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Top 10 Best Free Data Recovery Software

Did you just lose a valuable file that would take you several days of work to replace? Don’t panic! The top 10 best free data recovery software applications on this list can help you get it back, and you won’t have to even spend any money on them.
last update icon Last Updated: Oct 16, 2020
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Jeff Cochin
Written by
Jeff Cochin Jeff Cochin
Disk Drill is unquestionably a formidable hard drive data recovery software that ranks high in the information technology industry. This application, developed by CleverFiles, is uniquely tailored to scan both external and internal storage devices, from your local disk drive to portable USB drives and SD cards.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
iOS iOS
Android Android

Pros

  • icon pros Modern user interface
  • icon pros Free version recovers up to 500 MB
  • icon pros Fast scanning with the option to stop/resume
  • icon pros Recovers files from all commonly used file systems
  • icon pros Supports hundreds of file formats
  • icon pros A ton of extra features
  • icon pros Allows you to preview files before recovering them
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Cons

  • icon cons No phone customer support
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Disk Drill data recovery

Overall experience

Features that bring Disk Drill on top of the list are:


User-friendly

For first-time users, working, downloading, and installing Disk Drill is a walk in the park. Testers and laypersons alike assert that Disk Drill is an easy-to-install, user-friendly, and intuitive software that is imbued with wizards and GUI tools to make for a successful recovery process.


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2. Recuva

Recuva is a straightforward data recovery software capable of handling simpler data recovery jobs, such as the recovery of recently deleted files. Its biggest advantage is the fact that it can recover an unlimited amount of data for free.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows

Pros

  • icon pros Straightforward user interface
  • icon pros Can securely delete sensitive files
  • icon pros The ability to preview files before recovery
  • icon pros Can recover an unlimited amount of data for free
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Cons

  • icon cons Abandoned by its developers
  • icon cons Limited raw photo recovery capabilities
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Recuva

Overall experience

Recuva is free data recovery software for Windows computers. It can restore files with its deep scan option that searches your drive for traces of deleted data. Use the tool to recover music files, photos, documents, emails, and any other type of lost files. The application also has a feature that employs military-standard deletion techniques to securely erase your data.


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3. PhotoRec

PhotoRec is an open-source data recovery software application that runs on basically any operating system. Despite its name, it can recover over 300 file format families, making it a great choice for those who would like to recover deleted data without paying.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Linux Linux
FreeBSD FreeBSD
Sun Solaris Sun Solaris

Pros

  • icon pros Cross-platform software
  • icon pros Supports more than 300 file format families
  • icon pros Open-source and completely free
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Cons

  • icon cons Unintuitive
  • icon cons Restores all files automatically
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PhotoRec

Overall experience

Our look at free recovery software continues with PhotoRec. It’s another freeware app that can be used to recover files on any file system by restoring the underlying data. It performs the recovery in read-only mode for additional data safety during the process. This tool can recover data from many types of storage media and is especially proficient at recovering data from digital cameras. It is a companion to the TestDisk application that is designed to repair damaged or lost partitions.


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4. Undelete 360

If you’re looking for a truly free data recovery application for Windows, Undelete 360 has you covered. It’s Office 2010-inspired user interface may be outdated, but at least it looks familiar and makes the application intuitive.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows

Pros

  • icon pros Truly free
  • icon pros Recovers most common file formats
  • icon pros Displays scan results in both a file type and a folder view
  • icon pros Lets you preview files before recovery
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Cons

  • icon cons Below-average data recovery performance
  • icon cons Outdated user interface
  • icon cons Abandoned by its developers
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Undelete 360

Overall experience

Undelete 360 is another freeware application that allows you to recover deleted files from your computer’s internal disk as well as from memory cards, external hard drives, and many other types of storage media. It can undelete files that were too big to fit in the Recycle Bin or that have been erased through the use of the Cut command. The tool does not come with technical support so users are on their own when recovering their lost data.


