Guide: Recovering Deleted Files from a Digital Voice Recorder

woman listening to a voice recording

If you have ever accidentally deleted files off your digital voice recorder — or even lost some audio recordings due to low battery issues, it can be easy to recover the lost files, provided you stop recording any additional voice memos.

In this guide, I'll be showing you how to perform data recovery from a digital voice recorder. By the end, you should see your lost files back alive again.

Let's get started.

What you need to prepare:

  • The voice recorder device you are using
  • The USB cable or a memory card reader (if you save files on a MicroSD card)
  • Your personal computer
  • A data recovery software
  • Access to the Internet (for downloading software online)

Why is it still possible to retrieve files deleted off your device?

No matter what brand or type of voice recorder you use, the files are saved either on the device internal memory or an extended memory card. Yes, most modern digital recorders support memory expansion. For example, a Sony or Olympus recorder usually has a built-in 4GB internal flash memory and a memory slot used to load external microSD. And you have the option to select where to save generated audio files.

Either way, no matter you accidentally deleted some files, formatted the flash memory, or the device failed to show the files, chances are the real data contained in those files are still saved on the storage memory (either internal or external). The data can be easily recovered provided they are not written over — meaning occupied by new data you generate.

So, as you can see, the first thing you should do when you notice the file loss is — STOP using your voice recorder!

Digital voice recorder recovery software

Or a data recovery software that is capable of recovering audio files in WMA, WAV file format. We recommend Stellar Photo Recovery (also retrieves audio and video files) because it works great and the program is super easy to use. You can use it to examine all of the areas in your device memory storage to work out files used to be there. And Stellar displays items in a tree panel. Best of all, you can even preview the found recordings to quickly identify if your deleted ones are there.

The software also comes with both a Windows and a Mac OS X version, so you don't have to worry about system compatibility issues. See detailed recovery instructions below.

How to retrieve the files: a step by step guide

Step 1: connect your recorder (flash memory or mass memory) to a PC or a Mac machine. Note: if your digital voice recorder uses internal flash memory, find the USB cable and connect. If your files are saved on a MicroSD card, load it on a card reader or adapter. Then plug it into your computer's USB port.

Step 2: download Stellar Recovery Software and install the program on your computer. Make sure you select the right version.

Step 3: open the application and click the big blue button "Recover Photo, Audio & Video" located in the center. Then follow the rest steps until it scans your drive.

Step 4: preview found items after the scan. Then recover your desired files.

Done!

If the above guide doesn't work out

As we explained previously, chances of recovering your voice recordings are not 100% due to the nature of data recovery. Theoretically, if a part of your data gets written over, then that part becomes unrecoverable. There might be some other reasons that undermine recovery possibilities. If by any means the above guide won't work for you, and those files are significant to you, your last resort is to ask a data recovery professional or turn to a data rescue center for help. Beware that such services are usually very expensive. Do your own research first before you making phone calls or sending over your device.

Conclusion

Losing audio files you've spent hours recording can be upset. Fortunately, it's often entirely possible to recover the data off your voice recorder if you act as quickly as possible. The recovery process is also relatively easy. If a file recovery program can't help, turn to a professional data recovery service for advice.

Pro tip: so you've learned the lesson, next time make sure you always back up or transfer your recordings on a regular basis. Also, don't take the risk to push the button when the battery level if slow.

Cover image credit to LetsGoDigital.

Chris Hwang
 

Chris is a certified computer technician since 2008. He writes everything related to computer issues and loves helping people solve problems. Currently, he's extending his interests into cloud computing.

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