Data recovery makes it possible to get your data back, even when you thought it was lost forever. However, if you’ve performed data recovery before, you may be aware that there are times when the original file names and folder structure are different. Why is that?
In this article, we’re going to cover why this happens with some data recovery tools and not others, and how you can recover files with original names intact.
Is It Possible to Recover Files With Original Names?
Yes, but not always. You see, when you delete a file, the actual data of the file still remains for a time (even following a quick format). This includes the file metadata too, such as the original photo ID, file creation date, etc. Only the reference used by the file system is deleted. Until that data is overwritten with new data, it will still be possible to recover it, along with its original file name.
However, successfully performing data recovery (with original file names intact) is only possible if the data hasn’t been overwritten and the file system is still in working condition. Otherwise, if the file system is damaged, you will need to rely on recovery using signature scanning, which will get your data back, but without the original names.
How to Increase Your Chances of Recovering Files With Original Names
Although you’re in an unfortunate position when your data is lost, there are some actions you can take to prevent it from getting worse. To increase your chances of being able to successfully restore the folder structure and file names, you can do the following.
|🛑 Stop using the device||Writing any new data to the device puts your old data at risk of being overwritten. Even if you’re not intentionally writing something to the device, background processes can create temporary files that will have the same effect.|
|💾 Start recovery immediately||The longer you leave it, the more your chances of recovery decrease. Always perform recovery at your earliest convenience to get the most data back.|
|🔌 For SSDs, shut down your computer||Solid-state drives may have TRIM enabled. TRIM is a method of managing your SSDs space efficiently, but it removes any chance of recovery. Therefore, shut down immediately to prevent it from wiping your data.|
|🧑💻 Install data recovery software to a separate drive||Installing an app involved writing new files to the drive. This process may overwrite some of the data you’re trying to recover, so always install your data recovery software to a separate storage device.|
How to Recover Files With Original Names
Not all data recovery tools can recover files with their original names. For example, PhotoRec only has signature scanning abilities, making it impossible to restore the original names or folder structure. Therefore, we’re going to show you two recovery applications that can get the job done – one paid, one free.
Method 1: Disk Drill
Disk Drill Data Recovery is our recommended choice, as it can restore the original file names and recover the folder structure. It also has a great user interface that makes recovery easy for any user and lots of free features that can help you keep your data safe going forward.
This is how you recover deleted files (along with their original names) using Disk Drill:
- Download and install Disk Drill to a separate storage device.
- Select the drive that contains the lost files and click Search for lost data.
- Click Review found items once the scan is finished. Or, if you want to recover everything in one go, click Recover all.
- Select the files you want to recover. Use the search bar to find files using their names. Preview them before recovery to ensure you’re recovering the right ones. When you’re ready, click Recover.
- Select an appropriate recovery location. Do not restore the files to the same drive you’re recovering them from. Click Next to complete the recovery.
Thanks to Disk Drill’s quick scan and signature scan abilities, it has superb recovery performance. Once your files are recovered, look at backing them up using File History or Backup and Restore.
Method 2: Recuva
Recuva is a completely free data recovery solution that allows for unlimited recovery without the need to spend a dollar. Although it doesn’t have the same recovery performance as Disk Drill, it’s a great option for those who need to recover deleted files with their original file names without investing in a paid solution.
Follow these steps to recover your deleted files with their original names using Recuva:
- Download and install Recuva to a separate storage device.
- Click Next to continue.
- Ensure All Files is selected, then click Next.
- Ensure I’m not sure is selected (to scan the whole drive), then click Next.
- Click Start.
- Select the data you wish to recover then click Recover.
- Select a suitable location for recovery (make sure it’s not the same drive you’re recovering from), then click OK.
Again, once you’ve restored your data, be sure to back it up for safekeeping. If Recuva wasn’t able to find the data you wanted to recover, try performing a deep scan instead.
In order to recover deleted files with their original names, you need to act quickly. Every passing moment can be detrimental to your data, as it’s left in a state where it can be overwritten with new data, causing it to become unrecoverable. To increase your chances, stop using the drive until you’re ready to perform recovery.
To perform data recovery, we recommend Disk Drill Data Recovery as it can restore the folder hierarchy, as well as the files inside. Once your data is successfully recovered, be sure to back it up using a backup solution like File History to protect it in the future.