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How to recover accidentally deleted files

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more or less I will tell you how a hard rive and delete works, but it goes as such:

at the start of the hard drive (that space on the drive that is not accessible and as said by the manufacturer 'pre-installed software'), there is a 'table of contents', it is easiest to say, on this table is every file in your hard drive, with it's space on the hard drive, and on the computer(ie. what folder it is in). Now when you delete a certain file on the hard drive (to the recycle bin), all that changes on this table is the location, ie. C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\file.exe to Recycle Bin\file.exe (or wherever recycle bin is), if you shift+delete, or when you empty the recycle bin, all that is done is the address of the file on the computer is deleted from the table, and Windows/Linux/OSX consider it free space.

now comes the hard part... your file may or may not still be there. due to factors like putting new files onto the computer, and defragmenting your computer, the files may be gone... this is why: when the file is deleted, the data is actually not, it's binary values on the hard drive, and address on the hard drive are still present on the hard drive, that is until they are written over. this is done when new files are put onto the computer, all of which want to be 'first in line' on the hard drive. so if files are added to the computer the old binary data can be wiped off the hard drive, meaning the files can not be recovered.

as for recovering files, yes you will have to use software to do that.