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Issue #34: March 13, 2008

Q: I somehow deleted some of my “Saved on My PC” folders.  I am not sure how it happened.  It might have been while I was add and deleting programs.  I have AOL 9.0 Security Edition SE.  And I have Windows XP.  Can you tell me how to retrieve these if they are still somewhere on my computer. 

– Bob M.
Shalimar, FL

A: Depending on how the folders got deleted, they might just be fully in tact in the Recycle Bin, just waiting to be restored.  You can check by double-clicking on the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop, and either browsing, or searching for what you’re looking for.  If you find any files you still want, you can easily move them back to their original location by right-clicking on them and selecting “Restore.”

If they’re not in the Recycle Bin, it’s not so easy, but not necessarily hopeless.  First, a word of warning: the more you’ve used your computer since the folders disappeared, the less chance you’ll be able to recover them.  That’s because the more the computer gets used the greater are the chances that some or all of the disk space occupied by the files you want to recover has gotten re-used by something else.  So, you want to try your recovery as soon as possible.  By the way, the retrieval process is usually called “undeleting” a file.  There are lots of programs available to help you.  Do an internet search on [undelete files] and you’re likely to get over half a million page hits.  I’ve said before in my column that since I’m not a paid endorser, I don’t advocate for any particular products or services, but here’s my advice: A lot of these programs are freeware, but be wary.  First, if it costs you nothing, you may get exactly what you pay for.  Second, many of the nefarious internet bad guys spread their malware by disguising it in a helpful-looking utility.  Before downloading any executable file from a website you’re unfamiliar with, be sure and do a little background check.  If a utility is really good, one or more of the major computer magazines or other well-known authorities will have reviewed it or written an article on it.  If you can’t find any reviews on it, think twice before you download it.

READER TIP OF THE WEEK: Through the magic of Google Alerts, my column from last week wound up in the hands of Russell Ossendryver, of Garrison, NY, who is the Managing Director of Inc.  Russell read what I wrote about templates for OpenOffice with interest, and had the following to say: “I don’t believe the Avery wizard for OpenOffice will work.  However, you might find these templates our company released useful:  And here is a how-to:”  (I took the liberty of changing Russell’s long URLs into TinyURLs for publishing.)  Thanks for the tip, Russell!

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