Why is it important to recover files as soon as possible?
Any data or files that you have lost must be recovered as quickly as you can. Of course, it's true that a speedy recovery is convenient, especially if the files are particularly important or time-sensitive. However, there is more to it than that.
Whenever you download or install anything on your computer, browse the web, move files, or create new files on your system, your lost data and files are closer to being overwritten and destroyed forever. The same is also true for USB devices like iPods, or media cards on your digital camera.
To understand why, it's important to know a little about how computers store and remove your files. When you place a file on your computer, for example, a wedding photo, the digital information which makes up the photo is recorded on your hard drive. At the same time, your computer creates filenames, icons, folders, and other ways for you to access that file. So, although the computer may record the wedding photo as complicated digital information, you simply see it as weddingpicture.jpg. This is true for all kinds of files - videos, emails, word docs, songs - all of these are stored as digital information, then shown to you through icons and filenames.
That is how files are created and accessed. But what about when they are deleted?
If you were to delete a file, either accidentally or through system error, the icon and file would no longer be visible on your computer. Anyone who has a computer knows this - what would be the point of deleting something if it stuck around?
In fact, this is just what happens - the information sticks around. When you delete a file, you delete its icon, filename, folder, and all ability to access it. But, the digital information is still on your computer, hidden.
This information is just ignored by the computer. It will continue to take up space on your hard drive (or memory card) until you save or create new information over top of it. When new information is put on your computer, it has to go somewhere. It might just go over top of the file you need. Once you save over the file with something new, the lost file is permanently destroyed.
This is why you must not delay to recover deleted files.
There is no way of knowing where the information is on your hard drive, and when it will be overwritten. It could be overwritten today, tomorrow, or months from now. The sooner you download a recovery program and scan for your erased files, the better.