Disk Drill Review 2021: Is it Worth a Try?

Robert Agar
Written by
N. Lankevitch for pandorarecovery
Approved by
2680

disk drill review

Data loss is a problem faced by many computer users. The sudden disappearance of important files or folders can lead to excessive stress and panic. But in many cases, a data recovery tool can help resolve the issues by restoring your lost files.

Disk Drill Data Recovery Software is an application that has been helping users restore deleted data for years. Recently version 4.3 was released, which includes a shiny new user-interface and data protection capabilities. We are going to take a tour of this software tool to help you if it’s the right data recovery product for your situation.

Here is a quick table summarizing our review of specific aspects of Disk Drill.

Parameter

Score

Features

9.5/10

Recovery Process

9.0/10

Usability

9.5/10

Pricing

9.0/10

Support

8.5/10

#1 Features

One of the most important aspects of a software application is the range of features that it offers. Let’s take a look at what you can expect when you download and install Disk Drill on your machine.

free data recovery software Disk Drill for Windows & macOS Free Download

What Makes Disk Drill Different from Other Popular Solutions on the Market?

Before we dive deep into Disk Drill’s features, let’s briefly discuss what makes it different from other popular data recovery solutions on the market. 

To start with, Disk Drill is designed with simplicity and usability in mind. Its goal is to empower casual computer users to solve complicated data loss scenarios without paying a lot of money for expensive data recovery services. Disk Drill achieves this goal with a straight-forward user interface and its signature one-click recovery process. 

Unlike many other similar data recovery solutions, Disk Drill recognizes that data loss is a complex problem that must be solved at its origin. That’s why it comes with useful data backup and data protection tools, allowing users to protect all important files against accidental deletion, corruption, and hardware malfunction. 

Above all else, Disk Drill stands out because it actually delivers the results it promises. It doesn’t matter if you need to recover important school or business documents, family pictures, or an archive with a project you’ve been working on for the last month—Disk Drill is always the right tool for the job.  

User-Interface

Disk Drill’s interface is easy to navigate and makes all of its features readily available to the user. A panel on the right side of the main window lets you choose from data recovery, data protection, or drive backup. You can also choose from among recent scanning sessions or load those that were previously saved.

disk drill

Menu bar options enable you to display your disks in a tree or detailed format, and choose whether to use hardware disks or logical volumes for a scan. Scan results are displayed in the main window, and your scans can easily be paused and restarted with a click.

disk drill recovery software

Clicking on Data Protection opens a window displaying the current Recovery Vault settings and allows you to make configuration changes to protect your data. The Drive Backup option walks you through the process of creating a byte-level backup of your disk to be used for recovery at a later time.


Recovery capabilities

Disk Drill addresses all types of data loss scenarios including accidentally formatted disks, recovering files from an emptied Recycle Bin, and corrupted SD cards. It uses sophisticated algorithms that scan your drive for recoverable data and can find your deleted music, photos, videos, and documents.

disk drill v4.0

Scans can be paused, saved and restarted, giving the user flexibility in recovering their data. The result of a scan can be mounted as a virtual disk, allowing you to move files as you would with any other folder. This makes it extremely easy to relocate your files safely after they have been recovered. You can select to use just a single scanning method or employ them all to run in the optimal order for the most thorough data recovery.

When Disk Drill discovers recoverable files, it, by default, calculates their recovery chances, checking if the files are intact or partially overwritten with unrelated data. Files that are intact are marked green, files that are partially corrupted are marked yellow, and files that are heavily corrupted are marked red. The color grey is used for files whose recovery chances can’t be calculated.

disk drill overview


Additional data protection tools

The additional data protection tools included with all versions of Disk Drill are one of its most outstanding features. You can configure the tool’s Recovery Vault to protect your important files and folders from inadvertent deletion. It functions as a supplemental Recycle Bin and enables you to quickly recover lost data without performing the full scanning and recovery process.

disk drill alternatives

Creating a byte-level backup of your disk can be instrumental in protecting data on drives that are experiencing problems. Rather than subjecting a failing disk to the multiple reads and writes associated with data recovery, you can use the backup to perform your recovery. Working in this way means your disk will only be accessed once more to create the backup. This minimizes the chances of a catastrophic failure before you can save its data.

disk drill professional review


Here is an overview of the features and some of the weaknesses of Disk Drill.

