If you have ever deleted a file or folder by accident, you'll be thankful for the Recycle Bin acting as a safety net.

However, what happens if you delete this folder, then discover you need the file after all?

Conventional wisdom says there is little you can do, but with the use of tools like Recover My Files, it's possible to restore partial, if not whole, files.

Bring your files back from the dead

Windows being a rather lazy OS doesn't actually delete a file when you ask it to; it simply gets rid of the identifier that marks its position on your laptop's hard drive. So the next time you save to disk that portion of the disk is allowed to be used.

Recover My Files works by looking for these deleted headers and retrieving them. If a portion of the file you're after has been overwritten, you won't be able to retrieve it all, but the program will detect whatever is left.

User friendly

The interface is simple to use with four main tasks that can be performed. Being a wizard-driven program it's easy to get to grips with.

There are two different ways to carry out a search, either Complete or Fast.

Our test machine is an ageing Pentium M laptop with a 40GB hard drive that could carry out a Fast search in a little over five minutes, but it's a rather intensive tool to use so is best done when you're not running other programs in the background.

Search external drives too

Results were impressive, with some 30,000 files retrieved. Not all of these are needed, so it's possible to search the findings to find the ones you need. You can choose to set a search for a specific file if you know the name.

Also, when it comes to searching for specific files, you can narrow down your choice to individual drives and even look for defined groups, such as email attachments or images.

With files increasingly stored on external devices, the software will also look for lost files on your USB memory key or memory card, which we think is a versatile addition to the software.