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If you’re using a Windows computer, you’re familiar with the concept of the Recycle Bin. It seems pretty simple and straightforward: you delete a file from your PC, and it goes into the Recycle Bin for storage. Once you’ve deleted it from the Recycle Bin, however, your file is gone for good. Or is it . . . ? See what truly happens when your files are cleared out from the Recycle Bin.
At some point in our careers, we have all had that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that comes when you accidentally delete a file. If it is a file that was stored locally on your computer, you can simply scoot over to the Windows Recycle Bin and quickly restore the file. Whew! Crisis averted. However, what if you deleted a critical file from your Recycle Bin before it could be restored? You may have thought that all hope was lost. The good news is that there may still be a way to recover the missing file.
Computers have been programmed to be as efficient as possible. This means that they’ll overwrite files that the user has indicated are no longer relevant, such as items that have been deleted from your Recycle Bin. However, these files are not written over immediately — they are simply marked in such a way that the operating system knows it can now utilize that space for saving new information. That may sound a bit confusing, but what it boils down to is that the files that were emptied from your Recycle Bin may still be available.
Perhaps the best way to think about the state of your files is to consider what happens when you throw away a piece of paper. First, you put it into your trash can at your desk or in a common area. You can still go get that piece of paper (although it may take a bit of searching!). Next, that trash is emptied into a larger trashcan or dumpster. Again, you can still go retrieve the piece of paper that you tossed. Finally, that trash is then picked up by a garbage truck and taken to a dump where it is burned. This is similar to what happens when a deleted file is overwritten by another piece of information. That’s the time when your file is finally “gone” and can no longer be retrieved.
As you can see, even deleting items from your Recycle Bin is not the final step in their lifecycle. If you have recently deleted something that you need — don’t despair! If you have trouble you can always contact your Colorado Springs computer networking company.