Many of us don’t realize how precious our data is until we lose it. Whether through software or hardware failure, our own mistake, or a chain of unfortunate events, the result is the same. Luckily for all of us, in reality, only the address to the data is deleted, and not the data itself. For that reason, all you need to get your files is back is the right program, and to act sooner than later. Here’s our pick of the best data recovery software.
It’s our recommendation to download and use the software in the order we’ve given below. If the scan isn’t as efficient, or it doesn’t have a feature you require, feel free to skip down the list.
Created by Piriform, creators of CCleaner, another well-known and very software, Recuva, as the name suggests, promises to recover your files at ease. It includes images, documents, videos, audio, e-mails, and other files you’ve lost. Recuva also supports undeleting files from working but formatted hard drives and damaged HDDs alike. It also supports a Deep Scan feature that takes longer but can discover files you didn’t remember deleting. Best of all – recovering files is free and unlimited!
Second, on our list is one of the best-known companies in this area of expertise, present since the 2000s. With their software, through an extremely easy-to-follow interface, you’ll be able to discover more than a 1000 file types, from SD cards, HDDs, SSDs, and flash drives. Even better, their algorithm is specifically designed for system crashes, accidental disk formatting, physically damaged disk drives, and virus attacks. Best of all – you’ll be able to recover up to 2 GB of data for free. That makes it a go-to software for beginners, those on a budget, and those that want to test its capabilities should they ever need it.
Although they used to be separate software with the same purpose, Pandora and Disk Drill decided to join forces and create an ultimate data recovery software under Disk Drill’s name. Although incredibly efficient in discovering files of any type, the free version is limited to 500 MB of recovered data. It works on operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 10, as well as Mac OS. Luckily, it also supports a plethora of devices, from external HDDs and pen drives to corrupt or physically damaged HDDs and SSDs.
Both the website and the software itself has a very simplistic GUI, but we look at it as its strength. Recovering lost files shouldn’t take a lot of figuring out, and Puran File Recovery is one of the best data retrieval software for beginners. Besides being successful in both Quick and Deep Scan features, we’ve liked that it also gives you a full list of file paths, helping you remember where they came from. You’ll be pleased to hear that it also has a portable version that eliminates the risk of losing data through installation.
The software made by WiseCleaner allows you to discover more than 1000 file formats, whether audio, video, text, archives, and e-mails. Furthermore, their Quick Scan process promises to be over in a matter of seconds! You can also narrow down the search with keywords, further reducing the time you and your lost files are reconnected. The free version isn’t limited by the size of recovered files but prevents you from doing a Deep Scan. Perfect for getting back files you just deleted by accident, but not for a larger number.
Although downloadable only through Cnet services, Restoration is quite impressive! First of all, its compatibility goes back to the Windows 95 operating system, which was released, you guessed it, in 1995! It’s also very lightweight and completely portable. It can also be run off of a floppy disk! Remember those? This is perfect because installing new software poses a risk to overwriting just the data you hoped to recover. Unfortunately, the software is limited to retrieving data only from SD cards, pen drives, and USB drives such as external HDDs.
We’ve placed Glary Undelete in 7th place because it has a very familiar interface – it looks just like Windows Explorer. It’s very capable of recovering files from both hard drives and flash drives and supports file systems such as NTFS, FAT, and NTFS+EFS. However, it requires the software to be installed, which poses a risk of overwriting as mentioned above. Furthermore, the installation progress offers you to install a toolbar which can be declined, but to people panicking and in a hurry, it’s easily missed.
Unlike most of the software on our list, Mini Tool doesn’t go as far back as Windows XP but supports Windows 7 and later versions. Although not a flaw per se, with such strong competition, it earned the 8th spot. The free version is limited to a quick search and 1 GB of recovered data and costs $69 per month for a premium version, which is quite expensive. Its best feature is the well-designed Preview panel that allows you to use the 1 GB limit wisely.
We couldn’t deny that Prosoft Data Rescue managed to run a very deep scan of our test system. When it did, it uncovered files we completely forgot about. Unfortunately, the demo version only shows you what the software is capable of. You will have to pay upward of $100, depending on applicable taxes, to recover any of the files. On the other hand, their unique feature that allows you to clone a failing hard drive might provide a huge relief and a failsafe. It’s also important to mention that you can use equivalent software on your Macintosh computer.
Last on our list is the software that is highly functional, but has plenty of limitations. First of all, it is intended for individuals with extended technical knowledge and has an outdated and complicated interface. That makes it easy for you to miss some of its best features. Even worse, to get even a single file back, you are forced to pay $48 for a Standard license. We would not recommend using DM Disk to beginners, that’s for sure. Professionals might benefit from its additional features – partition manager, disk editor, and RAID construction.