Recover Lost and Deleted Files on PC and Mac

Anyone who has used a computer has likely been in a situation where they suddenly realise that a file they needed to keep has been deleted or lost on their computer. An easy way to avoid the panic this can cause is to keep a copy of Stellar Data Recovery installed on your PC or Mac. Stellar is free software that allows you to recover many different file types in a very simple process.

Download and install the free version of Stellar Data Recovery from The software is available for Windows Vista, XP, 7, 8 8.1 and 10, and also for macOS 10.7 and above.

Once installed, double-click the Stellar icon to start the software. It will open on the main interface. Start by choosing the type of file or files you want to find and recover. If you are trying to recover a specific lost/deleted file, this should be simple. But if you don’t know the file type, or if there are multiple files you want to recover, select the All Data option. When this is done, click the Next button to continue.

You will now be asked to choose where you want to recover the files from. Common locations include Desktop and the Documents folder, or you can choose another specific file location. This refers to where the files were before they were lost, not where you think the files are currently residing. You can also choose to scan the entire connected hard drive or drives, if you are not sure where the files were lost from.

When you choose to scan a connected drive, you will see an additional Deep Scan option appear. A deep scan, as the name suggests is a more thorough scan of the drive. This will certainly take longer to perform, so might be better being used only if the initial scan fails to find your files.

Click the Scan button to begin the process. Depending on the location you chose to scan, this can take anything from a few seconds to several minutes to complete.

When the scan finishes a popup window will show you how many files have been scanned and how many have been found. Close the popup and you can view the files found.

Use the tabs at the top of the left-hand panel to view by file type, tree view or to see deleted files. If you see the file you want to recover in one of these views, make sure that it is checked and then click the Recover button. If you are having problems identifying your file, use the Preview slider to enable a small preview window.

If you are looking for a file that you think was deleted, look in the deleted list. You may be told that to see deleted files you need to do a deep scan first. If so, you can click “Yes” or you can click the Deep Scan link at the bottom of the file list window.

The software won’t let you recover files to their original location, in case it inadvertently overwrites a file you need. You will therefore need to have another drive available, or a USB flash drive handy to plug in to your computer. When you click the Recover button, you will have to browse to a destination drive, and then click Start Saving.

The free version of Stellar Data Recovery allows you to recover a total of 1GB of files. If you need to recover more than this, you will need to upgrade to the pro version.

Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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