Even after you delete an image file from your hard drive, it's sometimes possible to recover it. This process doesn't always work, but depending on how much you've used your computer since you deleted the file, there is a good chance that the image can be recovered. This is because when you delete your image, your computer doesn't erase it from its memory. Instead, it simply allows other files to overwrite your deleted image file. If you don't install a new program, surf the web or save a document, there's a good chance your computer won't have anything new with which to overwrite your image. In cases like this, you can use special file recovery software to restore the image, allowing you to view it once more while also protecting it from future overwrites.
Open your file recovery software. If you don't already have a file recovery program, you can download and install many free of charge--including Recuva, Restoration, and NTFS Deleted File Recovery. Note that if you have the option, you should download these programs onto another computer, install them onto a flash drive, and then run them on your computer via the flash drive. These extra steps will prevent your computer from overwriting your deleted image while installing the file recovery software.
Click "Scan" and then choose the hard drive on which your image was located. If you're unsure which hard drive your image was on, choose all of them. Depending on the speed of your computer and the size of your hard drives, this process could take upwards of 15 minutes. When it's done, it will present you with a list of all the detected files that have been deleted from your computer.
Browse through the deleted files to find your image. When you find your file, check the box next to its name. Also, note the condition of your image. Ideally, it will be listed as "good" or "perfect." If it's "bad," then there's a good chance your file has been significantly overwritten and might no longer be viewable.
Click "Restore" to return the file to your hard drive. If the image was in good enough condition, you should be able to view it once again.
- folder image by Marco from Fotolia.com