Yahoo Messenger is a popular instant messaging client. Users are able to save all chat history if they have the "Save All Messages" option enabled, although sometimes errors occur when the chat archive is deleted. Fortunately there is available software that can restore your archived Yahoo messages.
- Download Recuva, is a free software data recovery program from the makers of CCleaner. During the installation process, you have four options that you can add. The options to add shortcuts to your desktop and start menu, receive automatic updates for Recuva, and the option to install a Yahoo toolbar for your search engine. Click the check mark box for any option you want to add.
- Open the "Options" menu, found on the Recuva interface. Under options, select your language from the "General" tab, and "Deep Scan" under the "Action" tab. Click "OK" to return to the main interface.
- Choose the drive you wish to scan from the main interface. With the drive selected, click "Scan." When the scan is finished, you will see the scan results of multiple deleted files.
- Find the Yahoo messenger files. These files are in DAT format. The file will reference your username and date; e.g. "20100809-username.dat." Look for the date of the file; it's the only guide you have to locate the individual .dat files, and the files can only be read in Yahoo messenger. When the archives are deleted, all contact folders and files are deleted as well. Each contact folder has your contact's username as the folder name; this is where the messages that you exchanged with a user are stored. You will need to recreate each contact folder and place the individual DAT files into the respective folder inside the Yahoo Archives folder.
- Right-click on the file or files you want to recover. When you right-click, Recuva will ask you where to save the recovered files. A pop-up window titled "Browse For Folder" will appear, here you can choose to save to your desktop, flash drive or other removable media, or any other folder on your computer. Choose the location where you would like Recuva to save the files, and click "OK." Once you've selected and recovered all Yahoo messages, you can exit Recuva.
- Go to your Yahoo profile folder. You can find this folder under "Program Files." In "Program Files" follow this path: "Yahoo! / Messenger / Profiles." Click on your profile folder, then the archive folder; this where the contact folders are located. Because all contact folders were deleted with the archive, you must create a new folder for each contact..
E.g. "Program Files/Yahoo!/Messenger/Profiles/Your User Name/Archive/Contact's User Name"
- Copy and paste the DAT files from the saved location into the new contact folder. Start Yahoo messenger to read the files. Repeat all steps until you have rebuilt your entire archive history, complete with individual contacts and chats
The best method is to concentrate on recovering only one contact folder at a time. The easiest way to rebuild is to remember the date that you talked to each contact and placed the .dat file or files into the contact's folder. You then can open Yahoo Messenger to read the chat messages. Even if you placed a chat message into the wrong contact folder, it's easier and less time-consuming to rearrange a few files versus several files at once