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Top 7 Best Hard Drive Recovery Software in 2021

Thanks to hard drive recovery software, anyone can undelete lost files at home and without any special skills. In fact, the most difficult step is choosing the best hard drive recovery software because the number of available solutions can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately for you, this article is here to help.
last update icon Last Updated: Apr 14, 2021
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Hard Drive Recovery Software: What to Consider

Even though we all have different needs and priorities, there are certain things that you should always consider when selecting hard drive recovery software:


  • Performance: The single most important quality of hard drive recovery software is its ability to undelete lost files from a crashed, malfunctioning, corrupt, or otherwise compromised hard drive. We recommend you pick a hard disk data recovery tool that can restore at least several hundred different file formats from all common Windows, macOS, and Linux file systems. That way, you’ll be able to solve all kinds of data loss scenarios.
  • Speed: The best hard drive data recovery software applications support multiple recovery methods so that you can choose the one that best fits your situation and get your data back in the least amount of time possible.
  • Security: The last thing you want is to download some obscure hard drive recovery software and infect your computer with dangerous malware or corrupt your entire hard drive, making it completely unreadable. That’s why we recommend you stick to more popular solutions, preferably those that have a substantial number of positive reviews.
  • Compatibility: Even the best hard drive recovery software application won’t be able to help you unless it’s compatible with your operating system and can read your storage device. As a Windows user, you’re in luck because there are many fantastic applications that run on all recent versions of the operating system.
  • Price: Hard drive recovery software is available at a variety of different price points. Some free solutions are surprisingly capable and can reliably solve basic data loss problems, but they don’t offer the same number of features and the same level of polish as paid applications.
When you manage to find hard drive recovery software that meets all the above-described selection criteria, you know that you’ve struck gold. Of course, you don’t have to look far for it because our selection of the best hardware drive recovery software features several such applications.

Top 7 Best Hard Drive Recovery Software

There are many great hard drive recovery software applications that you can choose from in 2021. We’ve narrowed them down to just seven based on their features, performance, our personal experience with them, and reviews published online by real users.
Disk Drill is one of the best recovery software applications for hard drive-related data loss because it masterfully combines usability with performance, delivering a solution that can reliably satisfy the needs of beginners and pros alike.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
iOS iOS
Android Android
Pros
  • icon pros Reputable photo recovery software with excellent user reviews.
  • icon pros Support for nearly 100 image file formats.
  • icon pros Comes with multiple extra tools.
  • icon pros Android and iOS support.
  • icon pros Easy to use and reliable.
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Cons
  • icon cons The Windows version can’t recover data from iOS and Android.
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Disk Drill Hard Drive Recovery Software
Overall experience

There’s a good reason why Disk Drill occupies the top spot in this ranking of hard drive recovery software, and that reason is its one-click approach to data recovery. You simply need to install the software on your computer, select your hard drive, and begin the recovery process with a single click. Disk Drill will automatically run all recovery methods in the optimal order to discover as many lost files as possible.


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2. Recuva

If there’s one free hard drive recovery software tool that most Windows users are familiar with, it’s Recuva. Even though it no longer receives updates, it still offers a decent enough performance to occupy the second-best spot in our ranking.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows
Pros
  • icon pros Simple to use.
  • icon pros Secure file deletion capabilities.
  • icon pros The free version can recover an unlimited number of files.
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Cons
  • icon cons Doesn’t receive updates anymore.
  • icon cons Limited file format and file system support.
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Recuva
Overall experience

Our experience with Recuva is largely positive because this data recovery software does only a few things but does them well. Obviously, it recovers lost pictures, music, documents, videos, emails, and other file types from hard drives, USB flash drives, and other storage devices. It can also securely delete sensitive files using military-standard deletion techniques, which can be useful when preparing a computer for sale or donation.


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3. R-Studio

Unlike most other hard disk recovery software listed in this article, R-Studio is geared toward professionals and experienced users who can take advantage of its advanced features.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Linux Linux
Pros
  • icon pros Advanced data recovery features.
  • icon pros Great performance.
  • icon pros Runs on all major platforms.
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Cons
  • icon cons The trial version is greatly limited
  • icon cons Too complicated for beginners
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R-Studio
Overall experience

R-Studio doesn’t hide the fact that it’s geared toward professionals, offering them features such as recovery over network and built-in hex editor. Granted, some of these features are present only in more expensive versions, such as R-Studio Network and R-Studio Technician, but they share the same user interface with R-Studio FAT, R-Studio NTFS, and R-STUDIO.


