12 Best Data Recovery Software of 2024: A Ranking Validated by REAL Testing

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Best 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 12 best data recovery software applications on this list can help you get it back, and you might not even have to spend any money on them.

Brief selection
Best Overall
disk drill windows icon
4.55
Download Free Official Website
Platform
  • macos
  • windows
Distributed asFreemium
Limitations Recover up to 500 MB for free
Price range $89...$598
2684
r-studio icon
3.88
Download Free Official Website
Platform
  • macos
  • windows
  • linux
Distributed asFreemium
Limitations Recover files smaller than 256 KB
Price range $49.99...$899
5379
easeus data recovery windows icon
3.86
Download Free Official Website
Platform
  • macos
  • windows
Distributed asFreemium
Limitations Recover up to 2 GB for free
Price range $69.95...$799
3024

Why Did We Choose These Data Recovery Solutions?

The 12 best data recovery software tools (plus several honorable mentions) featured in this article are just the tip of a much larger iceberg. Here are the criteria we consider when evaluating available solutions to recommend you those that deserve your attention the most: 

  • Karma

    Our Karma score reflects several important things, including the popularity of a data recovery software application, its maturity, the frequency with which it receives new updates, and the quality of customer support available to its users. Generally, applications with a high Karma score are trustworthy and developed by reputable software companies that are determined to keep improving them.

  • Bang for the buck

    Users are interested in DIY data recovery software because they don't want to spend large amounts of money on professional data recovery, so the best data recovery solutions should be affordable and offer loads of value. Generally, free solutions provide the most value, followed by freemium products, and then paid applications.

  • Performance

    A data recovery application should be able to address multiple data loss scenarios and successfully recover different kinds of user data from different types of storage devices. We at Pandora Recovery test data recovery software rigorously using our standardized testing methodology to learn about their file system-based recovery (relies on file system records) and signature-based recovery (relies on patterns that are unique to individual file formats) capabilities.

  • Usability

    The best data recovery solutions can deliver excellent results while being easy enough to use even for complete beginners who have never recovered lost data before. We look for applications that have a modern graphical user interface (GUI) with all available options clearly explained. Ideally, the entire recovery process should consist of just a few simple steps.

  • Extras

    A software tool’s features are what defines it and often differentiates it from competing products. We look for solutions that have all the features required to reliably recover your lost data. We give extra points to applications that go beyond data recovery with extra features that address the root causes of data loss.

  • Reputation

    The standing of a data recovery solution in the tech community and among end-users is a critical factor in our evaluation process. We assess the reputation of each software by analyzing the likes on our review pages and scrutinizing user feedback and reviews across prominent platforms such as G2, TrustPilot, AlternativeTo, and Reddit discussions. Additionally, we measure software popularity through brand search volumes in Google Ads and Ahrefs.com analytics.

Attention

We have tested each and every data recovery solution recommended in this article, and we encourage you to read our full reviews for more information about them (links below). We also recommend you take a look at other Mac and Windows reviews we've published. Finally, you can save a lot of time by using our software picker to quickly choose the best data recovery tool for you. 

Top 12 Data Recovery Software Tools According to Our Testing Results

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Here are our top 12 favorite data recovery software applications that you can use to get back your lost data. 

Disk Drill Logo

1. Disk Drill

Top pick

4.55 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

WindowsmacOS

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

Quick overview

Choosing the best hard drive data recovery software was easy because Disk Drill exists. Its developer, CleverFiles, has been improving this mature application since 2010, expertly combining state-of-the-art recovery performance with a modern, easy-to-use user interface. 

Disk Drill for Windows – Gallery
Top Disk Drill Pros
  • One license unlocks two versions of Disk Drill. You need to purchase only one license to unlock both Disk Drill for Windows and Disk Drill for Mac.
  • Free data recovery. Disk Drill for Windows can recover up to 500 MB for free, allowing users to test the software’s capabilities before committing to purchasing a full license.
  • Excellent data recovery results. The software is able to achieve a consistently high success rate in recovering deleted or lost files.
  • Extra data protection features. Disk Drill includes features such as SMART monitoring and data protection, which can help prevent data loss in the future.
  • Developed by a highly reputable company. The data recovery application is developed by CleverFiles, a company with a solid reputation in the data recovery industry.
  • Free unlimited preview. Disk Drill allows users to preview the files that will be recovered, without any limitations.
Top Disk Drill Cons
  • Phone customer support isn't available. The developers of Disk Drill offer only email and live chat support.
  • Bootable disks. The software lacks the ability to create custom boot disks.
  • Video and photo repair is not supported. This functionality is offered as an additional feature by some competing software.
Detailed overview

Value

Disk Drill is available for Windows and macOS, with both versions offering unlimited preview capabilities (the Windows version even lets its users recover up to 500 MB of data for free). When you purchase a Disk Drill license, you unlock both Disk Drill for Windows and Disk Drill for Mac for a single one-time payment. Optional lifetime upgrades are also available, and they're worth the added cost because major Disk Drill updates are released fairly regularly. Included with Disk Drill are extra data protection tools that address core causes of data loss. Recovery Vault, for example, remembers file metadata to significantly increase recovery chances without taking up valuable storage space, while Guaranteed Recovery creates full copies of files stored in specified folders to guarantee their recovery (Mac only).

