WinRAR is a powerful archiver and archive manager, and RAR files can usually compress contents 8% to 30% better than ZIP files. It is a Windows data compression tool that focuses on users’ RAR and ZIP data compaction formats, as well as CAB, ARJ, LZH, TAR, GZip, UUE, ISO, BZIP2, Z, and 7-Zip. Whether a WinRAR file is stored on internal storage or an external hard drive, it isn’t safe from data loss or corruption, hence users need a way to recover it.
Saving all your crucial data to a RAR file format is a great idea, as it can save disk space and speed up sending large attachments. But there may be various occasions when your RAR files could get lost or deleted. Before you learn how to recover a WinRAR file, you should be familiar with what typically causes its erasure.
Possible Causes Behind Deletion of WinRAR Files
These are some reasons your WinRAR file might be gone:
- Using the “Shift + Delete” key combination removes RAR files permanently.
- If no backup is taken, emptying the Recycle Bin with RAR files results in their permanent removal.
- If your RAR file is damaged or infected with a virus, the system’s antivirus software may delete it.
- Formatting external drives, such as external hard disk drives, SSDs, or USB sticks, deletes all RAR files.
- RAR files may become corrupted during the transfer process and invisible and/or unreadable.
Luckily, recovery of RAR files is feasible. Computers keep data on hard drives in different sectors. When you erase any information from a single sector, the data remains on the disk but cannot be accessed by the user. At the same time, the area previously occupied by data becomes empty and is available for new information. Thus, if you want to retrieve data that was deleted, the first step is to ensure no new files are added to that drive.
1. Recover WinRAR Files from Recycle Bin
When you delete a file from your computer on Windows, it is moved to the Recycle Bin (Trash Bin on Mac). It remains there until users empty it manually. Even, if you have accidentally erased a RAR file and emptied the Recycle Bin, don’t worry. You can still get it back as long as you act quickly and use appropriate data restoration software, which is our next method. For now, there are two ways to access the Recycle Bin:
- Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop.
- Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. Select “Recycle Bin” in the opened window and click “OK.”
Once you open the Recycle Bin, find the RAR file you want to recover, right-click on it and select “Restore.” The deleted RAR file will be restored to its original location.
2. Use Data Recovery Software to Rescue RAR Files
If you have emptied the Recycle Bin or cannot find the deleted WinRAR file in the Recycle Bin, don’t fret. As mentioned, data retrieval software can fetch wiped RAR files. Many data recovery programs on the market claim to do so, but not all are effective. Some work better than others. When choosing a data recovery program, make sure it is compatible with your operating system and can support RAR files. We recommend using Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery. It is a professional and reliable data rescue program that can help you recover lost or deleted WinRAR files with ease.
Wondershare Recoverit is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. It can recover more than 1000 types of files besides RAR. Also, it features a high success rate and works even if you are not familiar with these programs. Here’s how to use it:
- Download Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery to your computer.
- Install and launch the software before connecting the drive where you lost a WinRAR file to your computer and select it as your data location. Alternatively, select a suitable partition.
- Click “Start” to begin the scanning process.
- Once the scanning process is complete, all recoverable files will be listed in the results window. You can preview some and select those you want to retrieve.
- Finally, select “Recover” to save the recovered WinRAR file to your computer.
3. Recover a WinRAR Files via Command Prompt
If you are a Windows user, you can also employ Command Prompt to recover permanently deleted RAR files. Here’s how:
- Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt.
- In the Command Prompt window, type
attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:*.*and press Enter. This will unhide all files on your external drive.
dir /ahand press Enter to check if the RAR file you want to recover is listed. If it is, take note of the exact file name and location.
g:before pressing Enter and changing the drive letter to a partition or external drive. Then, type
cd \foldernameand press Enter to locate the folder where the deleted RAR file is stored.
- To recover the permanently deleted RAR file, type
xcopy filename destinationin the Command Prompt window before running the command.
- Replace “filename” with the exact name of the deleted RAR file and “destination” with the location where you want to save the recovered file. For example, if you want to recover a RAR file named “file.rar” and save it to your desktop, you would enter
xcopy file.rar C:\Users\username\Desktop\.
- Hit enter and the permanently deleted RAR file will be recovered and saved to the specified location. You can then open it with a RAR extractor such as WinRAR or 7-Zip.
4. Use the Previous Versions Windows Feature on RAR Files
If you have enabled System Restore on your computer, you may be able to use Previous Versions to restore erased WinRAR files. System Restore automatically creates restore points at regular intervals and saves them on your hard drive. If you accidentally delete a file, you can restore it from there. Follow these instructions:
- Open the folder where the deleted RAR file was stored.
- Click on “History” in the “Folder Options” section.
- Select a date from the list of available restore points and click “Restore.” The selected restore point will be restored alongside the file with a .rar file extension.