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4. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is an attractive hard drive recovery software application with a not-so-attractive subscription-based pricing model, which prevents us from placing it any higher.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
iOS iOS
Android Android
Pros
  • icon pros Straightforward data recovery process.
  • icon pros Fast scan performance.
  • icon pros Repair corrupt/damaged photos.
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Cons
  • icon cons Expensive lifetime license.
  • icon cons Subscription-based pricing.
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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
Overall experience

There’s a lot to like about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. For starters, the application can recover over 1,000 file formats - a lot more than most of its competitors. Its data recovery process is straightforward, and its ability to repair damaged or corrupt JPEG/JPG photos can save the day when dealing with data loss caused by logical damage.


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5. TestDisk

TestDisk demonstrates the power of open-source software by providing a completely unlimited alternative to paid hard disk data recovery tools.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Linux Linux
FreeBSD FreeBSD
Sun Solaris Sun Solaris
Pros
  • icon pros Open-source.
  • icon pros Completely unlimited.
  • icon pros Can fix partition tables and recover deleted partitions.
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Cons
  • icon cons Doesn’t have a graphical user interface.
  • icon cons Cannot recover individual files.
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TestDisk Recovery Software
Overall experience

Open-source data recovery software applications are as rare as rocking horse droppings, so any such application whose performance matches or even exceeds proprietary applications deserves everyone’s full attention. TestDisk is without a doubt among them, pairing impressive data recovery capabilities with the ability to recover lost partitions and make non-booting disks bootable again.


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6. DiskDigger

DiskDigger is a member of a growing family of data recovery tools for Windows, Android, Linux, and, to some extent, macOS. Although its performance isn’t the best, its low price more than makes up for it.
Free trial Free trial
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Linux Linux
Android Android
Pros
  • icon pros Two modes of operation.
  • icon pros Presents files as thumbnail previews.
  • icon pros Able to scan virtual disk image files.
  • icon pros Low price.
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Cons
  • icon cons Average performance.
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DiskDigger
Overall experience

DiskDigger looks, feels, and controls like a Windows application, featuring a prominent ribbon with all important options and control buttons. You can use it to recover data from hard disks using the FAT (FAT12, FAT16, FAT32), NTFS, and exFAT file systems. Recoverable files can be filtered by name and size and sorted by name, size, date, and directory.


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7. Lazesoft Data Recovery

The world needs more hard drive recovery software applications that make it possible to recover an unlimited number of files for free, and Lazesoft Data Recovery is one such application.
Freeware Freeware
Windows Windows
macOS macOS
Pros
  • icon pros The free edition offers unlimited recovery.
  • icon pros Can create a bootable recovery USB drive.
  • icon pros Recovers damaged or deleted partitions.
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Cons
  • icon cons Outdated user interface.
  • icon cons Average performance.
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Lazesoft Data Recovery
Overall experience

Lazesoft Data Recovery may not be the most modern hard disk data recovery tool out there, and it certainly doesn’t deliver the best data recovery results, but it has a different trick up its sleeve: unlimited free data recovery. That’s right, Lazesoft Data Recovery Home is completely free for non-commercial purposes, and you can use it to restore lost files after reformatting, accidental deletion, or malware attack.


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For Beginners: What Is Hard Drive Recovery Software?

Hard drive recovery software comes to the rescue whenever you lose important files from your hard drive. The best hard drive recovery applications can recover data even from a hard disk that has been accidentally formatted, improperly unmounted, badly partitioned, or otherwise damaged.


There are many hard drive recovery software applications that are easy enough to use even for complete beginners, and we’ve described several of them in this article. In most cases, all you need to do is select your hard drive, begin the recovery process, and then retrieve all lost files.