Performance

In our tests, Disk Drill for Windows and Mac successfully recovered almost all test files (95%-97% success rate across three categories) by their signatures. As for recovery based on file system records, it's no coincidence that the Windows version emerged as a capable solution for recovering data from Windows file systems (FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS). The macOS version of Disk Drill can also confidently recover HFS+ and APFS partitions, and, just like the Windows version, it also works great with EXT4 partitions. The application earned extra points for its BitLocker support, partition recovery capabilities, support for disk images, and other useful data recovery capabilities. Moving back to file signatures, while Disk Drill can confidently recover hundreds of file formats, its raw photo recovery performance deserves the most praise. CR2/3, CRW, DNG, NEF, RW2, X3F, and many other raw formats used by popular digital cameras are supported flawlessly. The latest version of the data recovery software can reconstruct and recover damaged RAID arrays, and it does so quickly and with unique non-intrusive read-only algorithms.

Usability

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 makes it easy to achieve impressive data recovery results. It takes just one click to initiate the data recovery process. From there, Disk Drill displays a convenient summary of data recovery results, which is updated in real time to show exactly how many files have been found and how long it will take to complete the recovery. Users can either patiently wait for the recovery process to finish, or they can move it to the background and jump straight to analyzing found files.

R-Studio Logo

2. R-Studio

Popular among professionals

3.88 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

WindowsmacOSLinux

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

Quick overview

R-Studio provides advanced Windows, Mac, and Linux with extensive recovery options, helping them address a wide range of different data loss scenarios. 

R-Studio for Windows – Gallery
Top R-Studio Pros
  • Runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux. R-Studio is a cross-platform software, which means it can be used on any of the major operating systems.
  • Can automatically reconstruct broken RAIDs. The application is equipped with advanced RAID reconstruction capabilities that enable it to automatically detect and reconstruct broken RAIDs.
  • Supports the most widely used file systems. R-Studio supports a wide variety of file systems, making it compatible with most storage devices.
  • Great scanning performance. Independent tests have demonstrated that R-Studio can achieve great scanning capabilities.
Top R-Studio Cons
  • Very complicated for regular home users. Because R-Studio is geared towards advanced or professional users, it may be too complex for regular home users.
  • All-inclusive licenses are very expensive. R-Studio is not cheap, and its all-inclusive licenses can be shockingly expensive.
Detailed overview

Value

This freemium data recovery software offers a good value for money. You can download a free demo version of R-Studio, which allows you to recover files less than 256KB in size and preview all data that the tool can restore. Multiple paid licenses are available to those who want to enjoy unlimited recovery capabilities, and they start at $49.99 (FAT only).

Performance

R-Studio is one of the most capable data recovery applications for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Because the software is designed to run on Windows, Mac, and Linux, it supports all commonly used file systems. As for recovery by file system records, R-Studio performs best when recovering data from HFS+, APFS, NTFS, and EXT4 partitions, but its FAT32 and exFAT performance is nothing to be ashamed of either. After all, the software found all 200,000 test files during our review. However, when it comes to signature-based recovery, software struggles with modern RAW photo and video file formats. We also want to highlight that R-Studio boasts impressive RAID recovery capabilities thanks to its ability to automatically reconstruct broken RAID arrays.

Usability

A quick glance at its busy and decisively functional user interface should be enough to tell you that not much effort has been put into making the application accessible to regular home users, with many usability features requiring a lot of effort to locate. Indeed, R-Studio is aimed primarily at advanced users and data recovery professionals, who generally prefer applications that prioritize function over form. Home users are encouraged to purchase R-Undelete, which is a simplified version of R-Studio from the same developers.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Logo

3. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Decent recovery results

3.86 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

WindowsmacOS

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...$799

Quick 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.

EaseUS Data Recovery for Windows – Gallery
Top EaseUS Pros
  • Modern user interface helps find lost files. The user interface of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is designed to be intuitive and easy to use.
  • Can recover up to 2 GB of data for free. This means users can evaluate the application’s data recovery capabilities without making any commitment. But only if you agree to share the software on your social media.
  • Promotional discounts and coupons are available. EaseUS often offers promotional discounts and coupons via affiliate websites.
  • Responsive customer support. A variety of support options, including email, live chat, and phone support, are available.
Top EaseUS Cons
  • The application contains pop-up ads. When using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, you may encounter annoying pop-up ads.
  • Limits the number of files you can preview for free. The free version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard limits the number of files users can preview.
Detailed overview

Value

The free version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can recover up to 2 GB of data (500MB by default and an additional 1.5 GB if you share it on social media), which is significantly more than what most other freemium products offer. Unfortunately, EaseUS isn't actually as generous as it may seem because the app is riddled with pop-up ads that greatly compromise the overall user experience. We also don't like that the free version limits the number of files you can preview, but that's something you don't need to worry about if you intend to purchase a license. Before you do, make sure to look for promotional deals and coupon codes because they tend to be readily available, allowing you to save a substantial amount of money.

