Disk Drill for Windows Review – Is It as Good as They Say?
Out of 5 Total Score
No. 1 Among all Windows solutions
Windows users have almost an overwhelming number of data recovery software applications to choose from, so it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. Read this review to find out if Disk Drill for Windows deserves your attention (hint: it does).
Two for one. When you buy Disk Drill for Windows, you also unlock Disk Drill for Mac.
Visualization of the scanning process. The scanning process is visualized in real time, with information about the number of scanned files and the time remaining available at a glance.
Mount results as a virtual disk. The results of all scans can be mounted as a virtual disk and browsed using File Explorer.
File previews. The program can generate previews for all file formats supported by Windows.
Raw photo support. The raw image scanner is one of the best on the market because it can detect the largest number of raw file formats.
Multiple view options. There are 4 types of view options: files, files and icons, folders, and folders with icons.
Raw video support. Disk Drill for Windows excels at detecting professional raw video formats like Apple ProRes or Braw.
S.M.A.R.T. Supports reading S.M.A.R.T. data from all compatible devices.
Clever scan. The program does a great job of restoring the original structure of files and folders on FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS partitions.
Recovery Vault. There is a module, called Recovery Vault, which can store metadata about deleted files to make their recovery easier.
Byte-by-byte disk copies. It's possible to create both full and partial byte-by-byte disk copies.
Built-in tips and tutorials. On first start-up, Disk Drill for Windows displays helpful tips to guide the user through the recovery process.
Support content. On its YouTube channel, as well as on its blog, there is a vast database of support content that covers all sorts of data loss scenarios and solutions.
Sessions. The program automatically saves scan sessions and has a friendly interface that makes it easily possible to resume scanning later.
Ease of use. The user can browse found files, preview them, filter them, and more while the software is still scanning.
Active disk monitoring. If bad or unreadable disk areas are found during the scanning process, the program recommends the user to create a backup first.
Scanning prompts. When there is a chance to find additional data, Disk Drill for Windows automatically prompts the user to scan again.
Disk status icons. It's possible to display disk temperatures in the system tray.
Auto resume. If the scanning or backup process is suddenly interrupted, the software automatically resumes it as soon as possible.
Free space scan. Disk Drill for Windows can increase scanning speed by focusing on sectors that are marked as empty.
Free recovery. The free version of the data recovery software can recover up to 500 MB of data.
Recovery chances. The program automatically calculates recovery chances, making it obvious which files are recoverable and which are not.
Ability to work with the HFS file system. Disk Drill for Windows can mount HFS disks and make it possible for the user to copy files from them.
Phone support. No phone number to call for support is provided.
Linux and Apple file systems. Very limited support for Linux and Apple filesystems. Often only the signature scan mode works.
RAID. Limited RAID support.
Bootable disks. The software doesn't have an option to create custom boot disks.
Recovery over a network. It's not possible to perform remote recovery over a network.
Video and photo repair. Disk Drill doesn't the ability to repair corrupted videos and photos.
Multi-formatted disk scan results. If a disk has been formatted to multiple different file systems, it becomes hard to understand the scan results.
Restore during a scan. Can't recover files until the scan has finished or been paused by the user.
Scanning speed. The scanning speed is very slow and doesn't exceed 50 MB/sec.
Disk Drill for Windows – Overview#
Even though Disk Drill for Windows hasn’t been around for nearly as long as some other data recovery software applications, its developers have managed to accomplish a lot, and you can test the latest version yourself on any computer running Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11.
|Latest version||4.5.616 • Released 4th Aug, 2022|
|Download size||28.8 MB|
|Category||Data Recovery Software|
|UI languages||Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Italian, English, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish|
|Trial version available|
|Trial version limitations|
|No credit card to try|
|Money back guarantee|
More and more data recovery software applications are embracing the subscription pricing model, but Disk Drill for Windows has yet to join their ranks. Instead, users can choose from two premium versions (one for regular users and one for enterprise customers) and, optionally, purchase lifetime upgrades. There’s also a free trial version that can recover up to 500 MB of data and prevent data loss with its backup and data protection features.
