How to Restore Deleted Video Files on a Computer

by Jennifer Claerr

It can be upsetting to realize that you've just accidentally deleted the only copy of a cherished video from your computer. It can be devastating if the file was your only copy of a home movie or a slideshow made from family photos. The good news is that the video file may be recoverable. However, you must act quickly. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that the video file will be overwritten.

Go to your desktop and click on the "Recycle Bin" icon. See if the file is there. If you know the name of the your file, browse or search for it. If you don't remember the file name or type, look for media files such as AVI, WMV, MOV and MPEG. If you can find it, select the file and click the "Restore this item" link in the left pane. If you do not find the file in the recycle bin, continue to Step 2.

Download and install Recover My Files (see Resources below). Start the program and click "Start Search." Click "Complete File Search." Select the "Manually Select Options" button. Under the "File Types" tab, select only video file types. Deselect any file types which you don't want to search for. Click "OK." Select the drive you would like to search, as well as the folders. Be sure to select "Recycler" if your computer sends items to the recycle bin before deleting them. Click "Next" and "Start."

Browse for your video file in the left pane when the search is complete. If you can remember which folder it was in, browse to that folder in the left pane. If not, click the "Filter" button from the toolbar. Filter your search by the file type, if known. If you do not remember which file type your video had, search for all the major file types, using an asterisk before the extension. For example, if you would like to filter for Windows Media Video, type *.wmv in the "By Filename/Extension" field. The results pane will show whether the file is fit for recovery. Only attempt to recover files which are "Very Good." Disregard files which are marked "Poor" or "Overwritten."

Click the check boxes next to the files you would like to recover. Click the "Save Files" button.

Recreate your video file in the event that file recovery fails. Find the program in which the video file was created, or the source of the video file. For example, if you created a video in Windows Movie Maker, open the project file and use it to recreate the video from scratch. Video files which were downloaded from the Web can in some instances be downloaded again. Video files which were ripped can usually be ripped again.

Tip

  • check Recover My Files is a free download, but you must purchase the program to actually recover your files.

About the Author

Jennifer Claerr is a web writer who has written for online sites such as Demand Studios, NBC5i.com, Texas.com and PC.com. She has a degree in art from the University of Texas at Arlington. She writes on a variety of topics, including holidays, health and fitness, travel, computers and art.