Performance

EaseUS claims that its data recovery software supports over 1,000 file formats, making it one of the most versatile data recovery solutions on the market today. In real testing, however, its signature-based recovery performance is only marginally better than average data recovery software. As for recovery by file system records, the Windows version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard performs consistently well when recovering lost data from NTFS partitions, but it doesn't support modern Mac and Linux partitions. The Mac version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard also doesn't support EXT4 Linux partitions, but at least it can recover HFS+ and APFS partitions well.

Usability

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard makes data recovery simple with its signature guided recovery process, which consists of just three simple steps: device selection, scanning, and file recovery. The application does have a well-designed user interface with support for dark mode, but it lacks some essential quality-of-life features, such as the ability to auto-resume scans of failing drives.

DiskGenius Logo

4. DiskGenius

3.70 More than just regular data recovery – DiskGenius is a feature-rich data recovery solution that equips its users with a highly technical toolset to tackle complex data recovery situations.

Read full DiskGenius review
Platforms

Windows

Distributed as

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

Limitations

Only small files can be copied

Price range

$69.9...$699.9

Quick overview

Do you often format storage devices, adjust partition layouts, and recover lost data? If so, DiskGenius might be a fantastic all-in-one solution for you. 

DiskGenius – Gallery
Top DiskGenius Pros
  • Offers data recovery and disk management capabilities. This makes it a great all-in-one solution for those who don’t want to pay for multiple applications.
  • Fast data recovery performance. DiskGenius is known for its consistently fast data recovery performance.
  • Can boot into a modified version of WinPE. The application can boot into a modified version of WinPE, helping users recover data from unbootable systems or devices.
  • Comes with several potentially data-saving features. DiskGenius includes features such as disk cloning, disk imaging, and disk partitioning.
Top DiskGenius Cons
  • Has a very complicated user interface. Because the application offers so many features, it can be difficult to navigate.
  • Lacks quality-of-life features. DiskGenius is powerful software, but it lacks some of the additional features that make its competitors easier to use.
Detailed overview

Value

DiskGenius is a pretty easy sale because this data recovery program doubles as a disk manager, giving its users pretty much everything they need to troubleshoot disk issues, clone storage devices, detect bad sectors, check for partition errors, and more. A free version is available, but it can recover only files that are 64 KB or smaller, making it pretty much useless. A full license starts at $69.90.

Performance

DiskGenius is one of only a few data recovery applications on this list that can boot into a modified version of WinPE, a lightweight version of Windows used for troubleshooting purposes. Unfortunately, the software is far less exceptional as a data recovery solution in most other ways, and its data recovery performance is close to average. DiskGenius's ability to recover data based on file system records has limitations. It cannot recover data from HFS+ and APFS partitions at all. Additionally, for EXT4 partitions, it can only recover data that was simply deleted, not formatted data. However, the software does support a decent number of file types (signatures).

Usability

There's a good reason why DiskGenius has such a complicated and unappealing user interface: the application combines data recovery and disk management capabilities into a single package. If you have use for them, then the steeper learning curve is worth overcoming because the application has a lot of tricks up its sleeve.

Wondershare Recoverit Logo

5. Wondershare Recoverit

3.70 Can it really recover it? – Wondershare Recoverit comes with an intuitive user interface, but subpar recovery capabilities that struggle to deliver.

Read full Wondershare Recoverit review
Platforms

WindowsmacOS

Distributed as

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

Limitations

Recover up to 100 MB for free

Quick overview

Wondershare Recoverit can do wonders for people who have lost important videos and are struggling to get them back because they’ve been damaged. 

Wondershare Recoverit for Windows – Gallery
Top Wondershare Recoverit Pros
  • Intuitive and enjoyable to use. You won’t run into any usability roadblocks when using Wondershare Recoverit.
  • Excellent video repair capabilities. Wondershare Recoverit is known for its excellent video repair capabilities.
  • Can create bootable recovery disks. The application makes it easy to create bootable recovery disks to recover data from unbootable systems or devices.
Top Wondershare Recoverit Cons
  • Lackluster support for BitLocker-encrypted devices. Wondershare Recoverit doesn’t provide adequate support for BitLocker-encrypted devices.
  • Can scan only individual partitions. If you want to scan an entire storage device in one go, you’re out of luck.
  • Internet connection is required during installation. Sadly, offline installation isn’t supported at the time of writing this article.
Detailed overview

Value

The value of Wondershare Recoverit stems largely from its dependable, easy-to-use nature. It also helps that the free version of Wondershare Recoverit can be used to restore up to 100 MB of data. Once you exceed the free data recovery limit, it's time to choose a paid subscription plan or a lifetime license, and prices start at $59.99 and go all the way up to $449.96.