|2||PRO + Lifetime Upgrades||$118.00|
Basic version plus:
|2||Enterprise + Lifetime Upgrades||$598.00|
PRO version plus:
Discounts and coupons
Education, Non-profit & Government
If you are a student, teacher or another representative of an educational establishment, as well as if you need to recover data for a government agency or a non-profit organization, you are eligible for a 20% discount on Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise!
|Get the Deal|
If you already own another data recovery app for macOS or Windows and find it less effective than Disk Drill, you can easily switch to the equal edition of Disk Drill with a 50% discount.
|Get the Deal|
Upgrade to Disk Drill 4
Disk Drill 4 for macOS and Windows is here. To all our current premium users of Disk Drill 1, 2 or 3, a big thank you for supporting us through all these years!
|Get the Deal|
Developer — CleverFiles
The company responsible for Disk Drill for Windows, CleverFiles was founded in 2009, so it’s been around for more than a decade. The company’s headquarters is located in the United States, Virginia.
18% 518.8% than avg
Reflects the share of online traffic within the niche occupied by data recovery software, based on data taken from ahrefs.com (from Google US search engine).
38000 441.1% than avg
Based on the number of brand-related search queries on Google US according to ahrefs.com.
CleverFiles is a highly reputable software company with an impressive BBB customer rating of 4.87 stars out of 5 at the time of writing this review.
2009 • 13 years on the market
901 N Pitt St, Ste 325-D, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
If you’ve ever researched how to recover lost data on the web, it’s very likely that you’ve stumbled upon an in-depth guide published on the official website of Disk Drill for Windows. Indeed, 508 Software, LLC spends a lot of effort on content marketing, trying to promote Disk Drill by showing how it (along with other tools and techniques) can help solve real data loss issues.
Data Recovery with Disk Drill for Windows
Tested on: Windows 11 (version 21H2)
Okay, enough with the facts. We know that you’re just as excited to see how well Disk Drill for Windows performs as we are. But before we describe our experience with the software, let’s take a brief look at our testing process.
How We Test
Instead of simply downloading data recovery software and "playing with it" for some time, we follow our unique step-by-step testing process that we designed from the ground up to reveal how well applications like Disk Drill for Windows perform in the real world and how easy they are to use.
|1||Installation||We expect the best data recovery software applications to be easy to install and get started with because users who have found themselves in desperate data loss situations shouldn't have to jump through all kinds of hoops just to begin the recovery process.|
|2||Source selection||Once installed, the data recovery software should make storage device selection painless, providing enough information about available storage devices so that it's crystal clear which is the right one.|
|3||Scanning process||There's nothing worse than using a data recovery software tool that doesn't display scanning progress in real time, forcing you to wait and hope the scan is still progressing without any issues. It's also great when you can pause the scan at any time and resume it later. These are some of the things we look for when testing data recovery software.|
|4||Managing found data||Even the best data recovery software can't read your mind and know which files you want to recover. That's why it's so important for found files to be organized well. Ideally, it should be possible to preview recoverable files, filter them by file type, and search for files by name.|
|5||Recovery and post-processing||With the right files selected, the actual recovery should be a matter of a simple click. Since it's never a good idea to recover lost data to the same storage device on which they were stored, data recovery software should help select a suitable recovery location.|
In addition to performing one documented test for this review section, we perform as many other tests as necessary to evaluate all recovery methods supported by the software, including Quick and Deep scan methods.
Disk Drill for Windows is a freemium software application, which means that you can download it from its website without paying any money and use it with certain limitations. In particular, you can recover only up to 500 MB of data. To recover more, you can purchase either the Pro or the Enterprise version of the software. The good news is that the free version can be upgraded easily—no need to reinstall the software.
The installation of Disk Drill for Windows is straightforward and shouldn't take you more than a minute or two. When launched for the first time, the application will ask you to configure a few basic settings and provide helpful data recovery tips. You can then proceed with source selection.
The source selection screen displays a comprehensive list of all connected storage devices. You can expand each device to see its partitions. For more information, you can switch to the Info tab, which is where Disk Drill for Windows displays things such as the serial number.
The software can also read S.M.A.R.T. data of all internal and external storage devices that support the technology. To see it, all you need to do is click the S.M.A.R.T. tab.