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5. Data Rescue

Data Rescue is an advanced data recovery software package offering from Prosoft Engineering. Relying on 20 years of data recovery development, Data Rescue has helped reunite users with billions of lost and deleted files.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS

Pros

  • icon pros Capable of cloning and creating bootable drives
  • icon pros Supports many different file types
  • icon pros Includes a handy hex previewer
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Cons

  • icon cons Takes a long time to finish scanning
  • icon cons No pause and resume feature
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Prosoft Data Rescue

Overall experience

Data Rescue supports many different file types for recovery and enables the user to teach the application about new file types by using a few file examples. This extends the tool’s flexibility to allow it to recover any type of file. The new hex previewer enables you to look at your files as raw data before initiating their recovery.


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6. R-Studio

R-Studio is a commercial data recovery software tool with versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It was originally designed to be used by data recovery professionals but has evolved to provide a user-friendly solution accessible by anyone.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Linux Linux

Pros

  • icon pros Demo version available
  • icon pros Cross-platform support for multiple operating systems
  • icon pros Offers a simplified version of the tool called R-Undelete
  • icon pros Customizable known file types
  • icon pros Recovers data over a network
  • icon pros Advanced RAID reconstruction
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Cons

  • icon cons More expensive than other solutions
  • icon cons Interface and extensive features can be confusing for some users
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R-Studio

Overall experience

R-Studio provides users with extensive recovery options and has versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. As a true cross-platform solution, files can be recovered from any supported operating system regardless of the OS hosting the tool. This offers additional flexibility and eliminates the need to purchase more than one version of the software in multi-platform environments. The tool can recover data from local and removable disks as well as from client machines connected to a LAN or the internet.


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7. UnDeleteMyFiles Pro

Despite being abandoned by its developers, UndeleteMyFiles Pro remains a recommendable data recovery software application for Windows, especially thanks to the inclusion of several extra disk tools.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows

Pros

  • icon pros Completely free
  • icon pros Includes several extra disk tools
  • icon pros Quick and easy file recovery
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Cons

  • icon cons No longer in active development
  • icon cons Unable to recover less common file formats
  • icon cons Outdated user interface
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UnDeleteMyFiles Pro

Overall experience

Here is a free file recovery tool that offers some advanced features usually only found in a commercial app. This application is freeware, and there is no paid version available. The freeware is provided as-is and can be used for any purpose, including commercial applications.


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8. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

EaseUS is a leading software company, and its data recovery solution doesn’t fail to impress with a reliable data recovery performance and the ability to recover a large number of file formats from all kinds of storage devices.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
iOS iOS
Android Android

Pros

  • icon pros Reliable data recovery performance
  • icon pros Recovers a large number of file formats
  • icon pros Fast deep-scan algorithm
  • icon pros Supports over 1,000 file formats
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Cons

  • icon cons Includes unrecoverable files alongside recoverable files
  • icon cons Expensive paid licenses
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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Overall experience

EaseUS offers free file recovery software with its Data Recovery Wizard. The tool enables you to recover data that has been accidentally deleted or from a mistakenly formatted drive or partition. It can easily perform file recovery on an emptied Windows Recycle Bin and can be used on many types of external storage. You can restore lost files, photos, and videos in a variety of file formats with this data recovery application.


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9. Stellar Phoenix

This multi-featured data recovery application lives up to its name, offering stellar performance and design. Stellar Phoenix is a high-end, user-friendly recovery software that comes in several editions.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS

Pros

  • icon pros Great data recovery performance
  • icon pros User-friendly interface
  • icon pros Disk-testing and cloning features
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Cons

  • icon cons Doesn’t support as many file formats as other solutions
  • icon cons Sometimes lists files as recoverable even though they are not
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Stellar Phoenix

Overall experience

Stellar Phoenix Pro is loaded with multiple features that allow users to tailor the recovery process according to their requirements. Among the highlights are Lost Partition, Formatted Drive, Deleted File and Email Recovery of PST files of MS Outlook.


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10. MiniTool Power Data Recovery

The most harrowing data damage experience is losing an entire partition or drive. This may be attributed to an accidentally deleted partition or an overwritten one, an unfinished format procedure, etc. If this has happened to you, MiniTool Partition Recovery can help.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS

Pros

  • icon pros Simple user interface
  • icon pros Capable of previewing deleted files
  • icon pros Small download size
  • icon pros 24/7 support for all users
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Cons

  • icon cons Random sluggishness
  • icon cons Unable to load previous scan results without a subscription
  • icon cons Doesn’t offer any backup tools
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MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Overall experience

The functionality of MiniTool is pretty simple. As the name suggests, this application is available as a small downloadable file. Upon installation, launch the application and select the drive on which your lost partition was located. The app will then prompt the user with a dialog box querying whether they want to scan the entire disk or just a portion of it. Proceed to select an option and specify the nature of the scan — whether it’s a full or quick scan.


