Top 10 Best Data Recovery Software in 2022

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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.

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Comparison Table

Key features analysis

Brief selection
1
disk drill windows icon
Disk Drill
Platform:  macOS Windows
Distributed as: Freemium
2
r-studio icon
R-Studio
Platform:  macOS Windows Linux
Distributed as: Freemium
3
easeus data recovery windows icon
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
Platform:  macOS Windows
Distributed as: Freemium

Why Did We Choose These Data Recovery Solutions?

There are many more than 10 free data recovery tools. In selecting the ones that made our list, we considered the following criteria:

  • Popularity

    The popularity of a solution with the user community is often an indicator of its usefulness. We wanted to identify the most popular recovery tools so we could see if their popularity is justified.

  • Features

    A software tool’s features are what defines it and often differentiates it from competing products. We looked for solutions that had all the features required to reliably recover your lost data.

  • Flexibility

    We tried to find solutions that can address multiple data loss scenarios and successfully recover different kinds of user data from different types of storage devices.

  • User reviews

    The online user community often provides insight into the reliability and functionality of software products. We tried to locate tools that have received positive reviews as an indicator of solutions worth trying.

After identifying solutions that fit our criteria, we went ahead and tested the products under the same conditions users will face when struck by a data loss scenario.

Top 10 Best Free Data Recovery Software #

Let’s see which data recovery software applications have the best rating.

Disk Drill Logo

1. Disk Drill

Top pick

3.84 Best choice for Windows users – The Windows version of Disk Drill empowers regular users to reliably recover all kinds of lost data with a few simple clicks.

Read full Disk Drill review
Platforms

Windows macOS

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover up to 500 MB for free

Price range

$89...$598

Overview

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.

Top Disk Drill Pros
  • Two for one

  • Visualization of the scanning process

  • Mount results as a virtual disk

  • File previews

  • Raw photo support

Top Disk Drill Cons
  • Phone support

  • Linux and Apple file systems

  • RAID

  • Bootable disks

  • Recovery over a network

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.

• Excellent recovery results

When it comes to the actual data recovery statistics, Disk Drill is unmatched. Recovering lost documents from a lost partition or a reformatted drive, Disk Drill performed at an optimal 95% recovery rate, which is impressive as this is 4% above the average.

Furthermore, Disk Drill performs exceptionally well when it comes to the recovery of images, at an average rate of 99%. This validates the supremacy of Disk Drill as the top data recovery software.

Disk Drill is powered by various data recovery algorithms aimed at a plethora of file systems, for instance APFS, HFS+, FAT32, EXT, and NTFS.

• Data Protection

The two central features that maintain Disk Drill's supreme reign as an excellent data recovery software are its supplementary data loss prevention utilities.

Disk Drill adds a layer to the Recycle Bin denoted as Recovery Vault, to safely store a backup reference to all deleted files and media. Disk Drill keeps a copy of each recovered file using a unique feature known as Guaranteed Recovery.

• Additional features

Disk Drill is a favorite among digital forensic experts as the software comes with features that allow users to generate binary data image files, enabling them to isolate the manipulation of data within the clone, protecting the original storage container.

• Support

Additionally, Disk Drill offers extensive technical support available through their website.

• Restrictions on the free version

The Basic package enables users to preview files that are recoverable as well as recover previously protected data. Free recovery of other deleted data is capped at 500 MB per computer.

R-Studio Logo

2. R-Studio

Popular among professionals

3.08 Empowering professionals; intimidating home users – R-Studio for Windows is a powerful data recovery software application, but regular home users may struggle to master it and put its capabilities to good use.

Read full R-Studio review
Platforms

Windows macOS Linux

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover files smaller than 256 KB

Price range

$49.99...$899

Overview

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.

Top R-Studio Pros
  • Supports all major operating systems

  • Compatible with many file systems

  • RAID reconstruction module

  • Good performance of file system scanners

  • Network recovery

Top R-Studio Cons
  • Limited preview feature

  • Complicated

  • Unintuitive scanning process

  • Very complex scan results

  • S.M.A.R.T

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.