By default, Disk Drill for Windows runs all recovery methods in the optimal order, but you can manually pick any method you want, such as Quick scan, Deep scan, and partition scan.
For our recovery test, we used the default scan settings and started the scan process by clicking the Search for lost data button.
Disk Drill for Windows runs all available recovery methods in the optimal order by default, it takes more time than many competing solutions to finish scanning, but the wait is worth it because you get comprehensive results on the first go.
Managing found files
One area where Disk Drill for Windows excels is the management of found files. You can choose between several different views depending on if you want to see more information about each file or handy thumbnails, and there are multiple filters in the left pane to help you narrow down the scan results with a simple click.
Disk Drill's preview feature makes it easy to tell apart recoverable files that have been damaged beyond repair from those that can be recovered without any issues. But you don't even need to preview each and every file to know that it can be recovered because Disk Drill for Windows automatically displays the recovery chances of each file.
Recovery and post-processing
Thanks to Disk Drill's preview feature and file filters, it took us just a short while to find the missing files and add them to the recovery queue. From there, we just had to click the Recover button and select the desired recovery destination.
The data recovery software confirmed that the selected destination was suitable before recovering all files. It then displayed a concise summary of the recovery process, letting us know how many files were recovered and providing a button to view them in File Explorer. We clicked the button and confirmed that all files were successfully recovered.
Disk Drill for Windows – Tutorials and Other Videos
To help you better understand how Disk Drill for Windows works, we’ve put together a collection of useful tutorials and other video resources.
Disk Drill for Windows – Full Review
We don’t always look forward to reviewing data recovery software because some applications are a pain to use. Fortunately, Disk Drill for Windows is among the most polished solutions of its kind currently available, so reviewing it was a pleasure.
Disk Drill for Windows is an authentic data recovery software application that receives updates on a regular basis to maintain support with the latest version of the Windows operating system.
Disk Drill users and potential customers can ask questions with live chat and email, but they often don’t have to because of the extensive knowledge base and numerous step-by-step data recovery tutorials that are published on the official blog.
Every 3 months
Available (View full update history)
|4||Latest Windows release supported|
Yes, all good
|5||Genuine or clone?|
|6||Brand name popularity|
|7||Online market share|
|9||Extensive knowledge base|
Disk Drill for Windows offers great value for money because the free version can preview an unlimited number of files and recover up to 500 MB for free. To go beyond the limit and unlock all features of this data recovery software, you can choose between two paid versions with optional lifetime upgrades.
Yes (unlimited time but limited features and data)
|4||Is it free?|
Trial version can recover 500 MB for free
Two paid versions + lifetime upgrades
|6||Unlimited recovery in full version|
Only with Lifetime license
|8||Commercial rights in the cheapest license|
If it wasn’t for the absence of dark mode, Disk Drill for Windows would score 100% for usability. Indeed, the data recovery software is packed with useful features designed to make your life easier, and its user interface is so well-thought-out that it makes recovering lost data almost fun.
We appreciate that Disk Drill for Windows speaks many different languages. When users can configure data recovery software to use their native language, they feel much less intimidated by the task ahead.
|1||Modern user-friendly interface|
|4||Automatic implementation of multiple appropriate scanning methods without user interaction|
|5||Auto-resuming scans of failing drives|
|6||Auto-resuming backups of failing drives|
|7||Convenient source selection on start|
|8||Convenient file-by-file preview of recoverable items|
|9||Convenient thumbnail preview of recoverable items|
|10||Mount recoverable items as disk|
|12||Multiple view modes in scan results|
|13||Hex view for recoverable items|
|14||Filter recoverable items by type|
|15||Search recoverable items by file names|
We test many great-looking data recovery software applications that don’t actually perform all that well when put to the test. We’re very happy that Disk Drill for Windows isn’t among them.
The application’s data recovery performance is decisively above-average thanks to its support for hundreds of different file formats and powerful algorithms capable of restoring data even from encrypted drives (as long as you know the password, of course) and lost partitions.