Performance

Wondershare Recoverit has excellent video repair capabilities that can make all the difference when trying to recover a partially damaged video file. However, when it comes to its overall recovery results by file signatures, Wondershare Recoverit is decent but not particularly praiseworthy. It would be nice to see more RAW photo and video file formats supported because even fairly popular formats like JP2, R3D, and RWL are hard to recover. The good news is that you can still recover any file type using file system records as long as they haven't been damaged or overwritten. However, Wondershare Recoverit shows mixed results in this area. The Mac version delivered decent results with a Quick Scan of HFS+, APFS, and NTFS partitions. However, its Deep Scan was only good for NTFS partitions, while delivering poor results for HFS+/APFS. This is somewhat surprising for a macOS program. Wondershare Recoverit for Windows exhibited similar mediocre results for both Quick and Deep Scans across FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS partitions.

Usability

The application is remarkably easy to use and intuitive. The latest version sports a beautiful user interface that's a pleasure to look at and interact with. Just be careful if your storage device is BitLocker-encrypted because the application doesn't make it easy to work with devices that use encryption technology.

PhotoRec Logo

6. PhotoRec

Open-source solution

3.36 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

WindowsmacOSLinux

Distributed as

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

Limitations

Metadata recovery

Price range

Free

Quick overview

Fans of open-source software, pay attention! PhotoRec is the king of open-source data recovery software applications

Photorec for Windows – Gallery
Top Photorec Pros
  • Completely free and open source. Thanks to its license, PhotoRec can be used and distributed freely without any cost.
  • No installation is required. PhotoRec doesn’t require installation and can be run directly from any storage device.
  • Good signature scanning performance. The data recovery application can quickly locate and recover files based on their file headers.
Top Photorec Cons
  • Only a basic graphical user interface is available. The optional graphical user interface, QPhotoRec, has a very basic interface and is only available for Windows.
  • Lacks features. Most of the features and functionalities that many data recovery software applications provide are missing.
  • Leaves a lot to be desired in terms of usability. Because the application doesn’t have a polished user interface, its usability is seriously lacking.
Detailed overview

Value

You don't need to spend any money to recover an unlimited amount of data for free because PhotoRec exists. This open-source data recovery application is completely free and can be used without any limitations. That's why we can even overlook the fact that it doesn't come with any extras.

Performance

In our review, PhotoRec received an average score because it relies entirely on signature scanning. This reliance on signature-based scanning offers a key advantage: the software functions regardless of the file system's presence, type, or condition. However, a trade-off exists. While other programs often combine scanning methods, signature scanning alone cannot recover metadata. This means recovered data will lack its original file names and folder structure. The good news is that its signature scanning performance can rival even expensive commercial applications. The bad news is that virtually all extra recovery features supported by competing applications, such as bad sector management, the ability to easily work with RAID arrays or recovery chance predictions, are missing. You won't be able to preview recoverable files and choose what to recover individually. Instead, you'll have to wait for the entire recovery process to finish to see what the tool was able to locate and recover in bulk.

Usability

PhotoRec's biggest downside is the lack of a graphical user interface. Yes, an optional GUI is available, called QPhotoRec, but it's as basic as it can be. What's more, the optional GUI runs only on Windows, so Mac and Linux users have to run PhotoRec in their terminal emulator of choice. The official step-by-step recovery guide published on PhotoRec's website helps a lot, but it doesn't replace the convenience of clicking a button.

Stellar Data Recovery Logo

7. Stellar Data Recovery

3.38 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

WindowsmacOS

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

$59.99...$599

Quick overview

Stellar Data Recovery is as average as data recovery software applications get, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’ve already tried a solution or two and are looking for an alternative. 

Stellar Data Recovery for Windows – Gallery
Top Stellar Pros
  • Can repair damaged photos and videos. This capability makes the software a great choice for those who have lost irreplaceable recordings of memorable events.
  • Can create backup images of storage devices. This can be useful for creating a backup before recovering data from a damaged device.
  • Fast scanning performance. The software won’t keep you waiting too long before delivering results.
Top Stellar Cons
  • Limited preview capabilities. Previews are slow, and only 100 MB of data in total can be previewed.
  • Takes a lot of time to process scan results. The time it takes to process scan results can be quite long.
  • Only a few additional features are available. Stellar Data Recovery has a limited number of additional features, especially compared with market leaders like Disk Drill.
Detailed overview

Value

Our full review of Stellar Data Recovery for Windows revealed that the data recovery application is average in virtually every regard, from its data recovery performance to usability to overall value. Its free version can recover up to 1 GB of data, but, strangely, only up to 100 MB of data can be previewed. The Mac version of the software has the same limitations.

Performance

The only area in which Stellar Data Recovery outshines its competitors is the 'recovery' of lost photos and videos. Because the application can repair partially damaged JPEGs, AVI files, and other photo and video file formats, it can save even partially corrupted content that would otherwise be impossible to open. Well, at least in theory it can. In practice, both the Mac and Windows versions of Stellar Data Recovery repeatedly crashed on us, preventing the completion of the recovery process on any tested file system. The signature scanner showed mediocre results, successfully recovering around half of the file types we tested. However, it's important to note that many software solutions struggle to handle even that many file types.