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Comparison Table

Disk Drill
Disk Drill
Recuva
Recuva
PhotoRec
PhotoRec
Undelete 360
Undelete 360
MiniTool Data Recovery
MiniTool Data Recovery
UnDeleteMyFiles Pro
UnDeleteMyFiles Pro
EaseUS Data Recovery
EaseUS Data Recovery
Stellar Phoenix
Stellar Phoenix
Prosoft Data Rescue 5
Prosoft Data Rescue 5
R-studio
R-studio
Recovery Results ★★★★★
Excellent
★★★★
Good
★★★★
Good
★★★★★
Average
★★★★★
Excellent
★★★★
Good
★★★★★
Excellent
★★★★
Good
★★★★
Good
★★★★
Good
OS Supported Win XP+

macOS 10.8+
Win XP+ Win XP+

macOS up to 10.14
Win 2000-7 Win 7+

macOS 10.7+
Win XP-8 Win XP+

macOS 10.9+
Win XP+

macOS 10.7+
Win 7+

macOS 10.12+
Win 2000+

macOS 10.9+
Free version limits 500 MB No limitations No limitations Files < 10MB 1 GB No limitations 2 GB Scan only Scan only Files < 256KB
File preview
Modern interface
Support Email, online chat Community Community Email Email, online chat Email Phone, email, online chat Phone, email, online chat Email, online chat Phone, email
Security Bitlocker support Bitlocker support Bitlocker support Bitlocker support Bitlocker support Bitlocker support

Why Is Data Recovery Software Necessary?

Truth be told, data recovery software isn’t always necessary. For example, you don’t need to download a data recovery application just to get back recently deleted files that are still in the Recycle Bin. Likewise, you don’t need to perform data recovery if you have a backup of the deleted files and can simply restore them from it.


However, data recovery software is the only way to recover deleted files that are no longer in the Recycle Bin and are not backed up. Data recovery software is especially useful in situations when you accidentally formatted a storage device or deleted an important file and immediately realized your mistake.


Because deleted files are still physically present on the storage device until other files use the space they occupy, you should be able to get them back without any issues. All you need is a reliable data recovery software application.


Data Recovery Software


Where data recovery software isn’t of much use is the recovery of data from physically damaged storage devices. If your hard drive has stopped spinning or your memory card has fallen apart, even the best data recovery software won’t be able to help you. In such cases, your only options are professional data recovery services with clean rooms and state-of-the-art equipment.

Why Have We Included Only 10 Data Recovery Applications?

Listing each and every available data recovery application would be a monumental task to undertake, and its result wouldn’t be worth the effort because the list would include many abandoned and poorly performing applications that are simply not worth spending time on.

Instead, we decided to focus our attention on just 10 most popular data recovery applications, listing the pros and cons of each so that you can easily decide which of them is the most suitable for you.

