10 Best Free Data Recovery Software for Windows

The ubiquity of smart devices today has caused many of us to be undeniably surrounded by a plethora of data. With the influx of data handled every day, there is a looming danger of losing this data by inadvertently deleting essential documents or other files.

Luckily, for victims of these unfortunate harrowing scenarios, there are several top data recovery tools that one can employ to retrieve data back safely.

There's no 100% guarantee that your deleted files will be recoverable, but these free tools will give you the best possible chance.
For each of the best data recovery apps, we've highlighted the features, advantages, and shortcomings. Let us know which is your favorite best file recovery software!

1. Disk Drill Data Recovery

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.


Disk Drill data recovery

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 rootedly 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 featured known as Guaranteed Recovery.


Additional features

Disk Drill is a favorite among digital forensic experts as the software comes with features which 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.


Free version:

Being available in several editions, Disk Drill recovery software accommodates users of multiple levels. The most popular is the freely available Basic package, tailored for personal use. 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 500MB per computer.

Free version recovers up to 500 MB

Pro version:

The PRO version provides full functionality, allowing a user to recover files on various media without any restrictions. The Enterprise version is a commercial license with extended features and permissions such as enabling multiple simultaneous users to run the data recovery software as a commercial service.

2. Recuva

Recuva is free data recovery software for Windows computers. It can restore problem 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.


Recuva

Free version:

  • Recover any number of files

  • No technical support



Pro version:

  • Technical support is available

  • Automatically updates to the newest version

  • Supports virtual hard drives

3. PhotoRec

Our look at free recovery software continues with PhotoRec. It’s another freeware app which 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.


PhotoRec

Free version:

  • Supports all versions of the Windows OS

  • Read-only recovery mode

  • Multi-platform support



See also: Top 15 Photo Recovery Software

4. Undelete 360

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.


Undelete 360

Free version:

  • Compatible with older Windows systems

  • Windows-like user interface

  • Preview recoverable files

5. 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.


MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Here are some of the features of MiniTool Recovery:

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 it's 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.


Free version:

MiniTool Free Edition has 1 GB data recovery limit.


Pro version:

MiniTool provides different license types to meet the needs of users: Personal Standard ($69), Personal Deluxe ($89), Personal Ultimate ($129).

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.


R-Studio Data Recovery

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • More expensive than other solutions
  • Interface and extensive features can be confusing for some users

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.


7. UnDeleteMyFiles Pro

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

Free version:

  • Last update was 2014

  • Compatible with older Windows systems

  • Small (1.51MB) application file size

8. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

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.


EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Free version:

  • Recover 500 MB for free

  • Recover up to 2GB of data by sharing on social media

  • Limited technical support


Pro version:

  • Unlimited data recovery

  • Single user license

  • Free lifetime technical support

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.


Stellar Phoenix

Here are some of the Stellar’s features:

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.


Free version:

The free version allows users to scan for recoverable files.


Pro version:

An upgrade is offered through the purchase of a license key. The Stellar Data Recovery Home license ($60) only recovers files and folders, while the Pro version ($100) comes with an additional partition recovery option.

10. Prosoft Data Rescue 5 for Windows

Data Rescue 5 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.


Prosoft Data Rescue 5

Here are some of the Data Rescue’s features:

Data Rescue 5 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.

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. 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.


Pro version:

Business users can opt for the Professional version of the application which includes a professional user interface that affords more control over your scanning options. Secure file deletion with the secure erase tool and the ability to run the app on 5 devices are features of the professional version of the app. Data Rescue 5 can even perform recovery on RAID arrays.

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.

After all

Mass data breaches and cyber attacks are occurring at a record pace and using data recovery software is a good choice. While it may not always be possible to recover lost data, the programs reviewed in this article offer the best hope of data recovery.

What is the Best Data Recovery Software for Mac? Find out
Check Out Our List of Best Professional Data Recovery Software
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  • Venetia
    Venetia
    Wonderful system! Have used disk drill many times in order to recover my lost data, documents, and even documents that I didn’t know I lost but needed! Absolutely fantastic! It’s like a time machine when you feel like you have given up all hope.
  • «After extensively using Disk Drill, we've come to the conclusion that this software is capable of recovering data from any storage, or should we say the ones we have tested. Whether it be USB flash drives, external drives, an MP3 player or memory cards, Disk Drill will get the job done without a fuss.» by www.thewindowsclub.com
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