Do File Recovery Tools Support Network Drives?

Try these workarounds to recover deleted files on a network drive

Photo of a Synology DiskStation NAS
Synology DiskStation Network Attached Storage (DS412+). © Synology

There are plenty of data recovery software tools available to recover files that you delete from your computer. However, when you delete a file from a network drive, the rules change.

Recovering Deleted Files From a Shared Drive

Data recovery tools can't recover deleted files from a shared drive.

The reasons they don't work are complicated but have to do with the fact that the data recovery program doesn't have the level of access to the physical hard drive that it needs to do its job, even though the shared network resource may otherwise look and act like any other drive on your computer.

Your computer's operating system doesn't control the shared drive. Some other computer's OS does.

If you have access to the computer where the shared drive is located, go there and try to undelete the file with a file recovery program.

Recovering Deleted Files From Network Drives

Network storage devices that connect directly to your network and do not need a computer aren't as easy to find a workaround for. There is an operating system supporting the drive, and any file recovery has to be initiated from within that drive.

If you want to recover a deleted file from a network storage device, log on to the web-based administration for the device and see if any integrated file recovery features that might be helpful exist.

As a last resort, try connecting the hard drive inside the network storage device directly to your computer. If you are successful, you can then run data recovery software against it from there.

Recovering Deleted Files From Cloud Storage

Data recovery tools you have installed on your computer are of no use when online storage services are involved. If you need to recover a file you deleted from a cloud service, log in and see if there's a trash can or recycle bin that may be storing the file. There almost always is.