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Restoring Old Files with system restore?

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by NiklasNiklas, Dec 16, 2011.

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  1. NiklasNiklas

    NiklasNiklas Thread Starter

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    Hello,
    I recently lost some files, so I did a system restore to a date that the files were intact to retrieve them. However, while the programs on the computer are now correctly set back to the system restore date, the files in question are still missing (at least partially). I'm curious is there exists a way to restore not the applications and system settings, but simply to restore old files, or if it's too late at this point.
    I suspect if I went to a professional they would be able to work some magic to restore the actual files, but it wouldn't be a standard procedure, and I don't have the funds right now to do so.

    In more detail:
    I had XAMPP installed so I could do local testing before putting websites I was working on online. As such, the folder in which I kept all my local data for web development work was within XAMPP's 'htdocs' folder, which is where the local files needed to be stored so that apache and php could utilize them.
    However, since the install of XAMPP, i'd been having issues getting Apache to run - it worked occasionally, but would usually quit after a second of running each time I started it (that's a whole other issue though). In any case, because I couldn't figure out why Apache wasn't working in my XAMPP install, I decided, 'screw it, I'll give WampServer a try instead, and proceeded to uninstall XAMPP then restart the computer to get a clean slate before installing WAMP.
    Of course, I foolishly spaced the fact that all my local web development files were stored in the XAMPP files, and they were all deleted during the uninstall. Very stupid!
    So I proceeded to do a system restore to about 24 hours ago (the most recent system restore point). It seemed fine at first, until I tried to get my old web dev files back: I went to the htdocs folder in my now-restored XAMPP folder, but the old files were not intact!
    It seems that while XAMPP is back on my computer, all the files that were deleted during the initial uninstall were not restored. Specifically, and I can't for the life of me figure out why this would be, but the only parts that remained were the file structure (all the old folders where there, but not many of the files within them), Javascript files, and favicon image files. Everything else is still missing.

    So.... here's the question.. is there a way, within windows, to actually restore all those old files? Or due to the sequence in which the uninstall of XAMPP then the restore went, is it too late?

    thank you muchly for any help!
     
  2. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    System Restore points have nothing to do with your data files.

    Try a data recovery program, such as Recuva Portable. The more you use your system the more likely that the deleted files will be overwritten.
     
  3. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    System Restore and file shadow copies are combined in Windows 7. Every file that is moved is copied by Windows 7 into a shadow copy, and restore points are comprised of shadow copies of all the system files.

    Shadow Explorer installs a file system driver that can access all files for which shadow copies exist, even on those versions of 7 that have no "Previous Versions" ability but still create shadow copies. There are copies of every file that System Restore created. You can pick a restore point from the drop-down menu and find any previous copies of files that may be on your drive, as well as previous copies of the registry and anything else backed up by System Restore or the shadow copy service when a file was moved or deleted.

    It is files being moved (and thus deleted from one spot after being copied to another) that causes drive space to shrink so dramatically after defragging if a program that is not shadow-copy-aware is used. Every moved file is backed up.
     
  4. NiklasNiklas

    NiklasNiklas Thread Starter

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    IT WORKED!!!!

    I used Recuva for a while, which allowed me to get back a good amount of the missing files, although some were damaged. After that I tried out ShadowExplorer, which, amazingly, enabled me to find all of the files that I'd mistakenly deleted! So far as I can tell they're all back and not compromised.
    Awesome, thanks so much guys! Much appreciated.
     
  5. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    You're welcome. :) And thanks, Elvandil. I did not know that shadow copies remained after file deletion.

    You can mark this solved using the [​IMG] button at the upper left of the page.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Actually, a shadow copy is created at each deletion. Since moving is really a copy and then a delete, moved files are also backed up. That leaves you with the ironic truth that deleted files are among the easiest to recover. :D
     
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