Usability

The user interface of Stellar Data Recovery is perfectly usable but lacks that extra layer of polish that would make it stand out. The Windows version lacks dark mode support, while the Mac app operates exclusively in dark mode. Previewing recoverable items is cumbersome and requires extra steps. Additionally, scan results are limited to a single view mode.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery Logo

8. MiniTool Power Data Recovery

3.27 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

Quick overview

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a data recovery application with a lot of potential, but it may take several major updates for the potential to be realized. 

MiniTool Power Data Recovery – Gallery
Top MiniTool Pros
  • Appealing user interface. MiniTool Power Data Recovery has an appealing and user-friendly interface that makes it easy to use.
  • Good scanning speed. The application’s scanning speed is above-average, so you can recover more data in less time.
Top MiniTool Cons
  • Doesn't support high-density pixel displays. As a result, the application doesn’t look right on many modern computers.
  • Confusing default settings. To achieve the best results possible, you need to change the default settings.
  • Misleading scanning options. It’s not always clear what available scanning options do.
Detailed overview

Value

With multiple subscription and lifetime licenses available, a trial version that allows you to recover up to 1 GB of data for free, and a reputable company behind it, MiniTool Power Data Recovery seems like a high-value data recovery software application. Sadly, its data recovery performance betrays it, and its usability also leaves a lot to be desired.

Performance

When we tested MiniTool Power Data Recovery, the software failed to recover some or all data from HFS+, APFS, and EXT4 partitions. Its NTFS and FAT32/exFAT performance was much better. While the signature scanner delivers mediocre results, which is fairly typical for the industry, Minitool did achieve success with several raw image formats. It also demonstrated decent recovery capabilities for document files. However, many professional video file formats are not supported by its signature scanning.

Usability

MiniTool Power Data Recovery has all the building blocks of a great data recovery tool, including a clean user interface, the ability to create bootable recovery disks, support for RAID arrays and RAW partitions, as well as the ability to scan in the background while you analyze recoverable files. Despite this, and the fact that it has been around for a long time, the tool feels as if it were in the early stages of development. For example, it doesn't support high-density displays, which is baffling considering how prevalent they've become.

DMDE (DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software) Logo

9. DMDE (DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software)

3.61 UX designer’s nightmare. – DMDE is a high-value data recovery application whose biggest downside is its poor usability.

Read full DMDE (DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software) review
Platforms

WindowsmacOSLinux

Distributed as

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

Limitations

Recover up to 4000 files in the opened directory

Price range

$7...$133

Quick overview

DMDE isn’t the friendliest tool for beginners, but what it lacks in ease, it makes up for in robust, professional-grade features and speed.

DMDE for Windows – Gallery
Top DMDE Pros
  • Versatile OS support. From Windows 98 to the latest versions, DMDE has got you covered.
  • RAID reconstruction. This software isn’t just about file recovery; it can even reconstruct broken RAID arrays.
  • Fast and efficient. DMDE scans and recovers data at high speed, saving you valuable time.
Top DMDE Cons
  • Not for novices. The user interface and features lean towards the complex side, not ideal for beginners.
  • Limited preview capabilities. If you’re working with RAW photos, forget about previewing them first.
  • No S.M.A.R.T. analytics. This tool lacks the ability to predict your hard drive’s health.
  • Poor signature scanner. The file signatures of many modern multimedia file formats are not recognized.
Detailed overview

Value

DMDE offers excellent value for money because a single Standard license costs only $48.00, and you can keep using it for as long as you want (no recurring subscription to strain your monthly budget). Before making a commitment to purchase, you can also take advantage of DMDE's free trial to get a feel for the software's capabilities and interface. This allows you to evaluate whether the tool meets your specific data recovery needs without any financial risk. The free trial allows you to recover up to 4,000 files per operation, which is enough to complete most data recovery jobs.

Performance

The data recovery performance of DMDE is slightly above average, scoring a 58% based on a 122-point rating criteria. When it comes to recovery based on file system records, the software performs well with commonly used file systems like NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, APFS, and HFS+. However, it delivers unimpressive results with EXT4 partitions. Additionally, the software falls short in supporting a wide array of file signatures. Advanced users can mitigate some of these limitations by manually adding file signatures, a step that some may find cumbersome compared to competing solutions. These drawbacks are somewhat alleviated by the inclusion of additional features, such as byte-to-byte device backups and bootable recovery drive creation.

Usability

DMDE is clearly designed for pros. It's not that it doesn't care about user experience; it's just that it expects you to keep up. If you're new to the data recovery game, prepare for a bit of a learning curve. For example, the scan results automatically include individual partitions, instead of just physical drives, which can easily confuse those who don't know that storage devices can be divided into multiple partitions. The good news is that DMDE's creator has provided an in-depth official manual (DMDE Manual) to guide users through its features.

Recuva Logo

10. Recuva

Popular among Windows users

3.04 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...$49.95

Quick 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.