Since R-Studio was intended to be used by experienced data recovery professionals, it has many advanced features that may not be necessary for the majority of data loss scenarios. For that reason, the company offers R-Undelete, which provides a simplified, wizard-oriented interface that makes it easier for the average user to recover lost data. If you purchase R-Undelete, you can upgrade to R-Studio within a year and only pay the difference in price between the two products.

You can download a free demo version R-Studio, which allows you to recover files less than 256KB in size and preview all data that the tool can restore. Some of the application’s advanced features include the ability to create disk images, a multi-language GUI, and S.M.A.R.T. monitoring technology. It’s a comprehensive recovery tool that should be able to address most of the data loss situations that you may encounter.

Restrictions on the free version:

The only limitation of the free version is that you can’t recover files larger than 256 KB.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Logo

3. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Decent recovery results

3.01 Popular for its trial recovery capabilities – Easy to use and capable of delivering solid results, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is good at what it does.

Read full EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard review
Platforms

Windows macOS

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover up to 2 GB for free

Price range

$69.95...$499

Overview

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.

Top EaseUS Pros
  • Scan results

  • Scan speed

  • Free recovery

  • Support

  • Labeled results

Top EaseUS Cons
  • Pop-up ads

  • Inaccurate time estimations

  • Limited preview capabilities

  • Limited preview size

  • Recovery speed

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.

In fact, EaseUS claims that its data recovery software supports over 1,000 file formats, which would make it one of the most versatile data recovery solutions on the market today. To make data recovery accessible even to inexperienced home users, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard features a guided recovery process, which consists of just three simple steps: device selection, scanning, and file recovery.

Restrictions on the free version:

The free version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard lets you recover 500 MB for free. You can increase the limit to 2 GB by sharing on social media.

Stellar Data Recovery Logo

4. Stellar Data Recovery

2.19 Frequently recommended – Stellar Data Recovery is a good example of data recovery software that doesn’t to anything exceptionally wrong nor exceptionally right.

Read full Stellar Data Recovery review
Platforms

Windows macOS

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover up to 1 GB for free

Price range

$49.99...$599

Overview

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.

Top Stellar Pros
  • Support

  • Repair of photos and videos

  • S.M.A.R.T

  • Preview in safe mode

  • Backup creation

Top Stellar Cons
  • Updates in the free version

  • Lost license information

  • Slow previews

  • Preview limits

  • Scanning speed

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.

Stellar Phoenix works well with media files and documents. The Document Recovery feature accommodates the recovery of MS Office documents such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, while the Multimedia File Recovery manages to retrieve lost photo files such as PNG, JPEG, and TIFF, audio files such as OGG, WMA, and video files such as 3GP, MOV, and MXF.

On the flipside, Stellar Phoenix recovers slightly fewer deleted files than other software, such as Disk Drill. All in all, though, Stellar Phoenix’s full-featured and exceptionally graphic interface is ideal for first-time users looking to recover lost data with an effective, simple tool.

Restrictions on the free version:

The free version allows users to recover up to 1 GB of lost or deleted data.

PhotoRec Logo

5. PhotoRec

Open-source solution

2.28 Intimidating but rewarding at the same time – PhotoRec for Windows offers unbeatable value, but you need to overcome a steep learning curve to unlock it.

Read full PhotoRec review
Platforms

Windows macOS Linux

Distributed as

Free All features are provided free of charge, and the software can be used, studied, and modified without restriction.

Limitations

None

Price range

Free

Overview

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.

Top Photorec Pros
  • Completely free

  • Open source

  • Optional graphical user interface

  • Does not require installation

  • Capable signature scanner

Top Photorec Cons
  • Interface slows down during scanning

  • Window size settings

  • Rarely updated

  • No auto-update

  • Scan automation

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.

As is the case with many open-source software projects, PhotoRec isn’t exactly known for its usability. While a version with a graphical user interface is available, called QPhotoRec, the PhotoRec itself is a command-line data recovery application that’s controlled exclusively using the keyboard. If you’re not used to command-line software, this alone could be a dealbreaker even though the data recovery process is fairly straightforward.

