You can use Windows' Previous Versions feature in some versions of Vista, and all versions of Windows 7 to restore any file that you accidently deleted, or changed, from a drive that you had that feature turned-on. On your C: drive, it is automatically turned-on, unless you turned System Protection and System Restore off.
You can recover your deleted data from your PC or hard drive as long as you have not put new data on the same drives to overwritten it. Have your rewritten the original data?
To restore your deleted data, you should try a hard drive recovery tool for free. This free one can easily recover the original data back from a hard drive and memory card after accidental deletion or format. At least, it successfully recovered the trip photos and job files of my friend from a WD flash drive. It is worth a shot. Important note: Since the rewritten data can be erased forever, you should avoid saving data to rewrite the original data.
In case of similar recovery problem, you should keep your data backed up regularly on different drives in the future.
Open Computer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Computer.
Navigate to the folder that used to contain the file or folder, right-click it, and then click Restore previous versions. If the folder was at the top level of a drive, for example C:\, right-click the drive, and then click Restore previous versions.
You'll see a list of available previous versions of the file or folder. The list will include files saved on a backup (if you are using Windows Backup to back up your files) as well as restore points, if both types are available.
Well actually Windows Previous version is just accessing MFT data that hasn't been recycled yet.
Eventually, incremental MFT logs will be bumped making the file innaccessible to Windows previous version.
It's also posisble to overwrite the file before the MFT data accessible through Windows Previous version is masked/deleted.
But Danny is ultimately right, if you know you delete something you shouldn't have, you're first recourse should be to attempt the method he described.
Previous versions are either copies of files and folders created by Windows Backup or copies of files and folders that Windows automatically saves as part of a restore point. You can use previous versions to restore files and folders that you accidentally modified or deleted, or that were damaged. Depending on the type of file or folder, you can open, save to a different location, or restore a previous version.
It doesn't actually "recover" the data from trying to read the drive; It does Restore the saved files, which is vastly different. Yes, if you delete restore points, you will delete those previous versions of those files also, so yes, eventually the file would be deleted. However it has absolutely nothing to do with using or reusing the disk space. It won't get overwritten no matter how much you use the hard drive. It is saved until you actually delete the restore points and such.
Microsoft is lying to you!
No just kidding, we're not disagreeing actually. You're just describing what's happening(or supposed to happen) on the OS level, and i'm describing what's going on on the File System Level.
Restore points aren't actaully copies of the file and folder data they are incremental modifications to the MFT that reserve the logical location of specified files regardless of future deletion.
This is how it's supposed to work, but restore point corruption isn't exactly uncommon and it typically happens as a result of corrupted MFT data.
There's no actually reserved directory on your drives where those files are literally stored as a second copy, the first copy still exists on the logical sectors it was written to originally, that's just transparent to the user. The restore point is the process by which windows rebuilds the MFT data and restores user access.
Of course, Back ups are a separate issue entirely and microsoft's support site doesn't do anyone a great service by lumping them into to the same sentence.
If you backup onto a different physical media, then certainly a real second copy exists there. that's very different then an undeletion certainly.
But don't take the points of dissension from me too seriously, we're ultimately agreeing on the OP's best course of action.