Recuva – Gallery
Top Recuva Pros
  • Completely free and unlimited data recovery. Using Recuva, you can recover as many files as you want without any limitations.
  • Translated into many languages. Recuva’s user interface has been translated into 30+ languages.
Top Recuva Cons
  • Subpar data recovery performance. Recuva often struggles to deliver great recovery results, especially when recovering newer file formats.
  • Inaccurate data recovery chance predictions. The data recovery chance predictions displayed by Recuva are often inaccurate.
  • No longer regularly updated. It has been a long time since the last major update was released.
  • Only a small number of file types can be previewed. Many commonly used file types can’t be previewed by Recuva.
Detailed overview

Value

Recuva is free data recovery software for Windows computers that can recover an unlimited number of music files, photos, documents, emails, and any other types of lost files. This alone makes downloading it worth it, especially if your goal is to recover your data while paying as little money as possible. A paid version of Recuva is technically available, but there's really no reason to buy it because the perks that come with it are easy to live without.

Performance

Unfortunately, the last major update was released a while ago, and it’s clear that its original developers no longer care much about this data recovery software application. That's a shame because its performance could certainly be improved a lot. Only around 25% of our RAW photo and video data set was successfully recovered by Recuva's signature-based recovery. This is a disappointingly low number, especially for such crucial file types. The software performed considerably better with document file formats, but the results were still nothing to write home about. Another shortcoming is the software's poor performance when scanning partitions with intact file systems, specifically NTFS and exFAT. Even worse, the software's ability to restore data after file system reformatting or loss showed decent results only for FAT32 partitions.

Usability

Despite not being modern, 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.

AnyRecover Data Recovery Logo

11. AnyRecover Data Recovery

3.62 A simple but basic data recovery tool – AnyRecover Data Recovery is a basic data recovery solution targeted at regular users who don’t plan to do more than get their data back.

Read full AnyRecover Data Recovery review
Platforms

WindowsmacOS

Distributed as

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

Limitations

Preview only

Price range

$59.99...$499.99

Quick overview

AnyRecover Data Recovery presents itself as a user-friendly data recovery solution with decent recovery capabilities, but its performance leaves room for improvement, and some of its marketing claims are exaggerated.

AnyRecover – Gallery
Top AnyRecover Pros
  • Modern, intuitive interface. Makes the recovery process straightforward, even for beginners.
  • iOS device recovery. Includes functionality for recovering data from iPhones and iPads.
  • APFS and HFS+ compatibility. The Windows version of AnyRecover Data Recovery supports Apple’s file systems.
  • Multi-language support. AnyRecover Data Recovery has been translated into multiple languages.
Top AnyRecover Cons
  • Limited file type support. Struggles with many common formats and misrepresents the number of supported file signatures.
  • Inconsistent recovery results. Performance varies significantly depending on file systems and file types.
  • No free recovery option. Only allows previewing recoverable files, not recovering them without purchase.
  • Separate preview module. Requires an additional download to preview files, which complicates the recovery process.
Detailed overview

Value

AnyRecover Data Recovery is available as a freemium product, with a trial version that allows users to scan and preview lost data. The full version, purchasable as a subscription or a one-time payment, ranges from $59.99 for a month's access to $499.99 for a business plan. All AnyRecover Data Recovery plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to test the software’s performance without risking anything. Unfortunately, AnyRecover Data Recovery lacks significant extra features beyond its file repair module, which must be downloaded separately as an add-on.

Performance

AnyRecover's performance is mixed. While it demonstrates adequate results when performing a quick scan to recover files based on intact file system information, it struggles in situations where this file system information isn’t readily available, such as after formatting or loss of the file system. This is especially true when it comes to exFAT and HFS+ storage devices. Also inconsistent is the software’s file system support. It does well with documents and certain image formats, but video file recovery is limited, and the claimed support for 1000+ file types is a significant overstatement. It’s also worth noting that the software boasts full BitLocker support but lacks the ability to scan disk images or lost partitions.

Usability

AnyRecover Data Recovery's strength lies in its user-friendly interface, which makes the data recovery process simple and intuitive. The software automatically employs multiple scan types so that you don’t have to worry about cryptic settings. Instead, you can click the Recover button and rest assured, knowing AnyRecover Data Recovery will figure out the rest. However, the absence of features like auto-resume for interrupted scans and a hex view for detailed file analysis may limit its appeal to more technical users. We also don’t like that you need to download an additional module just to preview files. A feature of this importance should be included by default.

Tenorshare 4DDiG Logo

12. Tenorshare 4DDiG

3.54 All That Glitters Is Not Gold – While Tenorshare 4DDiG Data Recovery software may seem like a shining gem for retrieving lost or deleted files, it's important to remember that all that glitters is not gold.

Read full Tenorshare 4DDiG review
Platforms

WindowsmacOS

Distributed as

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

Limitations

Preview only

Price range

$45.95...$499

Quick overview

Tenorshare 4DDiG is a data recovery software with a strong emphasis on ease of use and accessibility. It stands out with its ability to repair corrupted photos and videos, but its performance fails to impress.