Before you give PhotoRec a try, you can upload a sample file to the PhotoRec online checker to find out if PhotoRec can recover files of the same file format. But considering that it supports more than 480 file extensions (about 300 file families), you’re unlikely to stumble upon a file format that can’t be recovered with PhotoRec.

Restrictions on the free version:

PhotoRec is free and open-source, so there are no restrictions whatsoever.

Recuva Logo

6. Recuva

Popular among Windows users

1.75 Good for basic data recovery jobs – Despite its age and lack of development, Recuva is still worth taking a look at—if only because it recovers an unlimited amount of data for free.

Read full Recuva review
Platforms

Windows

Distributed as

Freeware All features are provided free of charge without any limitations.

Limitations

None

Price range

$0...$34.95

Overview

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.

Top Recuva Pros
  • Completely free

  • Chances of recovery

  • Two operating modes

  • Secure file erase

  • Multilingual capabilities

Top Recuva Cons
  • No Enterprise license

  • Scanning/creation of images

  • Recovering structure and names

  • Recovery odds accuracy

  • Updating the list of drives

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.

The user interface of Recuva is straightforward, so even less experienced users shouldn’t have much trouble figuring it out. We appreciate the ability to preview deleted files before recovery and display detailed information about them, including file headers.

Unfortunately, the last version of Recuva was released in 2016, and it’s clear that its original developers have abandoned this otherwise capable data recovery software application. Still, it’s hard to complain considering that Recuva is free and can recover an unlimited amount of data.

The absence of a graphical user interface could certainly be a major obstacle for many less experienced users, but we found PhotoRec’s command-line interface to be fairly intuitive, which is why we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

Restrictions on the free version:

No technical support.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery Logo

7. MiniTool Power Data Recovery

2.15 Does it have the power to recover your files? – MiniTool Power Data Recovery for Windows makes recovery easy for any user, but its price tag may not justify its abilities.

Read full MiniTool Power Data Recovery review
Platforms

Windows

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Recover up to 1 GB for free

Price range

$69...$499

Overview

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.

Top MiniTool Pros
  • Interface

  • Creating a bootable disk

  • Recover during a scan

  • Scanning speed

  • Support for soft RAID

Top MiniTool Cons
  • No HDPI support

  • Paid option to fix corrupted video files

  • Settings are not saved

  • All file types are not selected by default

  • No resizing of the main screen

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.

From there, the application will take a moment to run and then it will list the detected partitions on the drive. To restore the selected partitions, click Finish. The restored partitions allow a user to view the contained files to verify whether the restored partition is the desired one.

One shortcoming of MiniTool is its random sluggishness, which results in the app’s unresponsiveness once a user proceeds to scan a partition. Nonetheless, MiniTool is adept at recovering lost partitions efficiently without leaving Windows and has a simple interface.

Restrictions on the free version:

MiniTool Free Edition has 1 GB data recovery limit, and it can’t load previous scan results or create a bootable recovery drive.

Data Rescue Logo

8. Data Rescue

2.07 Still worth a try – Data Rescue may be developed by a reputable company with decades of experience, but it doesn’t look and perform like a modern application.

Read full Data Rescue review
Platforms

Windows macOS

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest

Limitations

Preview only

Price range

$19...$399.96

Overview

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.

Top Data Rescue Pros
  • Two recovery modes

  • Disk cloning

  • Zero fill erase utility

  • Speed

  • Configuration

Top Data Rescue Cons
  • Scanning methods

  • No convenience with previews

  • No thumbnail preview window

  • Outdated interface

  • No real-time view

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.

When using the free File Finder you have the ability to make an in-app purchase to recover the files that you have identified as recoverable. A Standard and Professional version are available, and both versions provide you with advanced data recovery tools. You can configure the app to send email notifications regarding current or past scans to allow multiple users to review the scan at their leisure. An intuitive and powerful search facility makes it easy to locate the files you are interested in recovering.

The app supports the HFS and NTFS file systems. It is an excellent data recovery tool for your Windows machine running the Windows 7 or later operating system.

Restrictions on the free version:

You can test the functionality of the product by taking advantage of their free File Finder app. With the File Finder you can determine which files can be recovered before actually buying a license for the product.

