DOS Tips

The Handy Undelete Tool

Why do you need this tool? Because when the Recycle Bin is emptied, files are longer "recoverable". But there lives the Undelete program from old DOS. So, the question is, how does it recovers files that are already deleted when even the Recycle Bin can't do it?

Perhaps a little explanation will do. All deleted files will still exist in your hard drive until you format it. When you delete a file, your computer will erase the first character of the file and mark it is "deleted". That means that any other file can be written over it or replace it. The file can remain forever until another file is copied and takes the location of the file on the hard drive. This means that if you deleted a file and you didn't copy any new files or make major disk alteration, chances are, you can still recover the file. The same applies to Norton's UnErase Wizard but of course, the utility is much better with more advance recovery. But Undelete is free and works in DOS.

The first thing to do is to get the utility first. It is available at your Windows CD in a /olddos/ directory. Search for it. Next, you need to copy it in to your c:\windows\command\ directory. Now you are done. To recover a file, type say gone.wav :

c:\>undelete gone.wav

Specify the full path. You will notice that the first character is not typed. Instead it is replaced by a # sign. You must specify the first character to recover the file. Typing


by itself will give you a list of file to recover. Now, lets say you want to recover the whole bunch of file deleted. If you already know which file to recover and know the first character, type

c:\>undelete gone.wav /all

and DOS will automatically stick the first character to #one.wav. You can also apply wildcards - like this:

c:\>undelete *.wav /all

Now, you might find typing the first character a bit tiring. It is ironic that as a computer, won't it just know it? The fact is, it does, if you will just tell it how. Stick the following line to your Autoexec.bat:


Once you want to undelete any file, just press Y to resurrect your "dead" file to life.

Although the Undelete utility may sound very useful, we are disappointed to say that it might not work under some Windows systems. Try it to see whether it works on yours.

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