Tenorshare 4DDiG – Gallery
Top 4DDiG Pros
  • Sleek interface. Navigation and feature access are a breeze.
  • Bootable disk creation. Can bypass a non-functioning operating system.
  • Video and photo repair. Helps fix corrupted video and photo files that won’t play.
Top 4DDiG Cons
  • Limited file format support. Performs poorly outside common Windows file types.
  • No free file recovery. You can’t use the software to recover any files for free.
  • Overall recovery quality. Results are inconsistent, especially for non-Windows file systems.
  • Lacks advanced features. S.M.A.R.T. monitoring, hex preview, byte-to-byte backups, and most other advanced features are missing.
Detailed overview

Value

Tenorshare 4DDiG offers a free trial version for scanning and previewing files, but recovery requires a paid plan. Subscriptions start at $45.95/month, with lifetime options also available. A money-back guarantee provides some peace of mind. However, there are many competitors that offer limited free data recovery, giving them a significant edge in value. The inclusion of unique features like bootable disk creation and video/photo repair tools adds to its overall value proposition, but those are also more or less the only extra features available to Tenorshare 4DDiG users, with S.M.A.R.T. monitoring, hex preview, and byte-to-byte backups being the most noteworthy absentees.

Performance

Tenorshare 4DDiG performs adequately when doing quick scans on Windows file systems (FAT32, exFAT, NTFS) for recently deleted data. However, deeper scans yield no results at all with the exFAT file system, whose popularity has increased significantly in recent years in response to memory cards and other portable storage devices offering much higher storage capacities than before. Signature-based recovery results (seeking files based on unique patterns rather than file system records) depend on the type of file you’re trying to recover, with photos and videos, being supported about half the time (RAW file formats like CRW and R3D are not supported at all) and document file formats behind recognized only by about 20% more frequently. 

Usability

Tenorshare 4DDiG excels here. Its modern interface and the inclusion of a built-in tutorial significantly lower the barrier to entry for users new to data recovery. The software additionally boasts multilingual support and the ability to save and resume scan sessions, which greatly enhances user convenience. Overall, the software's approachability and streamlined process make it a solid choice for general use.

Honorable Mentions

Narrowing available data recovery software applications down to just the top 12 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.

Data Rescue Logo

Data Rescue

3.25 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

WindowsmacOS

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

$79...$399

Quick overview

Data Rescue is a venerable data recovery software offering from Prosoft Engineering that has been around for more than 20 years. Sadly, it’s not aging gracefully. 

Data Rescue for Windows – Gallery
Top Data Rescue Pros
  • Two modes of operation are available. One mode is aimed at less experienced users, while the other one provides more recovery settings to play with.
  • Comes with several extra features. Data Rescue is bundled with multiple extra features that increase its overall value.
Top Data Rescue Cons
  • Doesn't automatically use all scanning methods. For some strange reason, users have to manually use each scanning method individually.
  • Inconvenient preview feature. The software always recovers files to a temporary folder before previewing them, which takes up storage space.
  • Internet connection is always required. You can’t use Data Rescue without being connected to the internet.
  • Available only in English. Users who don’t speak English well may find it difficult to use Data Rescue because the application isn’t available in any other language.
Detailed overview

Value

The overall value of a data recovery software application always depends primarily on how many files it can recover and how much their recovery costs. While Data Rescue isn't terrible when it comes to its performance, its per recovery or subscription-based pricing structure has a significant negative effect on its value. At least 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.

Performance

Data Rescue received a below-average score: 43% for the Windows version and 44% for macOS. This penalty reflects its inability to recover data from EXT4 partitions and its very limited success with file system reformatting or loss. While the software's signature scanner performed decently for document files, it underperformed when it came to photo and video file types. The software also can't find lost partitions, scan Windows shadow copies, and recover data from BitLocker-encrypted drives. iOS and Android devices are not supported, but at least it's possible to recover RAID 1, 0, and JBOD arrays.

Usability

Data Rescue is one of the oldest data recovery software applications for Windows and Mac. It caters to both inexperienced and advanced users with its two modes of operation. Over the years, data Rescue has gained quite a few extra features, including disk cloning, secure erase capabilities, and a HEX viewer, just to give a few examples. It seems though that Prosoft Engineering have forgotten to bring the overall user experience to the 21st century because the application looks and feels outdated. Previewing files can be especially annoying because you're required to click the preview button every time you want to see a preview of a recoverable file.

Windows File Recovery

Developed by Microsoft, Windows File Recovery is a command-line data recovery software application that you can download for free from the Microsoft Store and use to recover an unlimited amount of data. While its data recovery performance and usability both leave a lot to be desired, it can address more straightforward cases of data loss, such as recent deletion. Our testing showed that Windows File Recovery can only search for recently deleted files, and even then, it was only successful with NTFS partitions. The software won’t deliver any results if the file system has been reformatted or lost. In terms of file signature recovery, it produced acceptable results for video and document file formats, but performed poorly with photos.

TestDisk

TestDisk is a partition repair tool with basic data recovery capabilities. It has a rudimentary command-line user interface that guides the user in a step-by-step fashion. If you’re dealing with data loss caused by partition-related issues, then TestDisk is the right tool for the job. For example, it’s great for recovering deleted partitions and fixing boot issues. Best of all, it’s completely free and open source.