UndeleteMyFiles Pro Logo

9. UndeleteMyFiles Pro

0.59 Spoiler: It probably won’t undelete your files – UndeleteMyFiles Pro struggles to meet the necessary standards for file recovery, destroying any perceived value indicated by the free price tag.

Read full UndeleteMyFiles Pro review
Platforms

Windows

Distributed as

Freeware All features are provided free of charge without any limitations.

Limitations

None

Price range

Free

Overview

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.

Top UndeleteMyFiles Pro Pros
  • Completely free

  • Decent quick scan results

  • Free add-ons

Top UndeleteMyFiles Pro Cons
  • Only Quick Scan

  • There is no signature scanner available

  • The project is abandoned

  • Scan only partitions

  • Preview only in Media Recover feature

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.

It can recover a complete file system or just selected files and has a Mail Recovery Wizard to assist with recovering deleted emails. The File Wiper securely deletes your files permanently, and the tool enables you to create an emergency disk image for safe data recovery.

UndeleteMyFiles Pro features a quick and easy two-step data recovery process that makes it completely painless to recover any files that used to reside on your system. Considering that it was last updated 8 years ago, it shouldn’t really surprise you that it can’t recover nearly as many file formats as some other data recovery software applications on this list.

Restrictions on the free version:

UndeleteMyFiles Pro is completely free without any restrictions.

Undelete 360 Logo

10. Undelete 360

0.78 Prepare to be disappointed – Undelete 360 presents itself as a free and unlimited data recovery application, but the reality is very different.

Read full Undelete 360 review
Platforms

Windows

Distributed as

Freemium Some features are provided free of charge, but money is required to unlock the rest.

Limitations

Only basic file recovery

Price range

$0...$69

Overview

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.

Top Undelete 360 Pros
  • Free recovery

  • Recovery chances

  • Filtering by file type

  • Multiple languages

  • Good file deletion functionality

Top Undelete 360 Cons
  • The program is not completely free

  • Only Quick Scan

  • No signature scanner

  • The project can be considered abandoned

  • Scan only partitions

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.

The user interface of Undelete 360 gives away the fact that this data recovery software comes from the Office 2010 era, when ribbon-based user interface design was all the rage. While still easy to use, the user interface looks a bit dated today, and it could definitely use an overhaul. Unfortunately, that most likely won’t ever happen because its developers have moved on to other projects.

Restrictions on the free version:

Only basic file recovery.

Honorable Mentions

Narrowing available data recovery software applications down to just the top 10 best options wasn’t easy. There are several applications you should know about even though they didn’t make the list, so we’ve decided to include them here as honorable mentions.

iBeesoft Data Recovery

This data recovery application didn’t make the list because it’s a clone of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard (or quite possibly another version of the same white label product). However, that’s also the main reason why it deserves your attention, especially if you manage to buy it at a heavily discounted price during a special sale.

Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery

Given that Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery is one of the most popular data recovery solutions around, we think that you should at least check it out. What you may not like is that all of its versions lack several essential features, such as the ability to save scans.

AnyRecover Data Recovery

As if there weren’t enough clones already, there’s also AnyRecover Data Recovery—a clone of Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery. What makes this clone stand out is the fact that it’s sold at a discounted price in a bundle with other recovery tools, including iMyFone ScanOutlook, a powerful Outlook repair tool to repair corrupted PST/OST files.

Puran File Recovery

Even though Puran File Recovery is compatible with Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10, the application looks and feels nothing like modern Windows software because it was last updated in 2013. Still, you may want to take a quick look at it because it works great on old computers and delivers satisfactory data recovery results.

Wise Data Recovery

This data recovery tool promises to recover over 1,000 types of files from a variety of devices, but, during our testing, it failed to deliver good results on computers running the latest version of Windows 10.

Glarysoft File Recovery

The developers of this data recovery tool are known mostly for their collection of computer cleanup and optimization utilities, and they don’t hesitate to leverage their name for marketing purposes. That may explain why Glarysoft File Recovery feels like white label software that’s been quickly repackaged instead of developed from scratch.