Disk Drill for Windows should be the first choice of professional photographers and videographers who rely on raw photo and video file formats because of how well it recovers them.
|1||Clever in-depth scan|
|When scanning Windows file systems, the Clever in-depth scan feature works well, but Linux and Apple file systems are not supported.|
|Disk Drill for Windows can reliably find recently deleted files by performing a Quick scan.|
|3||Other types of scan|
|Even encrypted storage devices and lost partitions don't stop this data recovery software from finding recoverable files.|
|All internal and external storage devices are supported, but iOS and Android mobile devices are not.|
|5||Real-life recovery challenge|
|Disk Drill for Windows passed our real-life recovery challenges with flying colors, performing exceptionally well when recovering raw photos and videos.|
|6||Other notable recovery features|
|The software can read S.M.A.R.T. data, and it also has useful data protection and backup features.|
The ability to restore original folder structure and file names. Most consumer-oriented data recovery software applications can attempt to not only restore deleted files but also recover their original file names and folder structure. We call this type of functionality Clever scan
When recovering Windows file systems, including FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS, Disk Drill for Windows can usually restore original folder structure and file names.
Recovery of recently deleted files Every lost minute can significantly worsen the outcome of a data recovery attempt, and Quick scan certainly doesn’t waste your time because it’s designed to find as many recently deleted files as quickly as possible
Disk Drill for Windows lives up to its name by providing great support for Windows file systems and lackluster support for Apple and Linux file systems.
Other scan types
Advanced scan types for solving complicated data loss situations Basic data recovery algorithms aimed at recovering recently deleted data cover only a small subset of the data loss issues users experience every day. That’s why developers also implement all kinds of advanced scan types
|1||The number of formats supported by deep scan|
|3||Windows shadow copies scanning|
|4||Scan for lost partitions|
|5||Recovered files' labeling|
|6||Partial file recovery|
|7||Disk images: scan and recovery|
Underneath Disk Drill’s intuitive user interface are powerful data recovery algorithms that can recover data from BitLocker-encrypted storage devices, find lost partitions, restore file names, and more.
Supported internal and external storage devices Ideally, data recovery software applications should be able to recover from internal and external hard drives, external USB flash drives, memory cards, smartphones, and other commonly used storage devices
|1||Internal and external HDD|
|2||Internal and external SSD|
|3||USB thumb drives / Classic iPods (non-iOS) / FireWire devices|
|7||Recovery from RAID1, 0, JBOD|
The Windows version of Disk Drill can’t recover iOS and Android devices, but all other internal and external storage devices are otherwise supported.
Real-life recovery challenges
Results of real-life data recovery tests performed under controlled conditions It’s one thing to advertise support for hundreds of file formats, and it’s something else entirely to recover them in practice. Our tests reveal whether the data recovery software lives up to its promises
|1||Raw photo recovery|
|2||Video formats recovery|
|3||Document formats recovery|
Raw photo recovery
The ability to recover raw photo file formats used by digital cameras and mobile devices Most modern digital cameras and increasingly many mobile devices let their users capture raw image data in a variety of raw file formats, so having the ability to recover them can be extremely helpful
|1||3fr (Hasselblad 3F raw image)|
|2||arw (Sony alpha raw)|
|3||bmp (bitmap image file)|
|4||cr2 (Canon raw version 2)|
|5||cr3 (Canon raw version 3)|
|6||crw (Canon raw CIFF image file)|
|7||dcr (Kodak digital camera raw)|
|8||dng (digital negative lossless raw image)|
|9||CinemaDNG (Blackmagic, Penelope, Pocket)|
|10||erf (Epson raw file)|
|11||exr (high dynamic-range file format)|
|12||fff (Hasselblad raw image)|
|13||gpr (GoPro raw format)|
|14||heic (high efficiency image file format)|
|15||iiq (intelligent image quality raw Leaf, Phase One)|
|16||insp (panoramic image Insta360)|
|17||jp2 (bitmap image format JPEG 2000)|
|18||jpg (joint photographic experts group compressed image)|
|19||kdc (Kodak digital camera raw image)|
|20||mef (Mamiya raw image file)|
|21||mos (Leaf and Mamiya raw image file)|
|22||mpo (multi picture stereoscopic object file)|
|23||mrw (Konica Minolta raw image format)|
|24||nef (Nikon raw image file)|
|25||nrw (Nikon raw image file)|
|26||orf (Olympus raw format)|
|27||pef (Pentax raw image file)|
|28||raf (Fujifilm raw image file)|
|29||raw (native digital camera file)|
|30||rw2 (Panasonic LUMIX raw image file)|
|31||rwl (Leica raw image format)|
|32||sr2 (Sony raw 2 image file)|
|33||srf (Sony raw file)|
|34||srw (Samsung raw image file)|
|35||tiff (tag image file format)|
|36||x3f (Sigma camera raw picture file)|
|37||x3i (Sigma super fine detail picture file)|
In recent years, even casual photographers and regular smartphone owners have found an appreciation for raw photo file formats. The developers of Disk Drill for Windows are clearly aware of the growing popularity of raw photo file formats because the software can recover most of them extremely well.