Feature

Disk Drill

Recover deleted files

Yes

Recover deleted files from an emptied Recycle Bin

Yes

Recover data from formatted disks or partitions

Yes

Find lost partitions

Yes

User-friendly interface

Yes

Intuitive recovery process

Yes

Windows and macOS support

Yes

Linux support

No

Data loss prevention tools

Yes

Display scan results as a folder

Yes

Repair damaged partitions

No

Recover data from any disk-based device

Yes

Over 400 file formats supported for recovery

Yes

Filter recovery files for faster scanning

No

Here’s an overview of the types of files and file systems that Disk Drill can recover.

Recoverable file formats include:

  • Images – JPEG, RAW, PNG, Illustrator, Photoshop
  • Documents – Word, Excel, plain text, Powerpoint, PDF
  • Audio – MP3, WAV, AIFF, Ogg, AAC
  • Video – WMV, AVI, MPEG-4, QuickTime
  • Archives – Zip, Gzip, Stuffit, RAR

File systems that can be recovered include:

  • Windows – NTFS, FAT16/32
  • macOS – HFS, HFS+, APFS
  • Linux – EXT3/EXT4
  • Removable storage – exFat

CleverFiles, the developers of Disk Drill for Windows 4.3 have included advanced functionality and data protection capabilities in their data recovery tool. Let’s take a closer look at the application’s recovery process, which is probably the feature that interests you the most.

#2 Recovery Process

Here is a step-by-step guide that demonstrates the ease with which you can perform solve common data loss scenarios with Disk Drill.

Before you can begin recovering deleted files using Disk Drill, you need to:

  1. Download Disk Drill from its website. If your goal is to recover data from your machine’s main hard drive, you should use an external hard drive or USB flash drive to download the application. That way, you can avoid overwriting the same files you’re trying to recover. 
  2. Install Disk Drill on your computer. Again, don’t install Disk Drill on the same storage device from which you’re trying to recover your files. 
  3. disk drill reviewLaunch Disk Drill and select the device from which you want to recover data. You will be asked to give Disk Drill admin permissions, which the application needs to scan your storage device at the file system level. Don’t worry: Disk Drill is completely safe, and it won’t harm your computer in any way. disk drill

Situation #1 – I need to recover files from an emptied Recycle Bin 

Windows features a special storage folder for deleted files, called the Recycle Bin. When you delete a file by hitting the Delete key on your keyboard, the file is moved to the Recycle Bin, and it stays there until the Recycle Bin is emptied. This gives you a chance to easily recover it back to your computer. 

But what if the Recycle Bin has already been emptied and your file is nowhere to be found? In that case, you can scan your main system drive (which is where the Recycle Bin is located) using Disk Drill to get it back. 

  1. Launch Disk Drill and select your system drive and click the Search for lost data button to start scanning for recoverable files. You can accept the default which will execute all recovery methods in their optimal order or select a specific method such as Deep Scan.disk drill recovery software
  2. You will be presented with a window containing a status bar at the top which indicates the progress of the scan. The window displays the number of files found in various categories such as documents, video, audio, and pictures.disk drill v4.0
  3. Disk Drill automatically indicates how recoverable each file is by assigning it an easy-to-understand color label. The files can be additionally previewed before committing to recovery by selecting the Preview view from the View dropdown on the menu bar.disk drill overview
  4. When the scan is complete you can select the files you wish to recover by checking the box to the left of the filenames. Once you make your selection click the Recover button.disk drill alternatives
  5. A dialog box will be displayed in which you select the location at which you want to store your recovered data. Don’t use its original location, as this can lead to data corruption while the recovery is being performed.
  6. After selecting the recovery location, click the OK button.

    disk drill professional review

Situation #2 – I need to restore photos from a formatted SD card or USB drive

A huge number of data loss scenarios involve removable storage devices, such as memory cards and USB flash drives. The good news is that Disk Drill supports all file systems commonly associated with removable storage devices, including FAT, FAT32, and exFAT. 

