Panic can set in when you discover that some important videos are suddenly missing from your computer or mobile device. Your best chance of getting your valuable data back is to use data recovery software as soon as you notice the missing files. We have put together a list of some of the best data recovery applications so you don’t waste valuable time playing around with inferior software products.
1. Disk Drill
Disk Drill data recovery software is a flexible and reliable application that can restore lost data in over 400 different file formats. This includes all popular video formats as well as many that are less widely used but still important to the user community. The tool features an intuitive interface that makes it easy for users of any level of experience to recover their lost videos. Deep scans can reconstruct files that you thought were gone for good, and all scans can be paused and restarted for convenient recovery.
Disk Drill furnishes users with free data protection tools that can help keep your valuable information secure. Recovery Vault acts like a supplemental Recycle or Trash bin and enables designated files to be recovered without a complete data recovery. You can also create byte-level backups that can be used to recover deleted files from failing storage devices.
- User-friendly and intuitive interface
- Simple file recovery procedure
- Support for virtually any kind of disk-based storage device
- Sophisticated scanning algorithms that recognize and recover hard to find video files
- Free 500 MB file recovery with the Windows trial version
- Extra free data protection tools
- The free Mac solution only previews recoverable files
- Lack of phone technical support
OS support: Windows, macOS
Price: Free trial versions. The Pro version is $89. An Enterprise license is $499.
R-Studio is a commercial data recovery software tool for the Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It’s a cross-platform solution meaning that it can recover video files on any supported operating system from whichever OS you are using at the time. This means you only have to purchase one application to recover files from any system.
R-Studio was originally developed to be used by data recovery professionals but has been redesigned to provide a more friendly solution accessible to all users. It provides network recovery capabilities and has many advanced features that may not be needed by the average user. One excellent option is to customize the tool’s known file types to make it flexible for any video file type you desire.
- Cross-platform support for multiple operating systems
- Customizable known file types for added flexibility
- Recovers videos over a network
- Advanced RAID reconstruction
- Interface and extensive features can be confusing for some users
- Trial version limited to recovering files of 256 KB or less
OS support: Windows, macOS, Linux
Price: Windows $49.99, Mac $79.99, Linux $79.99
PhotoRec is an open-source, multi-platform recovery solution that focuses on the data and can work with any filesystem. The tool can perform recoveries even when the device’s filesystem has been damaged by searching for known file headers. It recognizes over 480 different file extensions including those of many video formats.
This is a command-line application that does not provide the user-friendly interface of some other video recovery solutions. The lack of point-and-click recovery capabilities may make this less attractive to the average user. Filenames are not recovered which slows down recovery efforts when multiple files are involved. Each one will need to be viewed and renamed individually.
- Free and unlimited file recovery
- Supports many video file types
- Freeware that is regularly updated and under support
- Acceptable recovery results for a freeware product
- No preview options are available
- Does not recover the filenames or folder structure
- Command-line interface
OS support: Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Sun Solaris
Here is another paid video recovery software application that supports Windows and Mac systems. It recovers data from all kinds of storage devices including iPhones and iPads. The tool recovers videos, photos, and other types of data from iTunes and iCloud backups. Users who have lost videos on iOS devices might want to check out this solution.
Ultdata has a high recovery rate and uses a simple three-step process for restoring your lost videos. There have been some complaints from users who had problems with the recovery capabilities but, in general, the tool gets positive reviews. It’s a little less expensive than some paid versions if that is one of your concerns.
- Preview files before recovery
- Free lifetime updates
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 24/7/365 help center availability
- Recovers from iTunes and iCloud backups
- Potential problems trying to use the money-back guarantee
OS support: Windows, macOS
Price: Windows $59.95, macOS $69.95
Recoverit is a commercial video recovery application that can restore over 1000 types of file formats. It supports all major video formats as well as many lesser-known file extensions. The tool can be used with just about any kind of disk-based storage device and supports a wide variety of data loss situations.
The advanced version of the tool can repair corrupt videos, scan video fragments, and perform extensive video recovery. You can use a bootable version of the tool to recover data from a crashed operating system, which may be exactly where you lost your videos. Deep scanning and file previews give you more control over what you recover.
- Advanced video recovery capabilities
- 24×7 technical support
- 100 MB free recovery with Windows version
- 7-day money-back guarantee
- Advanced video recovery capabilities
- Recovery can be slow
- May not recover all requested data
OS support: Windows, macOS
Price: Windows or macOS versions are $89.95. Advanced versions are around $120 per platform.
TestDisk is another freeware tool that is designed to recover complete partitions rather than individual files. This can be extremely useful when you have just accidentally formatted a disk or partition that contained a bunch of important video files. The tool can be used to simply collect data about a damaged drive or perform a recovery. It is a command-line tool that may not be suitable for novice computer users.
TestDisk repairs and recovers deleted partitions along with the data residing on them. One of its specialties is making non-booting disks bootable again which can be instrumental in fixing devices that have been subjected to a malware infection. For large-scale data loss scenarios affecting complete partitions, TestDisk is an excellent and free software solution.
- Unlimited free partition recovery
- Wide operating system support
- Support for many diverse types of filesystems
- Not suitable for recovering individual files
- Command-line interface
OS support: Windows, macOS, various Linux and Unix implementations.
