10 Free Data Recovery Software Tools
Best Free Software to Restore Your Data
If you wish to recover deleted files, the easiest solution comes from specialized software. Data recovery tools can be downloaded for free and are capable of restoring your important files in just a few quick steps. Recovering your accidentally deleted files is actually a fairly simple process. To familiarize yourself with it, check out our detailed guide from the How to Recover Deleted Files article.
Using data recovery software is usually the preferred method to deal with this common issue. Files you thought were forever lost can still be brought back in most cases. It’s recommended to make frequent backups to avoid these types of situations. Data loss can be a very unpleasant experience for anyone.
Learning how to use a data recovery tool can be helpful because sometimes you can lose files in unexpected ways. Maybe there’s a hardware failure or a virus infection. That’s why you need to be prepared to restore your important files. The time to act is always immediately when you realize the file is gone.
File recovery tools come in a variety of flavors, each with its own set of features. This list contains only free programs, as the extra features of paid ones aren’t usually worth it. We’ve selected the best 10 applications you could try. Some of them are better in certain regards, such as design and intuitiveness, others could perform deeper searches for files. Hopefully, one of these tools will resolve your issue, so let’s see how they compare and what exactly do they bring to the table in the world of data recovery software.
Considered the best free data recovery tool around, Recuva has become a very popular option to take into account. It’s developed by the reputable maker of CCleaner and it stands out due to its very intuitive interface. The program is extremely effective when it comes to getting back your essential deleted files. To install this program, you simply need to head over to the official website and choose your downloadable installer. There are two options here and we recommend the portable version as it works faster. Installing new programs can use up some precious disk space and you may risk overwriting deleted files. This is the main reason why you should go for the portable version.
In the archive of the portable edition of the tool, there are two executable files. Choose ‘recuva64.exe’ if you’re using a 64-bit Windows version. When you launch the program you will be greeted by a helpful wizard which allows you to select some options to speed up the search for the lost file. You don’t really need to know the type or the last location of the file. That’s just something that can help the searching process, but it’s fine even if you’re not really sure. The tool will start a quick scan and will present you a large list of all kinds of files. Then, it’s simply a matter of looking closely for your file and clicking ‘Recover…’.
There are some more advanced features available to sort this list or preview files for example. Keep in mind that while this tool will attempt to do everything in its power to recover your deleted files, there’s still a chance of unsuccessful recovery, albeit a very low one. This utility works well on any Windows version from XP to Windows 10. It’s worth mentioning that it receives frequent updates to be able to keep up with the demands of its users. There’s an option for deeper scanning which can be activated in case the quick scan didn’t provide the expected results.
Overall, Recuva deserves the top spot in this list thanks to its easy-to-use, clean interface and the performance level that’s hard to match in a free software. It works for many hard drives and other devices such as memory cards or any other storage device. Before you try any other free program, give this one a go.
Wise Data Recovery makes it convenient to find deleted files and effectively restore them to become accessible again. With the help of this tool, you can undelete files from multiple drives including storage devices such as cameras or iPhones. Let’s see why this free program deserves a spot on our list. The most appreciated feature of this data recovery software is how quickly you can see whether a file is fully recoverable or not. Because not all files can be completely recovered in their original state, you need to be aware somehow of their status before you attempt to restore them. Otherwise, you might think the recovered file is safe and sound when in reality it’s unusable junk.
To solve this problem, the application gives you the current status of any recoverable file at a glance through simple colored circles. Therefore, green circles signify a solid recoverability status, so you shouldn’t worry while orange or red circles mean there’s a high chance for the file being already partially overwritten. Such files could be considered lost already as their condition is too poor to become readable again. The interface has been designed to keep some classic aspects intact. It shows you deleted files while retaining the Windows Explorer folder structure which makes navigating the program a breeze. Another thing we appreciate in this tool is the fact you can download a portable version of it.
Scanning for files doesn’t take very long and the searching is facilitated by the ability to look for erased files by their extension and name. There are some preset options in place next to the search box, so you can quickly start a search for your deleted files. For example, the audio section offers popular extension options like MP3 and WAV. More advanced configuration settings are not present in this program, but that can be considered a good thing. It enables less experienced users to use it without too much effort. The simple and clean layout certainly helps anyone to master the full functionality of the software.
Another aspect worth considering in this utility is how it’s been designed to be as light as possible on system resources. The file size of the program is small, so you can definitely expect it to not interfere with other programs and to not affect your system performance in any way. Taking into account the speedy performance and the intuitive interface, Wise Data Recovery is certainly a winner in the world of file recovery tools. Regardless of your experience level, you can quickly find and restore files lost during system crashes or deleted by mistake. The colored circles are incredibly handy to figure out the status of your deleted files.
3. Disk Drill
Another popular option for a file-recovery tool is Disk Drill. This free program has a very modern-looking interface that’s focused on getting the job done and nothing else. It’s incredibly easy to use, even for novice users. Despite the appearances, the tool is packed with some powerful features that deserve some more attention if you are in need of restoring deleted files. While there’s no portable option available for this tool and you are restricted to 500 MB of data to recover, there are many advantages to this free software. One handy feature is the ‘Recovery Vault’. You can customize the folders you want to be monitored and create exclusions to prevent the restoring of certain file types.
Disk Drill allows users to pause a scan, which is a welcomed feature. Deep scans can take a while, so it’s helpful to be able to take a break and resume later. The results of a scan can be saved in the program once the scanning process is done. This can be convenient as you no longer need to search again the entire drive. The 500 MB limit could be a problem for particularly large files, but most users shouldn’t feel too hindered by it. Smaller files like documents or photos can be easily recovered with this tool. The software is available for both Windows and Mac users, just make sure you download the correct installer for your operating system.
