We all know how frustrating it can be loosing a file that you've been working on all night. Maybe you forgot to save the file or the electricity went out, no matter what the cause there are multiple ways to recover lost data.
If you're working with any application on the Microsoft Office suite auto save is your best friend if you have it set up. If you don't have it set up do it now! To enable auto save in Microsoft Office suite 03, click "word", then click "save" and from there choose what interval you want Word, PowerPoint, or Excel to save at. If you're working with Microsoft Office 2007, click "tools", then click "options" and then click "save", and from there choose the interval you want Microsoft Office to save at.
For you Office 07 users click the Microsoft Office button it should look like this.
Check The Recycle Bin
Often times you might accidentally delete a file and think it's gone forever but usually the deletion process follows a logical work flow. The user deletes the file. The file goes into some type of recycle bin or trashcan. If the trashcan or recycle bin is emptied you might still not be out of luck. Even if the recycle bin is emptied the file is still in the hard drive ready to be written over, so technically it's still there. If you use a recovery program you might be able to undelete it and bring it back to life.
For Microsoft Windows users there is a plethora of awesome freeware that will allow you to recovery a file. Some of my favorites are Undelete plus, Restoration, and PC inspector file recovery. I throw all three of these programs on a thumb drive and start them up when ever I am in the file recovery process. They work awesome and the learning curve is easy, you just have to play around with it.
FYI if you have an unbootable drive PC inspector is a good tool to recover data from it.
ANOTHER FYI: If you own a MAC turn on Time Machine I promise it will be the best thing you've ever done. Hit command + spacebar and type in time machine and then enter, from there go through the simple step by step process to setup.
Sometimes I have to recover data from a CD that is scratched or corrupted. A great program that I found is called CD Recovery Tool box it will read as much of the CD as possible and make a last ditch effort to salvage the data. Not all data recovery methods will work, you might have to put in a combination of a few of the above methods to get your valuable data back.