Without Backup-How to Get Back Lost Files

Even with excellent backup systems in place, eventually most of us will experience data loss. Your ability to recover depends on how the data was lost and what you do once you recognize the problem. Ryan Faas examines native and external options for Mac users who hope to get back their lost photos, client databases, and other precious files.

Dealing with data loss is something that nobody ever wants to do, regardless of whether that missing data is treasured family photos and home movies, a college paper, your entire digital music collection, or critical business information. As we become more and more connected to and dependent on the digital data that makes up our home and work lives, the prospect of catastrophic data loss—or even the loss of a few key pieces of information—becomes an increasingly scary prospect.

Of course, the best way to avoid being in the position of losing data is to back it up. For Mac users, that can mean using the Mac OS X application Time Machine; cloud-based services such as iCloud; syncing information between multiple computers (either with an automatic solution like MobileMe or manual copying of files); or the time-honored solution of simply cloning the entire contents of your hard drive(s) to a backup disk periodically.

All of these solutions are valid options and, if performed regularly, can minimize the potential risk of losing important information. But no system is completely perfect, and any of us may encounter a situation in which we accidentally delete files or suffer a hard drive issue when we don't have a backup of recent work or updates. Worse are the rare circumstances when both the original data and the backup are lost. When those situations occur, it's important not just to know what tools or professionals can help in recovering Mac files, but also to work through the problem in a manner that will maximize the potential for recovering that lost data.

Situation about Mac File Loss

Missing Files

Missing files are typically the easiest of problems to solve, because typically a file has simply been moved or renamed, and therefore isn't actually "lost." In such cases, by searching your hard drive either manually or with Mac OS X Spotlight, you may be able to locate the missing file(s).

In addition to working solely based on the filename, you can search by a number of other details about the file, commonly called metadata. Following are some common categories of metadata searches:

  • Application that created the file

  • Type of file (document, photo, presentation, etc.)

  • Contents of text-based files (such as a word-processing document or email)

  • Date on which the file was created, last opened, or modified

  • File extension (most useful for files shared with non-Mac systems)

  • Size of the file

  • Finder label(s)

  • In a Spotlight search, you can specify dozens of file or data attributes, many of them specific to certain applications. Here are some examples:

  • When searching for missing music files, you can use any song attribute in iTunes, such as artist or album.

  • While searching for photos, you can look for attributes used by iPhoto and other photo-editing or photo-management tools, such as whether a flash was used, the date on which the photo was taken, or the location if the photo is geocoded with location data. Many smartphone cameras, including the iPhone, and newer digital cameras include location data when capturing photos.

  • Accidental Deletion or Reformatting

    After missing files, accidentally deleted files (or files on a reformatted drive) are the next-easiest items to recover. In Mac OS X, when you empty the Trash or format, erase, or partition a disk, the actual data remains on the hard drive (or other media), but is marked as free space. Most commercially available recovery tools can search for any space marked as free on a drive, collecting and reassembling any data that they find.

    In these situations, the sooner after deletion you search, the more likely you are to have success in recovering information, as there's less chance that some of that data marked as free space has been replaced by new data.

    On the other hand, if you use the Secure Empty Trash feature, or one of the more secure options for erasing a disk, you're less likely to recover data, because these features immediately overwrite deleted information, with the express purpose of preventing recovery. However, you may have some success with a consumer-oriented tool or by using a data-recovery service, which generally has a much greater chance of recovering lost data than you would have by attempting it on your own.

    If you still need any help if the above info cannot help you, the third party recovery software is strongly needed. Just make sure choose the suitable for your Mac and keep in mind the software you choose can help you but not do harm to your Mac PC (I would love to use the paid professional software but not the freeware 'cause some freeware are not in good quality).


    1. The third party data recovery software may not help you every time you want to recover the lost files 'cause there are still many reasons make file loss happen so build a backup is recommended to protect your files away from data loss problem.

    2. Our official website offer many info about Mac data recovery tips and knowledge, just feel free to get more: http://www.uflysoft.com