DiskDigger

DiskDigger is an often-overlooked data recovery software tool for Windows and Android. While the Windows version isn’t particularly praiseworthy, the version for Android can save the day when you need to recover lost data from a smartphone or tablet without connecting it to a computer. Our testing revealed that DiskDigger’s quick scan yielded poor results. Unfortunately, the software lacks a deep scan option altogether. However, the signature scan proved to be quite useful, successfully recovering a significant amount of our data, particularly raw photo and document file formats.

Remo Recover

While Remo Recover boasts some capabilities, its success rate leaves room for improvement. It can recover data from common Windows file systems like FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS, but the recovery effectiveness is underwhelming.
Its signature-based recovery isn’t much better. While it has the highest chance of success with raw photo formats, even in this area, it only performs slightly above average. Recovery results for video formats were marginally better but still poor. Documents fared the worst with this 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 WizardDiskGeniusWondershare RecoveritPhotoRecStellar Data RecoveryMiniTool Power Data RecoveryDMDE (DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software)RecuvaAnyRecover Data RecoveryTenorshare 4DDiG
Total Score 100% 85% 85% 81% 81% 74% 74% 72% 79% 67% 80% 78%
RequirementsWindows 10-11 (x64 only)Windows 2000-11Windows 7-11Windows 7-11Windows 7-11 (x64 only)Windows XP-10, 11 (unofficial support)Windows 7-11Windows 7-11Windows 98-11Windows XP-10, 11 (unofficial support)Windows 7-11 (x64 only)Windows 7-11
Clever in-depth scan good good fine fine fine bad bad fine good bad fine fine
Quick scan good good fine good fine bad bad fine good fine good fine
Distributed as Freemium Freemium Freemium Freemium Freemium Free Freemium Freemium Freemium Freeware Freemium Freemium
Trial version available 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Trial version limitations Recover up to 500 MB for free Recover files smaller than 256 KB Recover up to 2 GB for free Only small files can be copied Recover up to 100 MB for free Freeware. No limits Recover up to 1 GB for free Recover up to 1 GB for free Recover up to 4000 files in the opened directory Freeware. No limits Preview only Preview only
Starting price$89.00 / Perpetual$49.99 / Perpetual$69.95 / 1 month$69.90 / Lifetime$59.99 / 1 monthFree$59.99 / 1 year$69.00 / 1 month$7.00 / 1 monthFree$59.99 / 1 month$45.95 / 1 month
See Plans & Pricing Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details Pricing details
Raw photo recovery good fine good good good good fine fine fine fine good fine
Video formats recovery good fine good fine fine good fine fine fine fine fine fine
Document formats recovery good good good good fine good fine fine good fine good good
S.M.A.R.T. good good bad good bad bad fine bad bad bad bad bad
Helpdesk support good good good good good bad fine good fine bad good good
Live chat good bad good bad good bad good good bad bad bad bad
Phone support bad good good bad good bad good good bad bad bad good

Why Is Data Recovery Software Necessary?

In an ideal world, data loss would never be a problem, and data recovery software wouldn’t be necessary. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, and data loss is something all users have experienced, and many will experience it again in the future for the following reasons: 

  • Accidental deletion: Users make mistakes, and they often accidentally delete important files, such as documents, photos, and videos. Without data recovery software, it may be impossible to recover them.
  • Storage device failure: Hard drives, memory cards, and other types of storage devices can fail due to a variety of reasons, including logical failure. Data recovery software can recover files from a failing storage device before it becomes completely inaccessible.
  • Power outages: A sudden power outage can cause data loss by corrupting the file system, and making your files disappear. In these situations, data recovery software designed to address file system corruption can be a lifesaver by helping you recover lost data.  
  • Malware attacks: Various strains of malware can hide or delete files. Unless promptly recovered, such files may become overwritten and impossible to ever get back. With a capable data recovery application installed and ready for use, the worst-case scenario is much less likely to happen. 
  • Software issues: Software issues, such as bugs, software crashes, and system failures, can also cause data loss, and data recovery software can recover files that were lost due to them. 

Of course, 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. 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.

Attention

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Data recovery software scans the storage device on which your lost files were located to find out if they’re still physically present on it.

Yes, the best data recovery software applications recommended in this article are safe and won’t harm your computer in any way. 

No, Windows doesn’t come with a data recovery software application, but you can download Microsoft’s own Windows File Recovery tool from the Microsoft Store. There are also many third-party options that you can consider if you desire more functionality or a better user experience, including those recommended in this article.

Yes, there are several free unlimited data recovery software applications, including:

  • PhotoRec
  • Recuva
  • Windows File Recovery
David Morelo
Author

David Morelo is a professional content writer with a specialization in data recovery. He spends his days helping users from around the world recover from data loss and address the numerous issues associated with it.

When not writing about data recovery techniques and solutions, he enjoys tinkering with new technology, working on personal projects, exploring the world on his bike, and, above all else, spending time with his family.

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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.