Recuva vs Disk Drill

Last update:




Disk Drill
Winner • Chosen by 90% of Users
1.53.2083 Released 15th Jun, 2022 Current version4.5.616 Released 4th Aug, 2022
Windows XP-10, 11 (unofficial support) RequirementsWindows 7-11
Freeware. No limits Trial version limitRecover up to 500 MB for free
Freeware Starting Price$89.00 / PerpetualLifetime
0 Found files






Found files and Recovery quality176,000 Found files






Normal UsabilityEasy


Price is among the most important choice criteria for people who want to recover lost data at home using data recovery software. The two applications we’re comparing today, Recuva and Disk Drill for Windows, can both recover permanently deleted files for free, but only one of them is completely unlimited. 

If you think that the unlimited data recovery software application should automatically win by default, then read this review from start to finish to find out why free doesn’t always mean the right choice. 

Top Recuva Pros

  • Completely free. Scan and restore unlimited files for free.

  • Chances of recovery. There are algorithms in the program that can give an estimate of the file's recovery.

  • Two operating modes. There are two operating modes - simple and advanced.

Top Disk Drill Pros

  • 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.

Top Recuva Cons

  • No Enterprise license. Recuva cannot be used commercially.

  • Scanning/creation of images. Scanning and creation of images is available only in the paid version.

  • Recovering structure and names. In general, scans that support restoring the folder trees and file names either do not work at all or have a large number of errors.

Top Disk Drill Cons

  • 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.

Pricing • Business model

1Distributed as Freeware Freemium
2Trial version available
3Trial version limitations Freeware. No limits Recover up to 500 MB for free
4Number of devices per license
  • Professional - 1
  • Professional bundle - 1
  • PRO License - 1
  • Enterprise License - 10
5Starting priceFree$89.00/ Perpetual
6License modelSubscription + LifetimeLifetime
7No credit card to try
8Money back guarantee
9See Plans & PricingPricing detailsPricing details

Technically, both Recuva and Disk Drill are freemium software applications because some features require you to enter a valid license to become available. In practice, the paid version of Recuva is often ignored because the extra features it unlocks have little to no value. Disk Drill, on the other hand, is a true freemium application because you need a license to recover an unlimited amount of data. 

The premium features included in Recuva Professional are virtual hard drive support, automatic updates, and priority support. Virtual hard drive support is something not many Windows users will ever need. Automatic updates would be nice to have if there were any important updates to install, but, sadly, Recuva’s development seems to be in a state of hibernation. Finally, there’s priority support, which is rarely needed because Recuva is straightforward and simple. 

Data Recovery Performance

To determine how well can Recuva and Disk Drill solve real-world data loss scenarios, we’ve performed a series of tests, and the table below summarizes our results. 

Scan of File Systems

1FAT32 partitions
Partial support
Full support
2exFAT partitions
Not supported
Full support
3NTFS partitions
Not supported
Full support
4EXT4 partitions
Not supported
Not supported
5HFS+ partitions
Not supported
Not supported
6APFS partitions
Not supported
Not supported
7BitLocker support
Partial support
Full support
8Windows shadow copies scanning
Full support
Not supported

While Recuva should technically be able to fully restore deleted files from all file systems supported by the Windows operating system, the reality is much bleaker. We had some success only when recovering data from FAT32 partitions, but all root data was missing, and the folder structure was damaged. In other words, the software recovered no files at all. 

Recuva can restore the original folder structure and file names only when the recovery process is started right after basic formatting, but that’s something all modern data recovery software tools can do, which is why our tests don’t focus on this scenario. Instead, they focus on partition loss, something Disk Drill can handle without any issues.

Feature Comparison

The right combination of features can make it possible even for complete novices to recover lost data at home while giving more advanced users everything they need to reliably protect and efficiently manage their data. Let’s see what Recuva and Disk Drill have to offer. 

