How to Recover Deleted Files from Network Shares

You may have discovered—and too late—that while you can recover some deleted files from the Windows Recycle Bin on local machines, you cannot recover deleted files from network drive shared folders. If you delete a file from a network share, it is gone. If you look in the Recycle Bin, it won’t be there.

This happens because Windows is organized so that deleted files can be captured by the Windows Recycle bin on local drives only. If a user deletes a file on a server from a network shared folder, it isn’t being deleted from the local machine, so the Recycle Bin does not capture it. This is also true of files deleted from attached or removable drives, and files deleted from applications or the Command Prompt. Only files deleted from File Explorer on a machine’s local drive will be saved by the Recycle Bin.

Realistic Recovery Options?

With some types of software, you might be able to recover an earlier saved version of a file deleted from a network shared folder, which would give you the version prior to the deletion. Failing this, the only other way to recover a file deleted from a network share (without a third-party solution—see below) is to have your system administrator retrieve an earlier saved version of the file from the most recent backup. This will only work if:

a) A version of the file was actually backed up
b) You can recall the file name so that the system administrator can find it
c) You can recall with some accuracy the time and date when the file was saved.

This method is, of course, extremely time consuming for the sys admin—and for you, too, if you have to wait. Even if the previous version can be retrieved, any work done on the file since the last save is lost forever.

What’s the Best Way to Recover Files Deleted from a Network Drive?

Fortunately, there is a very easy and cost-effective solution to this perpetual issue: Undelete® Instant Data Recovery software from Condusiv.

1. To permanently solve this problem site-wide, download and install Undelete Server, which is extremely fast and simple, and doesn’t require a reboot to complete the installation (something you really don’t want to have to do on a server running databases or applications requiring constant uptime).

2. Following installation, the first thing you’ll notice is that the Windows Recycle Bin has been replaced by the Undelete Recovery Bin. The Recovery Bin will not only capture files deleted from network shares, but also files overwritten on the user’s drive, files deleted between backups, and files deleted from the Command Prompt.

3. Test it for yourself. Create a test file within a network drive shared folder and delete it. You’ll see that your file has, as you would expect, disappeared from the server as well.

4. Open the Undelete Recovery Bin. You’ll be able to easily navigate to the shared folder from which you deleted the file—and there you’ll find it again. (if you are not an Admin, see Undelete Client below)

5. You can then select that file and recover it back to its original location, or even to a new location.

6. You’re done! That’s how easy it is.

You can also watch this video by a Condusiv engineer showing you how to use the Undelete Recovery Bin on your file servers.

Users Can Recover Their Own Deleted Files from Network Shares

The above example demonstrates a user opening Undelete Server on the respective server to recover the file. Users, however, may not have access to the server, but a system administrator can certainly log on and open Undelete Server to recover the file.

However, once Undelete is installed on a system, a user can open Undelete on the remote Network Share, follow the above steps, and view and recover their own files.

How to Get Started With Undelete Server

The best way is to purchase an annual subscription of Undelete Server. Each Server subscription comes with unlimited Client licenses to allow your users to recover their own deleted files from network shares (users only have access to their own files.)

You also have the option to trial Undelete free for 30 days. Note that the Undelete trial is not for use in recovering files that have already been deleted. To recover files that have already been deleted requires the use of the Emergency Undelete feature included in the paid version of the software.

Honestly, for the price of just $200/server/year it just makes the most sense to buy it now. 50,000+ organizations use Undelete, from government agencies to universities to small business, you can rely on Undelete.