What to Consider When Selecting Data Recovery Software

With so many data recovery software applications to choose from, how do you decide which to try and which to ignore? Simple! You compare their performance, compatibility, features, usability, price, and security. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
  • Performance
    Performance
    The main factor to consider when selecting data recovery software is performance. After all, a data recovery application that’s unable to recover your files isn’t very useful, is it? Ideally, you want to select a data recovery application that supports all commonly used file formats and storage devices and doesn’t take hours to recover data from them. Some applications offer multiple scanning algorithms to speed things up, while others don’t make you wait for the scanning process to finish, allowing you to access deleted files as soon as they are found.
  • Compatibility
    Compatibility
    It goes without saying that your data recovery software of choice must support your operating system. If you use both Windows and macOS, it makes sense to select a data recovery application that can run on both operating systems.
  • Features
    Features
    There are many different data recovery software applications competing for users, who have come to expect more than basic data recovery capabilities. That’s why many leading data recovery applications include additional features, such as data backup, disk health monitoring, and bootable data recovery. By choosing a data recovery application with a lot of extra features, you can avoid spending money on multiple different software applications.
  • Usability
    Usability
    You shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time to understand how to recover your deleted or lost data with a data recovery software application. Instead, the application should be intuitive and easy to use, making it obvious what each of its options is for without forcing you to read a lengthy manual. The good news is that such data recovery applications are fairly easy to find these days, and we’ve featured several of them in this article.
  • Price
    Price
    The idiom “you get what your pay for” holds true even when it comes to data recovery software. While there are many great data recovery applications that cost absolutely nothing, their features, ease of use, and customer support typically pale in comparison with paid data recovery software. The good news is that most paid data recovery applications let you try them for free by providing a trial or demo version, which is why you can find some of them on our list.
  • Security
    Security
    Security comes into play when downloading any free software from the internet. There are many shady websites that distribute malware disguised as legitimate software, and avoiding them is not always easy because their owners know how to reach the first page in Google and other search engines. If you don’t want to risk a malware infection and irreversible damage to your system, we recommend you stick with leading data recovery applications, such as those featured in this article.

What If Data Recovery Software Failed?

Unfortunately, there isn’t any data recovery software application that provides a complete guarantee of successful recovery. That’s because data loss can be caused by a number of different factors, including human error, computer malware, and physical damage.


While non-mechanical issues are relatively easy to deal with, physical damage presents a serious obstacle to data recovery, usually requiring the expertise of a professional data recovery service like CleverFiles Data Recovery Center.


Thanks to state-of-the-art equipment and Class 100 (ISO-14644-1 Class 5) clean rooms, CleverFiles Data Recovery Center is able to repair storage devices that have suffered a physical failure and can’t be recognized by data recovery software applications.


Of course, professional data recovery services can also recover data that has become inaccessible due to a logical failure or human error, making them a great choice for those who have either found no luck with DIY data recovery software or would rather avoid it entirely.

Did You Know?

Even though hard drive capacity has been increasing year after year, the same thing can’t be said about hard drive reliability. Each year, data storage provider Backblaze publishes hard drive reliability statistics based on its experience with running over 100,000 spinning hard drives in data centers on two continents. In 2019, the annualized hard drive failure rate in Backblaze data centers was 1.89 percent, which is significantly more than it was in 2018 (just 1.25 percent). Clearly, hard drive manufacturers still have some work to do to make hard drives more reliable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

Data recovery software works by restoring access to files deleted by the operating system. When the OS deletes a file it removes logical access but leaves the physical data on the disk. Data recovery software can restore this logical access if the file’s storage space has not been overwritten.

Yes. Data recovery software is safe to use and will not lead to further data loss. In cases where your drive is experiencing physical problems, attempt to make a byte level backup to be used when performing the recovery. Then you can recover without adding stress to the degraded disk.

Yes, with some restrictions. An SSD drive can be TRIM enabled which is used to improve performance and increase drive life. Unfortunately, if you have TRIM enabled on your drive you cannot recover data from a formatted SSD. Drives that are not using TRIM can be recovered with software.

Recover permanently deleted files for free using these methods:

  1. Launch your backup and restore program and recover from an old version.
  2. Locate the folder that contained the file and recover a previous version in Windows.
  3. Download Disk Drill and recover 500 MB for free on Windows.

There are many SD card recovery applications available. Some solutions are specifically developed for photo recovery. The best SD card recovery software is:

  1. Disk Drill Data Recovery Software;
  2. Stellar Photo Recovery;
  3. EaseUS Photo Recovery;
  4. PhotoRescue;
  5. Minitool Photo Recovery.

Not all data recovery solutions are compatible with the Mac operating system. The best data recovery software applications for Mac are:

  1. Disk Drill for macOS;
  2. Stellar Data Recovery Professional;
  3. Softtote Mac Data Recovery;
  4. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac;
  5. R-Studio for Mac.
Disk Drill 4
  • REQUIREMENTS
    Windows 7 SP1+, 44 MB
    Mac OS X 10.8.5+, 22MB

  • AVERAGE USER RANK
    user rank stars 4.6 by 110 users
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  • NEWEST RELEASE
    Version 4.0.537, released on 24th Sep, 2020