In general the Windows Recycle Bin works well as a simple safeguard from accidentally deleting files. A problem comes if you empty or don’t use the Recycle Bin and your file is long gone. All hope may not be lost though if you need to recover a file which has been permanently deleted, just give Recuva a shot at it.
In a nutshell, when you “permanently” delete a file, the actual 1’s and 0’s are not removed, only the operating system’s reference to it. The file actually remains fully intact until the OS writes data over the “unreferenced file”. Like any deleted file recovery, Recuva works by looking for unreferenced data and allows you to recover it. Because of this, there is no guarantee that you will be able to recover the file, especially one which was deleted a long time ago.
Recuva is completely free and can really help you in a bind. It can even work to help you recover files deleted from camera’s and MP3 players.