Features Table

53% Average score 89% Average score
1Update frequency
2Updated recently
3Changelog available
4Latest Windows release supported
5Genuine or clone?
6Brand name popularity
7Online market share
9Extensive knowledge base
10Helpdesk support
11Live chat
12Phone support
61% Average score 96% Average score
1Modern user-friendly interface
2Dark mode
3Easy-to-locate features
4Automatic implementation of multiple appropriate scanning methods without user interaction
5Auto-resuming scans of failing drives
6Auto-resuming backups of failing drives
7Convenient source selection on start
8Convenient file-by-file preview of recoverable items
9Convenient thumbnail preview of recoverable items
10Mount recoverable items as disk
11Built-in updater
12Multiple view modes in scan results
13Hex view for recoverable items
14Filter recoverable items by type
15Search recoverable items by file names
16Sort results
17Multilingual UI
18Simple deployment
Device support
54% Average score 77% Average score
1Internal and external HDD
2Internal and external SSD
3USB thumb drives / Classic iPods (non-iOS) / FireWire devices
4Memory cards
5iOS devices
6Android devices
7Recovery from RAID1, 0, JBOD
8Unmountable partitions
Recovery performance
31% Average score 80% Average score
1Clever in-depth scan
2Device support
3Other notable recovery features
4Other types of scan
5Quick scan
6Real-life recovery challenge
Real-life recovery challenge
31% Average score 86% Average score
1Document formats recovery
2Raw photo recovery
3Video formats recovery
Other notable recovery features
29% Average score 61% Average score
1Overall non-intrusive read-only algorithms
2Network recovery
3Effectively filters out corrupted scan results
4Byte-to-byte device backups
5Bootable recovery drive creation
6Convenient scan session management
7Bad sector management
8Recovery chance prediction
9RAID reconstructor
10Disk vitals monitoring and tracking during scan
11Data protection
12Links to in-lab recovery service for physically damaged devices
13Scan speed
14Scan free space only
15Start file recovery without interrupting the scan
16Preview recoverable items without interrupting the scan
17Forensic features
20% Average score 20% Average score
1Disk space mapping
2Disk clean up
3Corrupted video repair tool
4Corrupted photo repair tool
6Duplicate finder
7Built-in disk space secure eraser
8Disk cloning
9Disk surface test
10Secure data shredding

Our feature comparison is broken down into several categories. The Karma category is all about the software’s reputation, popularity, and support. Here, Disk Drill leads by a wide margin because Recuva hasn’t received a major update in ages. While the software still runs on the latest version of Windows, it no longer looks as modern as it once used to. 

That’s why Recuva also didn’t receive nearly as many usability points as Disk Drill. The application doesn’t automatically run all available recovery methods with a simple click, and it can’t resume interrupted scans. Browsing scan results can also be a pain because the available view/sort options are limited. 

Moving on to device support. Here, Disk Drill comes on top because it can recover data from RAID arrays and unmountable partitions. Unfortunately, neither of the two data recovery software applications can recover data from iOS and Android devices. 

All of our recovery performance tests and real-life recovery challenges confirmed the superiority of Disk Drill. Not only can you expect Disk Drill to find more lost files, but the application can also find them quicker and more conveniently because it includes a number of extra recovery features, such as its convenient scan session management.

You can even use Disk Drill to protect your data against future data loss, and you should definitely do that because prevention is worth more than a pound of cure when it comes to data recovery. 

Wrapping Up

The conclusion is clear: free data recovery software applications like Recuva may be attractive, but they’re not always up to the task. The developers of Disk Drill are determined to deliver the best recovery performance combined with excellent usability and a wide range of extra features, and they know that it would be impossible for them to achieve their goal without charging money for their product. Their approach seems to be working because Disk Drill is the best software of its kind, and we can wholeheartedly recommend it to all Windows users who have lost important data and want to recover it for as little money as possible. 

Disk Drill for Windows

Ease of use combined with leading data recovery performance make Disk Drill for Windows the winner. 

Visit developer's website
Excellent recovery performance
Recovers up to 500 MB for free
One-click data recovery
Many extra features
Regularly updated

Why choose Recuva

Read full Recuva review
Unlimited free recovery
Simple mode for beginners
Advanced mode for power users

More software comparisons

We keep expanding our data recovery software comparison library to make it easier for our readers to choose the best solution available. Below are several other comparisons that you may find interesting. 

David Morelo
David Morelo

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

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.