Key Points for Successful Hard Drive File Recovery

You can pick the best hard disk recovery software available but fail to recover your data unless you keep in mind the following key points for successful recovery:
  • Stop using the hard drive
    Stop using the hard drive
    As soon as you realize that data loss has occurred, you should stop using the hard drive. When the Windows operating system deletes a file or folder, it does not physically remove it from your hard drive. It simply marks the space occupied by the item as available for future use by the system. Until the OS reuses this space, the deleted data can be restored with file recovery software.
  • Pick a safe installation location
    Pick a safe installation location
    If the file deletion occurs on your main hard drive, you should download, install, and run hard disk recovery software on a USB drive to avoid overwriting the deleted data.
  • Use a reliable recovery tool
    Use a reliable recovery tool
    You might only get one chance to recover your lost data. Don’t risk it with an inferior recovery application. Use a hard disk recovery tool with a proven track record of successful data recovery and many positive user reviews.
  • Recover your data to a new location
    Recover your data to a new location
    Don’t try to recover your data to the same disk on which it was originally stored. Doing this runs the risk of overwriting or corrupting files as they are being recovered, making them permanently unrecoverable. If the data was stored on your main hard drive, consider using a removable USB drive to ensure a successful recovery.
  • Backup your files
    Backup your files
    You should follow best practices and regularly create backups of your hard drive so that you can easily recover all lost files should you experience data loss. In addition to backing up individual files, you can create byte-level backups and use them to recover your entire operating system, along with all installed applications, in the event of a catastrophic hard drive crash.

In Which Cases Should I Use an External Hard Drive Recovery Tool?

External hard drive recovery tools can be used to recover data that has become inaccessible for the following reasons:
  • Accidental deletion
  • Formatting
  • Hard drive or partition corruption
  • Malware attack
  • Software error
However, you may encounter situations where even the best hard drive recovery software is unable to retrieve your data.

For example, it’s not possible to recover deleted files that have already been overwritten by new data. That’s because overwritten files are no longer physically present on the hard drive, so there’s no way to retrieve them.
Hard drive recovery software also can’t overcome physical damage, such as a sudden head crash, water ingress, power surge, or destruction of platters/memory chips caused by the hard drive experiencing a falling over or being dropped.

To retrieve data from a physically damaged hard drive, you need to contact a professional data recovery center with specialized equipment and clean rooms. Here’s a quick rundown of what to do if you need the services of a professional data recovery center.

  1. Search Google for a reliable recovery center. We recommend CleverFiles Data Recovery Center
  2. Contact the recovery center for an initial consultation. You will be asked to explain the problem and receive an estimate of recovery costs.
  3. Ship your device to the recovery center. On receipt, technicians will examine the device and give you a firm recovery price. A reputable service will not charge you if they cannot successfully recover your data.
  4. Upon completion of the recovery, your data will be returned to you on a new storage device.
If you have lost valuable data and cannot restore it yourself, a data recovery center may be just what you need. It is a more expensive option than recovery software, so you will have to determine how much your data is worth to you. Using a service is probably your last resort for getting data back from a damaged drive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Pandora Recovery Team
Hard drives can fail for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common ones include exposure to excessive heat or moisture, electrical power surges, faulty firmware, and mechanical errors. A hard drive can also fail due to file system corruption, which can be caused by a malware or virus attack.
The cost of hard drive data recovery can range anywhere from $0 to hundreds and even thousands of dollars—it all depends on which approach you choose. Professional data recovery services are typically the most expensive option, while backups and free data recovery software don’t cost anything.
Data recovery software scans an entire storage device sector by sector, looking for deleted files that haven’t yet been overwritten by new data. It then presents the user with a list of all recoverable files, allowing them to specify what they want to recover.
The broken hard drive must be readable in order to recover its data. If it cannot be read, then you can’t use data recovery software to restore your lost data. In cases where you cannot achieve access to the drive, you may be forced to send it to a professional hardware recovery service.
You will know if your hard drive has crashed or is about to crash if:
  1. Your computer will not start.
  2. You are experiencing unusually long wait times when opening files.
  3. Files are missing or corrupt and unusable.
  4. Strange sounds are emanating from your hard drive.
The best data recovery software applications for Windows are:
  1. Disk Drill
  2. Recuva
  3. R-Studio
  4. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
  5. TestDisk
  6. DiskDigger
  7. Lazesoft Recovery Suite