When data gets deleted, be it from your Mac, PC, external storage, or a memory card, it doesn’t actually get ‘deleted’. It’s still there until it is written over by new data. If later on you realise you didn’t want to delete files or photos, or perhaps you find an old memory stick and wonder what memories it might contain, it is possible to recover the deleted data using Wondershare Recoverit software.

The process for recovering your deleted files with Recoverit is simple. You can use the software to scan your system to give an indication of whether there will be anything to recover before you pay for the full version, but that might not be necessary as there are also free versions of the software: one allows a user to recover up to 100MB data for free, the other allows retrieval of up to 10 photos for free.

We had found an old 8GB SanDisk SD card that we hadn’t used in a number of years. Relishing a trip down memory lane we decided to see what we could recover.

The memory card had a few images on it that dated back to 2015, but we were curious to find out if there were older photos still lurking there. That is where Recoverit comes in. Below we will run through the steps we took to recover our old photos.

1. Download Recoverit 8.0 and install. You don’t need to pay anything at this stage.

2. Locate the dmg file in your Downloads folder and open it. You may see a message about whether you trust the developer, confirm that you want to open and install the file. You also need to enter your password to confirm that Recoverit can make changes.

3. A webpage will open indicating that the installation was successful. Here you can see a user guide and some videos tutorials.

4. At the same time a Recoverit window opens asking you to select a location from which to start recovering files. We wanted to recover files from the SD card, so we selected that. You might want to recover files from your Home drive, or something you deleted when you emptied the Trash, or because your computer crashed. Recoverit should be able to help you with all of these scenarios as long as the data was originally stored on your drive, not in iCloud for example. With No Name selected we can then click Start to begin scanning.

5. Immediately Recoverit will start scanning. You will see an indication of progress and time remaining. Our 8GB memory card took about 20 minutes to scan, expect to be waiting a lot longer for the software to scan a larger drive.

6. As it scans you will start to see previews appearing. If you see a preview of a file you can be certain you will be able able to recover it. There will also be some files without a preview, this could indicate that those files have been overwritten and corrupted, but it may also be that the file is too large to generate a preview - there is a 15MB limit - so don’t give up hope just yet.

7. Eventually you will hear a chime to indicate that the scan has finished and you will see a message “Scan completed!” telling you how many files have been found.

8. Look through what Recoverit has found. Click on File Path to jump to the relevant folder, or look through previews of all the Jpgs that have been located by choosing File Type > JPG. You may see a preview of the photos you were looking for.

9. Recoverit can also locate video files. If you are searching for data on your Mac, Windows PC or another external storage device or SSD, Recoverit can locate all sorts of different files, including Word and Excel documents, audio files, and much more.

10. The next step is to try and recover a file or two. As we said above, you can use Recoverit in trial mode to scan the files to determine whether the ones you want can be located. The main benefit of trial mode is that you can tell if you will be able to recover anything before you pay. Once you are sure that your files are recoverable, the full version of Recoverit costs $49.95 for Windows or $79.95 for Mac, if you are attempting to recover data from a Mac or PC that won’t boot up then you need Recoverit Ultimate for $99.95. If you buy before 15th July 2019 you can get 50% off with this code: SENLWD05.

11. Recoverit suggests that you don’t recover the files to the original drive (since there may be issues with it). We also suggest that you don’t start recovering lots of files to your Mac if you don’t have a humongous hard drive, an external drive might be safer if you don’t want to risk running out of space. We plugged in an external drive and choose that as the destination.

12. Having found the files you want to attempt to recover, or located the folder in which you expect the files to be, select those files, of the folder, and click on Recover. In the Save As: field it generate a file name including the date and time, but you could change it to something more meaningful for you.

13. Now you will have to wait again while the files are recovered. It took about an hour and a half when to recover everything on our 8GB drive, but if you are recovering just a few files it would take less time. If you were recovering a 1TB hard drive it would take a lot longer.

14. Once the recovery is finished you will see a pop up window announcing how many files have been recovered and also a note explaining why any files may not have been recovered. Recoverit should be able to recover even corrupted files. If recovery doesn’t work it may be due to the drive being unplugged, if there is something abnormal about the file, or if it includes a special symbol such as &.

Now that you have your recovered files saved to the external drive you can open any that have been fully recovered. We found an extensive collection of photos from a Christmas party in 2014 that we couldn’t see previously.

Recoverit 8 was released in May 2019. It brings a redesigned user interface that simplifies the process by which files are recovered - so now you only need to scan your system once to find your files. Scanning is much faster and you’ll see bigger preview boxes, helping you see exactly what you can recover, and once you decide to recover the files the recovery time is quicker than previously. For details, click here.