted a bunch of pictures I needed on accident, and all the other unerase programs were like $70!!! Thanks again.

    -Vince-

  31. Zui-Art » 用免费代替盗版! Says:

    [...] un-erase that file : PC Inspector File Recovery [...]

  32. Martinq Says:

    At the moment I’m waiting for this nice programme to scan all my clusters. I stupidly formatted my harddrive, after I thought that I had backed up everything. However, I only backed up half of what I need. All the other programs I find until now are crappy expensive!!! I really hope this will do the job. Especially, since a CHKDSK has been performed and since a new Windows was put on top (installation was aborted).

  33. ste Says:

    thanks if it works

  34. Brian Says:

    The program doesn’t appear to do anything. I’m worried that it may be some trojan horse or something. I tried to find some data that had been deleted somehow (maybe a virus??) and the program couldn’t find any deleted files on an entire drive. Then I moved a directory to another drive as a test - it couldn’t see any of those moved files that had been deleted on that drive. It also doesn’t work on a Netgear SC 101 as one guy above hoped it would. I see no use for this program and am worried that I tried it.

  35. rosa lima Says:

    Gostaria de saber se esse programa de recuperação de arquivos pode procurar meu outlook express que eu deletei? Por favor me ajudem…

    Obrigada,

    Atenciosamente,

    Rosa Lima…

  36. redsky Says:

    is this restore file from chk file? file detect by scandisk.

  37. ashwin Says:

    i have tried this version of file recovery but nothing seems to work. i have deleated some ms word and ms exel files by mistake and i could not get back these files using pc inspector..

    please give me some tips how to use it.

  38. anjumanju Says:

    i already use this pc inspector but nothing to be recoverd. unfortunetly i deleat my desktop folder which was save in my c drive on root. i was so upset on that time i read the newspaper than i got one recovery centre address in nehru place. when i came there they gave me some time for testing and recovery. when i check my data i feel very happy to see my data in a particular folder. i give you the website:www.hdrconline.com i am sure your not loss your confidence here you get back your data 100%.

    best regards

  39. Ravi Says:

    Hi,

    today we shift+delete the mpeg file and system also shutdown,is it possible to get back the file

  40. Rhiannon Says:

    Thank you so much, the only problem is - I am trying to recover 1500 music files. Do you have any idea on how to change the file names to the original names rather then the numbers?

  41. Jimbo Says:

    I am using version 4 now in XP and 98. This thing is buggy but it does the job. Memory leaks and wont close without killing in task manager, but wow! It picked out files and folders that I couldn’t find in a bunch of other programs. You really need to practice with this before you have an emergency though.

    I had saved a bunch out of one HD to another, then proceeded to use Darik’s to wipe the infected one invoking “autonuke” only to find it wipes ALL DRIVES! I pulled the power down and of course drives were gone and needed to be reinstalled by the installation diskettes before Bios could even find them. PCInspector brought back 70% of the data even after wiping the boot sector,FAT and partition info, then repartition and reformats!

  42. Ka-Z Says:

    Hi wats up yall…i accidentally deleted a folder u can say which had a big iso file in…well i usedrecuva but in vain…and plz help help me with this one…cant use it

  43. Grześ Says:

    When you delete your files using 4Neurons Eraser ( http://www.4neurons.com/Eraser/ ) you can\’t recover them using such programs like this.

  44. Zia Says:

    I used PC Inspector File Recovery to recover data from crashed hard disks and damaged floppy disks and so far it is the only software that worked.
    Of course the disks have not to be so damaged that only a miracle can make them readable.

  45. Andrew Ross Says:

    I used a Disk Doctors Undelete Software.Its fantastic! I also used it with my old formatted hard drive by plugging into my PC.It can recover data even from old, corrupted,damaged and reformatted hard drives.Isn’t it awesome?

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