Windows and Mac computers deal with deleted data very differently. But with both types of machine it’s important to follow the correct approach if you want to recover your data successfully.
File and Folder Recovery on Windows Machines
There a two main filesystems used by computers that run Windows – the older FAT32 system and the more widespread NTFS. Because of the way these two filesystems work, recovering deleted data from machines that run Windows is often far more straightforward and successful than it would be on a Mac.
Deleting data on a Windows machine doesn’t actually erase the file (even if you empty it from the Recycle Bin). It simply erases a pointer that tells Windows where the file is located on the hard disk, and marks the area of the disk occupied by the file as being no longer in use. The last part of that sentence is important because it means Windows believes it’s no longer necessary to protect the disk space occupied by the file from being overwritten by other programs, and therefore Windows assumes that it can use this disk space.
So long as the data you wish to recover isn’t overwritten you stand a good chance or recovering it. You can use software to recover it but make sure you follow the instructions here to give yourself the best chance of success.
Did You Know? Windows machines write to the hard disk constantly – even if you think the machine is just sitting idle. If you’ve deleted valuable data it’s a good idea to switch the machine off straight away and work out your approach for recovering the data.
Recovering Deleted Data on Mac’s
Many of us use Macs these days. I used Windows and it’s MS-DOS predecessors for over 20 years. I moved to a Mac in about 2010 and the first question I asked myself was “What took me so long?”. Be that as it may, if you delete data on your Mac and empty the trash the chances of recovering your data are significantly smaller than they would be if you were using a Windows machine.
Again it comes down the way the filesystems operate. Mac’s like to keep your files and folders tidy and optimized – this is great for speed but not so good when you delete a file or folder.
The best advice on what to do if you delete data from your Mac is the same as it is for Windows systems: Switch the machine off and consider the best approach for recovering the data using file recovery software.
Are you stuck how to proceed? – Ask me for help.