Recovering deleted files using PhotoRec


PhotoRec is a free open source multi-platform application. It is file data recovery software designed to recover lost files from Media Disks. PhotoRec ignores the file system and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media’s file system has been severely damaged or re-formatted.

It supports nearly 180 file formats. You can see the entire list here to check if the file you are trying to recover is supported.

It runs across platforms and is available for the following OS

  • Dos/Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista
  • Linux
  • BSD
  • Sun Solaris
  • Mac OS

It supports the following filesystem:



PhotoRec is part of the package testdisk []. So Linux users may have it already installed or available. It can be downloaded from here

Steps during recovery

Step 1: Disk Selection
Select the disk you want to recover data from.

Step 2: Partition table selection
Select the partition table. Usually auto-detected.

Step 3: Partition selection
Select the partition and search.
Or Modify options see[step 4]
Or Modify File Opt see[step 5]

Step 4: Select Options
Select various options from paranoid [default], it recovers and files verified. invalid get rejected. You can also enable low memory mode if system has low resources. Or even use Enable bruteforce to recover fragmented files.

Step 5: Select file formats to recover
Here you can select from a list of formats which ones you want to recover.

Step 6: Select the filesystem of disk
Here you can select the filesystem. If not Ext2/Ext3 select Other for FAT/NTFS/ReiserFS/HFS+

Step 7: Carve PArtion or unallocated space
Select the whole partition for corrupted media partitions
Unallocated space for recovery of deleted files.

Step 8: Set destination of recovered files
Here you set the location where the recovered files need to be saved.

Once the above steps are done You can start the recovery. The screen will display progress of the recovery and on completion a report of number of files recovered.

PhotoRec is a great way to recover deleted media. Hoping however no one deletes accidentally precious data.

TIP: Data recovery consumes system resources in abundant, so do disable/exit other programs during the process.
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  • abhaymishra says:

    You can alternatively use Stellar Phoenix XFS Data Recovery, completely intuitive interface and easy to adapt features that lets you easily recover whatever you’ve had lost or deleted accidentally.

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