Kickass Undelete

If you’re a fan of open-source software, then make sure to check out Kickass Undelete. Just don’t expect it to rival the top 10 best data recovery software applications described in this article because it only supports FAT and NTFS filesystems and sports an outdated user interface.

DiskGenius

This professional data recovery software offers many useful features, such as the ability to back up and restore a partition table or clone an entire storage device, but its user interface looks like it has arrived from the past using a time machine.

Recover My Files

One look at the user interface of this data recovery application should be enough to tell you that it’s outdated. But despite its old age, it still holds up relatively well, especially when it comes to the recovery of basic file formats from Windows drives.

SysTools Data Recovery Software

On the paper, SysTools Data Recovery Software seems like a highly capable data recovery solution, but looks can be deceiving. In reality, SysTools Data Recovery Software is not only difficult to use, but its data recovery performance leaves a lot to be desired. Why give it a try then? Its extensive file format support is one reason, and its ability to preview recoverable data items is another.

Ontrack EasyRecovery

In the past, Ontrack EasyRecovery used to be a fairly capable clone of Stellar Phoenix, but those days are gone. Developers have since then abandoned the application, focusing on other projects instead. But one reason to download Ontrack EasyRecovery remains its ability to recover up to 1 GB of files that are less than 25 MB large.

Remo Data Recovery Software

With Remo, you can recover more than 300 file formats from all kinds of storage devices and preview recoverable files prior to their actual recovery. The recovery results can be a hit or miss, but there’s a free version that you can use to evaluate the software.

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Comparison table #

The comparison table below provides an overview of all data recovery software applications that have made our list.

FeatureDisk DrillR-StudioEaseUS Data Recovery WizardStellar Data RecoveryPhotoRecRecuvaMiniTool Power Data RecoveryData RescueUndeleteMyFiles ProUndelete 360
Total Score Free Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque.
Disk Drill 100% - Disk Drill

100%

R-Studio 80% - R-Studio

80%

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard 78% - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

78%

Stellar Data Recovery 57% - Stellar Data Recovery

57%

PhotoRec 59% - PhotoRec

59%

Recuva 46% - Recuva

46%

MiniTool Power Data Recovery 56% - MiniTool Power Data Recovery

56%

Data Rescue 54% - Data Rescue

54%

UndeleteMyFiles Pro 15% - UndeleteMyFiles Pro

15%

Undelete 360 20% - Undelete 360

20%

RequirementsWindows 7-11Windows 2000-11Windows 7-11Windows 7-11Windows XP-10, 11 (unofficial support)Windows XP-10, 11 (unofficial support)Windows 7-11Windows 7-11Windows XP-7, 8-11 (unofficial support)Windows XP-11
Clever in-depth scan
Quick scan
Distributed as Freemium Freemium Freemium Freemium Free Freeware Freemium Freemium Freeware Freemium
Trial version available
Trial version limitations Recover up to 500 MB for free Recover files smaller than 256 KB Recover up to 2 GB for free Recover up to 1 GB for free Freeware. No limits Freeware. No limits Recover up to 1 GB for free Preview only Freeware. No limits Freeware. No limits
Starting price$89.00 / Perpetual$49.99 / Perpetual$69.95 / 1 month$49.99 / 1 yearFreeFree$69.00 / 1 month$19.00 / 1 fileFreeFree
See Plans & Pricing Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details
Raw photo recovery
Video formats recovery
Document formats recovery
S.M.A.R.T.
Helpdesk support
Live chat
Phone 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.

disk drill for windows scanning for deleted files

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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

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.
Jeff Cochin
Jeff Cochin
Author

Jeff Cochin is a data management and recovery professional, who has been with Pandorarecovery for nine years and has always been an essential part of the team. Jeff also works as a technical writer at Macgasm, being a first hand in testing, trying and writing about big and small tech software.

Nikolay Lankevich
Nikolay Lankevich
Approver

Nikolay Lankevich has over 15 years of strong experience in various fields and platform includes Disaster Recovery, Windows XP/7. System analysis, design, application (Inter/Intranet) development, and testing. Provided technical supports on desktop and laptops on Win-XP and Macintosh for about 2000 employees.