Recuva is a basic video recovery tool that uses a Windows File Explorer type of interface. While this is better than a command-line tool, it is not as user-friendly as some of the interfaces of the other applications reviewed. The pro version of the tool supports many types of devices including virtual hard drives. Users on a strict budget may be attracted by the low price of the paid version of the software.
This tool only supports recovering videos on Windows machines and there is no Mac version available. It may not recover all of your files, so if the lost videos are valuable, you might want to try a different solution. In cases where you just need to give it your best shot, the freeware and low price of the paid app make it a tool that you should consider.
- Free version is available
- Deep scanning mode
- Automatic updates
- Recover from damaged disks
- Securely deletes files
- Limited recovery capabilities in the free version
- Cannot recover as much data as higher-priced options
OS support: Windows
What is Video Recovery Software?
Video recovery software is an application that can scan a digital storage device and recover lost or deleted data. In addition to the ability to recover videos, the software can get back any other type of deleted or lost files. The software takes advantage of the way modern operating systems delete information to effectively recover it.
When a file is deleted from a Windows or macOS system, logical access to the data is removed by the operating system. This makes the file unavailable to users but does not physically remove the data from its storage media. This space is marked as available for use by the system, and eventually the deleted file will be overwritten by new data.
Until the data is overwritten, the scanning algorithms used by video recovery software can repair the logical links to the deleted files. This makes the files accessible by the operating system and associated applications. Once a file has been overwritten by new data, it cannot be restored by recovery software. For this reason, you should stop using the storage device and attempt recovery as soon as you realize data has been lost to prevent it from being overwritten and lost forever.
Selecting the Right Video Recovery Software Application
There are several factors that you should consider when selecting a video recovery software solution. Here are the most important points to look at when making your choice.
Operating system compatibility – You need to obtain a recovery solution that runs on your computer’s operating system. Many video recovery solutions offer apps that run on Windows or Mac machines. Make sure you are purchasing an application that will work with your hardware.
Ease of use – Performing data recovery can be stressful and using a tool with a complicated or difficult interface can add to the tension. Look for an application with a user-friendly interface rather than one that requires you to use a complex command-line method of recovering your data.
Recovery capabilities – The reason that you are using data recovery software is to restore your lost videos. Therefore, the ability of the selected application to recover your data is its most important quality. You want a product that has a track record of reliability and success and that can work with the type of storage device and files that are involved in the data loss.
Price – There are free and paid video recovery products available. Many commercial solutions offer limited free recovery during a trial period and are a great way to test drive an app before making a financial commitment.
Using Native OS Features to Recover Your Videos
You may be able to use native operating system features to recover recently deleted videos. Both Windows and macOS systems have a facility that temporarily retains deleted files and makes them available for quick recovery.
On Windows systems, follow these steps to recover deleted videos from the Recycle Bin.
- Open the Recycle Bin by clicking on its icon.
- Find the videos you wish to restore, noting the original location which is where they will be restored.
- Click on Restore to recover the videos.
The macOS operating system has a similar facility for recovering data. Follow these steps to recover lost files from the Trash.
- Open the Trash by clicking its icon.
- Identify the video you want to recover.
- Right-click on the item to select Put Back. The photo will be restored to its original location.
You may also be able to recover your lost videos if you are in the habit of backing up your data. Regularly backing up your videos is considered best practice and is something you should be doing. In some cases, it can be the only way to get back a video that has been inadvertently deleted from your machine.
What Kind of Storage Devices Can Be Used for Recovery?
A quality video recovery software application should allow you to recover from all types of storage devices. It should support recovery from:
- HDD and SSD internal disks;
- External hard and solid-state drives;
- USB flash drives and memory keys;
- SD and SDHC memory cards;
- Digital cameras such as those from Canon and Nikon;
- iOS and Android devices.
What Types of Files Can Be Recovered?
You want a recovery tool that can recover videos in the format you are using. Some of the common video formats should be supported by all recovery apps, but when requiring a deep scan to find long lost files, you should verify the product you select recognizes the file format of the videos you need to recover. Among the formats you want to see supported are:
- AVI, FLV, MOV, MP4, WMV;
- M4V – iTunes video;
- CRM – Canon raw movie format;
- FCP – Final cut pro;
- SWF – Flash movie.
These are some examples of the file types you should look for when considering a video recovery application. As mentioned previously, if you use a less popular format for your videos, make sure the recovery app you select supports it.
Why Did My Videos Disappear?
Many reasons can be behind lost and deleted videos. Here are some of the most common ones and a few tips on avoiding them.
Human error – This is the most common cause of all data loss. Accidentally deleting the wrong files, emptying the Recycle Bin too soon, and inadvertently formatting a storage device all can happen in the blink of an eye. The only real remedy for this problem is to be more careful when performing any type of activity that deletes any data from your system and storage devices. Think twice before deleting that data!
Viruses and malware – Infection with a virus or malware can result in all kinds of system damage including lost and deleted video files. To minimize the risk, you should always run a reliable antivirus tool on your computers and be extremely cautious when attaching a storage device to strange machines that may not be adequately protected.
Environmental issues – Too much heat or humidity can cause havoc with digital storage devices and result in lost or corrupted files. Make sure you keep your storage media out of direct sunlight and preferably in a cool and dry place to ensure that your data remains safe.