Video formats recovery
Video recovery performance measured against commonly used video formats Video file formats have evolved a lot during the last decade, and not all recovery software tools support modern formats used by the latest digital cameras, camcorders, and mobile devices
|1||360 (GoPRO 360 degree videos)|
|2||ari (ARRI professional digital video camera)|
|3||arx (ARRI professional digital video camera)|
|4||avi (GoPRO CineForm intermediate codec)|
|5||avi (MJPG, H.264, MSMPEG4 v2 codecs)|
|6||braw (Blackmagic raw video file)|
|7||insv (Insta360 panoramic AVC H.264 video file)|
|8||insv (Insta360 panoramic HEVC HVC1 video file)|
|9||mov (Apple ProRes 422 Proxy/LT/HQ)|
|10||mov (Apple ProRes 4444 Raw/HQ)|
|11||mov (advanced video coding H.264)|
|12||mov (CineForm HD codec)|
|13||mov (HEVC, HVC1 codecs)|
|14||mp4 (advanced video coding H.264)|
|15||mp4 (HEVC, HVC1, Apple ProRes codecs)|
|16||mxf (advanced video coding H.264)|
|17||mxf (DVCPRO HD codec)|
|18||mxf (ARRI raw, Apple ProRes codecs)|
|19||mxf (XDCAM HD422, HD35 MPEG2 codecs)|
|20||r3d (Red digital camera company raw video file)|
|21||wmv (pro raw 9 codec)|
The fact that Disk Drill for Windows has no trouble at all with the recovery of commonly used video file formats is praiseworthy, but it’s not unusual. What is extraordinary is how well the data recovery software recovers professional raw video file formats, including Apple ProRes and Blackmagic raw video files.
Document formats recovery
Determining how well the software recovers document file formats Documents are among the most commonly recovered file formats because their importance can be tremendous, especially when they're related to work or school. Because of how many document file formats exist these days, older and less developed data recovery software often struggle recovering and recognizing all of them
|1||accdb (Microsoft Access 2007+ database file)|
|2||key (Apple Keynote)|
|3||pages (Apple Pages)|
|4||numbers (Apple Numbers)|
|5||djvu (compressed image format)|
|6||doc (Microsoft Word 97 – 2003 document file)|
|7||docx (Microsoft Word 2007+ document file)|
|8||fb2 (FictionBook 2.0 File)|
|9||mdb (Microsoft Access 97 - 2003 database file)|
|10||odp (OpenOffice presentation file format)|
|11||ods (OpenDocument spreadsheet file format)|
|12||odt (OpenDocument text document file format)|
|13||pdf (portable document format)|
|14||ppt (Microsoft Powerpoint 97 - 2003 presentation file)|
|15||pptx (Microsoft Powerpoint 2007+ presentation file)|
|16||rtf (rich text format)|
|17||xls (Microsoft Excel 97 - 2003 spreadsheet file)|
|18||xlsx (Microsoft Excel 2007+ spreadsheet file)|
If we had to recover a document file format, such as a lost PDF file or a Word document, then Disk Drill for Windows would be our top choice because of its excellent performance.
