One day you wake up, take that long drive to the office, pour a cup of coffee and boot up your PC, only to find out that you accidentally deleted a very, very important file the day before.
This is not uncommon, right? -- files are fragile things which can vanish with the click of a mouse. Most of the time, we can confide in the Recycle Bin, but sometimes, it's gone. Maybe the option is to create a new one, and lose lot's of time redoing something. Other times, well, you just cry for a bit - no way to get back what you lost. So you move on.
Recently, however, something even worse happened to me: while aumatically updating my work notebook to Windows 7 I lost all my files. I didn't had an recent backup for many, many items. Of course, critical work stuff was safe -- we use SharePoint, Mercurial, etc., so there was no immediate risk, but some files -- annotations, stuff like that -- were lost.
Having no choice other than trying to recover the files, I started looking over the net for an application that would be able to help me achieve that. You'd be surprise with the number of apps out there that intents to do exactly that. But most of those applications simply don't work... maybe because they depend on a specific API from other versions of Windows or something like that. The ones that might work are paid software with free trials available, but then the trial doesn't work and I won't pay for something I don't know if works.
I thought all was lost. Many documents, projects and personal files, all gone.
And then I stumbled upon Recuva.
The first thing to know about Recuva is that it's completely free. Indeed, you can donate money to Piriform, but that entirely up to you. This utility enables you to scan the disk for deleted files by file type, and it'll list everything it finds
The interface could have been a bit nicer, but other than that, you have all the options that a good recovery software should have. For every file it finds, it gives you a rating of "recoverability" - some files are found, but can't be recovered since it's contents are corrupt. And, of course, you can filter the list to show only recoverable files.
Recuva saved my life. It didn't do any miracles - some files were gone since the Win7 update copied over them - but those that the tool found where enough to save me hours of work. Clearly recommended.