Can you actually recover photos you deleted by accident?

·4 min read

Some of the products written about here are offered in affiliation with AOL. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

Search and recover, recover photos
Lost all your photos? Not all hope is lost. It's possible to recover photos. (Photo: Getty)

It’s that stomach-sinking moment when you realize you’ve accidentally deleted years’ worth of family photos from your PC, and they weren’t backed up anywhere. Or maybe someone else in your household did the deed on purpose to create more hard drive space, and they didn’t quite grasp the concept of cloud storage.

Either way, those irreplaceable memories from vacations and holidays and birthdays are gone forever…or are they? If you’re wondering (breathlessly) whether deleted photos can actually be recovered, you have permission to exhale: yes, it’s possible to get them back.

Search and Recover is a much relied-upon software package that works overtime to hunt down lost files, scanning your PC and finding more deleted data than any of its peers — even years after the fact. And when we say deleted data, we don’t just mean photos: Search and Recover can retrieve emails, songs and more digital files from the depths.

Try Search and Recover free for 30 days*

Search and recover
If you work with photos for a living, it's even more important to invest in photo recovery software. (Photo: Getty)

So how does Search and Recover pull off such sorcery? In a number of ways. You can search for lost files in a specific location or on the entire system. You can conduct a custom search and select which folders, hard drives or removable media to search. That’s right: the software doesn’t only recover lost photos from your PC — it can also retrieve them from CDs, DVDs, floppy discs, external hard drives…even from the camera itself.

Search and Recover uses two proprietary technologies in its next-level sleuthing. One is called SmartScan, and it basically cleans out the junk — the useless files clogging up space in your computer — to streamline the search. Then it uses StrongScan, which performs an exhaustive search of what remains to bring back long lost data as well as photos you might have deleted just yesterday.

As promised, it’s not just wayward photos that this software can find. Accidentally deleted emails can also be tragic if they were important. Maintaining a clean inbox is hard work, and it’s easy to make mistakes. Search and Recover’s got you covered on several different platforms including Outlook, Outlook Express and Netscape Mail. It’ll try to find accidentally erased songs in your music player too.

If you have a device that’s on the fritz and you’re looking to proactively protect the files stored within, Search and Recover is just what you’re looking for. It’ll bring all your photos, videos, songs and so on to safety, extracting every last bit and helping you store it all elsewhere while you replace your faulty device.

Try Search and Recover free for 30 days*

Search and recover
Bask in the memories captured in your digital photo albums. (Photo: Getty)

Of course, it pays to be forward-thinking, too. To prevent the loss or accidental deletion of your photos, always make sure they’re backed up to a cloud service, which is a type of external storage for your digital files. Basically, photos saved locally on your computer live in the machine’s hard drive. Think of your hard drive as a file cabinet holding your photo albums. If you reached in one of the drawers, pulled out your wedding album and tossed it in the trash, it would be gone (and you’d need a real-life search-and-recover team to rescue it from the city dump!).

Your computer’s hard drive is just local storage. What you want is to back up the photos to a cloud service that keeps your photos safe and secure, kind of like trusting someone else to hold your keys so you don’t lose them. Except you still have the original photos on your computer — they’re just on the cloud as well! So if your photos are ever deleted again, you can simply re-download them from the cloud. Some people intentionally delete photos from their PCs and keep them only on the cloud, in order to free up storage space.

Better safe than sorry!

Try Search and Recover free for 30 days*