  1. Connect your removable storage device to your computer and launch Disk Drill.
  2. Select the connected storage device and click Search for lost data button to start scanning for recoverable files. We recommend you run all recovery methods in the optimal order to obtain the best results possible.cf card disk drill select
  3. Either wait for the recovery process to finish or click the Review found items button to immediately see recoverable files. 
  4. Use the filters on the left to narrow down the scan results to just Pictures
  5. Pay attention to the recovery chances labels assigned to your files and use the preview feature to ensure that your photos are not corrupted. Photos that are marked green and can be previewed without any problems can also be recovered.
  6. Select your photos and click the Recover button.disk drill cf card select recover

Just like when recovering files from the Recycle Bin, you must recover to a different storage device than the one you’re recovering from. In this case, you can recover to your main hard drive. 

Situation #3 – I need to restore data from a deleted partition

Being a comprehensive data recovery software solution, Disk Drill can recover lost files not only from storage devices with intact partitions but also from partitions that have been accidentally deleted or lost to corruption and malware. Best of all, Disk Drill makes everything just as simple as it does when performing simpler recovery jobs.

 

  1. Launch Disk Drill and select the storage device that used to contain the deleted partition.
  2. Click the Search for lost data button and let Disk Drill run all recovery methods in the optimal order. disk drill partition select
  3. Wait for scanning to finish and select the deleted partition to see all recoverable files. 
  4. Choose which files you want to recover and which you want to leave behind. Again, all files with high recovery chances (color green) can be recovered without any issues.disk drill lost partition
  5. Can click the Recover button and specify a safe recovery directory.disk drill partition recover select annotated
free data recovery software Disk Drill for Windows & macOS Free Download

That’s it. When recovery is complete a message will be displayed notifying you that the procedure was successful. As you can see, even something as complex as partition recovery can be straightforward with Disk Drill. 


Performance

Recovery performance is dependent on a number of factors that are beyond the control of the application performing the restore. Hardware considerations, virtual memory, and the type of data on the drive can all affect the time it takes to completely scan your disk.

A complete scan using all methods on a 931 GB hard drive in my Windows laptop would have taken almost eight hours to finish as reported by the scanning timing status displayed at the bottom of the recovery window. The quick scan of that drive was finished in around five minutes and found the files I was interested in recoverin.

disk drill review

A complete scan of a 16 GB flash drive took about nine minutes to finish. I created a folder with several files and then deleted them prior to the recovery test. Disk Drill did successfully recover those files.

Disk Drill provides a simple and streamlined data recovery process that can be performed by users with any level of computer knowledge. In the matter of a few clicks, you can begin to recover your lost or deleted data. Seasoned data recovery professionals and novice computer owners will enjoy the intuitive and user-friendly recovery process.

#3 Pricing

Disk Drill offers several different pricing models to address the varied needs of its users. From single users to a business environment, Disk Drill has a pricing option right for you.

Version

Price

Limitations or Perks

Primary usage scenario

Basic Version

Free

500 MB recovery;

Preview all recovery features;

Data protection tools are included.

Testing the application for small data recovery tasks.

Pro Version

$89

Unlimited recovery;

Full access to all features;

1 user 3 activations.

Best for a single user with large data recovery requirements.

Enterprise Version

$499

Unlimited recovery;

10 users and unlimited activations;

Comprehensive commercial data recovery for your business;

Priority customer support.

Appropriate for company-wide data recovery.

disk drill

All paid versions of Disk Drill for Windows 4.3 includes Disk Drill for macOS to fully protect your data on either popular computing platform. Discounts may also be available from the CleverFiles download site.