Other notable recovery features
Additional recovery features and their performance These additional recovery features are what often separates average data recovery software solutions from those that can satisfy the needs of professionals and power users
|1||Overall non-intrusive read-only algorithms|
|3||Effectively filters out corrupted scan results|
|4||Byte-to-byte device backups|
|5||Bootable recovery drive creation|
|6||Convenient scan session management|
|7||Bad sector management|
|8||Recovery chance prediction|
|10||Disk vitals monitoring and tracking during scan|
|12||Links to in-lab recovery service for physically damaged devices|
|14||Scan free space only|
|15||Start file recovery without interrupting the scan|
|16||Preview recoverable items without interrupting the scan|
Disk Drill for Windows has useful data protection and backup features, which can store file metadata to improve data recovery outcomes and create byte-to-byte storage device images, respectively. The software makes scanning easy with its non-intrusive read-only algorithms, real-time indication of scan progress, and a built-in scan session manager, among other things.
|1||Disk space mapping|
|2||Disk clean up|
|3||Corrupted video repair tool|
|4||Corrupted photo repair tool|
|Disk Drill for Windows can read S.M.A.R.T. data of all connected storage devices that support the feature.|
|7||Built-in disk space secure eraser|
|9||Disk surface test|
|10||Secure data shredding|
The ability to read S.M.A.R.T. data is an essential capability that can help avoid data loss incidents by revealing disk issues in a timely manner, so it’s great that Disk Drill for Windows supports it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to several frequently asked questions about Disk Drill for Windows.
Disk Drill is a capable data recovery software application for Windows and macOS. It supports hundreds of file formats and comes with extra data management and backup features.
As a data recovery software application, Disk Drill’s main purpose is to analyze storage devices to find and recover permanently deleted files from them. It also has a number of extra features to help users better manage their data and protect themselves against data loss.
Disk Drill features multiple data recovery algorithms that allow it to recognize traces of permanently and recently deleted files alike, giving the user the ability to preview and recover them.
To recover lost files using Disk Drill for Windows, you need to:
- Download and install Disk Drill for Windows.
- Launch the application and scan your storage device.
- Select and recover lost files.
Disk Drill allows users to recover lost files to any folder, but it’s highly recommended to never recover to the same storage device on which the lost files are located.
Yes, but the free version of Disk Drill for Windows can only recover up to 500 MB of data. To recover more, you must purchase Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise.
The PRO version of Disk Drill costs $89.00, and the Enterprise version costs $499.00.
Yes, when you purchase a Disk Drill license, you can use the software for as long as you want. And if you also purchase the optional lifetime upgrades extra, then you will always have access to the latest version of the software.
Disk Drill is a reasonably fast data recovery software application, but its data recovery performance greatly depends on the size and speed of the scanned storage device.
If Disk Drill takes a long time to finish scanning, then the most likely cause is the limited performance of the scanned storage device.
Theoretically, Disk Drill can recover even files that were deleted years ago as long as the physical storage device which they ocuppy hasn’t been filled with new data.
Disk Drill’s Quick Scan or Clever Scan modes can recover data with its metadata intact, allowing you to recover files with their original names.
Sometimes, saved over files are not physically overwritten. When that’s the case, it’s possible to recover them using Disk Drill just as easily as any other files.
Yes, Disk Drill can recover even corrupted files, but such files may be unreadable or impossible to open—it all depends on the extent of the corruption.
If Disk Drill for Windows is refusing to install, then you should restart your computer and try again (there could be pending updates or some unresolved issues). If that doesn’t help, download the latest version of the software again and try one more time.
If the free version of Disk Drill for Windows can’t recover your lost file, then it’s possible that the file is larger than 500 MB. In that case, you must upgrade to Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise.
Yes, Disk Drill is perfectly safe, and it won’t harm your computer in any way. When scanning, Disk Drill works in read-only mode, and the software even automatically checks if a suitable recovery has been selected.
Absolutely! Disk Drill is a reliable data recovery software application that can quickly and easily recover lost documents, videos, photos, audio files, archives, and more from all storage devices recognized by Windows.
To uninstall Disk Drill:
- Open Windows Settings by pressing Windows + i on your keyboard.
- Click “Apps” in the sidebar and then select “Apps & Features.”
- Locate Disk Drill and click the three dots button beside it.
- Finally, select “Uninstall” in the menu that appears.