#4 Customer support

CleverFiles offers an extensive knowledge base and access to FAQs by simply clicking Help in the upper-right of the main window. You can also engage support through email at this link. Enhanced support is offered for owners of the Enterprise version.

disk drill recovery software

#5 Disk Drill Alternatives

The table below shows how Disk Drill stacks up against popular competing data recovery solutions. We compared the application against recovery tools selected because of their popularity among Windows 10 users.

Parameter

Disk Drill

EaseUS Data Recovery

Stellar Data Recovery

Recovery interface and usability

9.5

8.5

8.5

Recovery capabilities

9.0

8.0

8.0

Pricing

Flexible pricing terms are available

Subscriptions are required.

Flexible pricing terms are available

Support

Email and knowledge base

Email, knowledge base, and phone

Email, knowledge base, and phone

File formats supported

Over 400

Over 1000

Over 200

Data protection tools

Yes

No

No

Free macOS recovery with paid versions

Yes

No

No

Recovery file thumbnail preview

Yes

No

No

RAID recovery

No

No

Yes

Here’s what real users think about Disk Drill and its main competitors: 

Disk Drill

EaseUS Data Recovery

Stellar Data Recovery

“Disk Drill is a special data recovery tool and it completely recovers all the missed files I need and the free trial is available to check how it works with your system so you can easily learn it’s working.” (G2)

“This software fixed a horrible accidental formatting of my external hard drive which had a lot of 3D resources including Daz3d studio items in the gigabytes of data that I thought I’d never recover.” (G2)

“I had issues with software activation and also some (seemingly) simple data recovery. I called customer service and, without waiting too long on the phone, I was tended to by an astute, knowledgeable, and friendly technician.” (Trustpilot)

“This program has saved my ass on two separate occasions. Thanks to this I didn’t have to start over my exam projects and I didn’t lose experiment data, that I wouldn’t be able to replicate.” (Trustpilot)

EaseUS Data Recovery helped me to recover most of the photographs in good shape. In fact, the trial version is enough to convince as it is not limited except for the data size. (Capterra)

“It was easy to install and run the recovery scans even though it did not actually work for me. It was also a nice interface. (Capterra)

“I’ve had Disk Drill from past 2 weeks and I repaired .jpeg and .png files two times with the help of it. It is what I expected, thank you.” (Spiceworks)

“The program is useless and freezes when trying to hit the recovery button. I have sent screenshots and videos to their customer service, but there is a different person replying every time and they just repeat the same thing that I need to run the scan again.” (Trustpilot)

“Overall there isn’t much not too like, other than it does have difficulty at times recognizing a drive connected via USB that other recovery software can see and access. it’s also a bit slow at scanning the drives, but when dealing with 1+ TB size drives, that is understandable.” (G2)

While all of the apps we looked at give you a good chance of recovering your lost data, Disk Drill offers several extra features that you should take into consideration when selecting a data recovery tool.

FAQ

Verdict

Disk Drill provides all the features you want in a data recovery application. It is a user-friendly solution to data loss that won’t cost you a fortune. The tool guides inexperienced users, allowing them to recover lost files in an intuitive and stress-free manner.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface for streamlined data recovery
  • Powerful recovery capabilities
  • Support for virtually all disk-based storage media
  • Valuable data protection and backup tools

Cons

  • Does not support the Linux operating system
  • Full scans using all available methods can be time-consuming
  • No phone support

Overall

Disk Drill for Windows is a flexible data recovery application that gives you a good chance of successfully restoring your data. It’s also a great solution for those who need user-friendly data protection and data backup capabilities. Download the app for free, and give it a test-drive to see if it’s right for you.

Robert Agar
Robert is a freelance writer and technology enthusiast who graduated from Pace University in New York with a degree in Computer Science in 1992. He is a former computer specialist at IBM. During his long career in IT, he has worked for a number of major service providers in various roles related to data storage, management, and protection.
Approved by
Over 15 years 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.