Something that could be considered a solid feature of this program is the ability to recover data from different file systems. For example, it can restore files from FAT, NTFS, exFAT, and other file system types. The search tool of this program is fairly complex allowing you to filter the results in multiple ways to quickly find the right file to recover. When you consider all of its abilities, Disk Drill represents a potent solution for any file recovery problem. It does have a few drawbacks, but you shouldn’t be surprised. We’re dealing with a program that’s made available at no cost for everyone. Take a look at this tool if you wish to reliably restore your deleted files.
One capable tool that could be considered a strong candidate for a data recovery program is EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. The company behind this free software also offers some paid options, so you can expect some limitations in the free edition. The only thing to remember is that you’re restricted to 500 MB of recoverable data. The good news is that you can extend that to 2 GB if you press the share button in the program. The interface of this data recovery tool looks clean and polished. We like how the program is designed in a minimalistic manner with no confusing settings or other unnecessary features cluttering the interface. This means the tool is suitable for people who aren’t particularly tech-savvy.
The program works with both Windows and Mac operating systems so you can conveniently install it on different computers. When a scan is finished, you have the option to back up the results and access them at a later date. This could be useful to save some time as you won’t need to scan the whole drive each time. Two types of scans can be used. The quick scan feature should mostly deliver good results, but you can try the deep scan in case you want to search the drive more thoroughly. On the main screen, you’ve got all the available drives to scan. This includes any internal or external hard drives, but you can restore any data from other devices too. Some examples are memory cards, music players, and USB drives.
If you restore multiple files simultaneously, the program will maintain the original folder structure in place. This makes it easier to see their previous location when you’ve deleted them. There’s not much else to tell regarding this piece of software. It’s quick and efficient at its intended task. Considering how simple and convenient EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is to use, it quickly becomes clear that this tool is worth downloading. Check it out to see if it fits your needs. It works well to recover deleted files of any kind. The browsing and backup features are quite powerful too.
The next data recovery program on our list is called Glary Undelete. With its clean-looking interface and minimal overall design, it scores high points in usability. Compared to similar software, this tool allows you to find files to undelete more conveniently. Downloading and installing this piece of software is a very straightforward process. A portable version would have been nice, but that’s pretty much the only drawback of this tool. Once you’ve opened the application, the first step is to launch a search by clicking a button.
What makes this little program one of the best file recovery tools is also the performance. It depends on how big your hard drive is, but a scan won’t take too much of your time. You can customize the scanning process to only look in a specific folder if you remember where the lost file used to be. Another aspect worth mentioning is the way the Folders and File Types views have been neatly organized in the left section of the program. If you’re struggling with finding the file in one type of view, you can easily switch to another. It’s also helpful to see the original path and other relevant details of recoverable files.
This tool works well with the more recent Windows versions and supports a wide variety of internal and external drives. Restoring files is possible for removable media such as flash drives and memory cards. In terms of file system types, this utility is compatible with all the major types including NTFS and FAT. Glary Undelete hasn’t been updated in a while, but the tool seems to work fine, and there shouldn’t be any pressing need for extra features. It’s safe to say that this data recovery software does the job in a very efficient manner. It should serve you well if you accidentally deleted important files which now you want to get back.
To be able to restore your deleted files with ease, you need the right tool. One that can be considered up to the task is Puran File Recovery. This free piece of software represents a reliable solution to quickly scan your disk and find erased data. It comes with a Tree View feature to simplify the navigation process. After you download the latest version of the program, you can install it very quickly thanks to the lack of unnecessary toolbars and other programs that free software commonly tries to insert in your installing process. This means you can start the important work of recovering critical files much faster.
To start scanning in the hopes of recovering lost files, the first step is to choose a drive to search. You will be presented with some extra scanning options. If you want to be more thorough you can select full or deep scan types, but these will take longer to finish. Similar to other recovery programs, this tool allows you to check the status of recoverable files. You will be able to see if the restoring conditions are suitable by looking next to the file. Some files will have an excellent status, meaning you can get them back in their original state, while others will come in poorer condition. If you’re unlucky enough to have to recover poor condition files, chances are they will be in an unusable state.
Interestingly, there are two options when you select a file to recover. You can let it be restored to its old location or you can just place it anywhere you prefer. Both options work nicely, so choose how you feel it’s more convenient. Restoring files in a simpler manner can be achieved by selecting Tree View. The option is found somewhere at the bottom of the main window of the tool. When you’re in this view mode, you can browse the list of recoverable files like you’d do it on your computer. Specific files can be more efficiently found this way.
If it seems like Puran File Recovery might seem like a solid choice for you, don’t hesitate to try it out. It doesn’t cost you anything to use it and can definitely save you when you’ve misplaced an important file. The interface of the program may not look as attractive as the one on some other tools on this list, but it performs well and that should be enough for most people.
One ideal software to consider if you wish to recover deleted files is SoftPerfect File Recovery. Using a powerful searching tool, this lightweight program doesn’t bother with unnecessary settings and other extra features. It’s built to handle the data recovery process in the most efficient manner possible. By far the best feature of this tool is that it requires no installation. It’s a portable application, meaning you can launch it from a flash drive if you’d like, but that’s not a requirement. You can just quickly download it and run it to start scanning for lost files.
A nice little feature of this program is that it won’t allow for restoring a file that came from a particular drive to that same drive where it’s been deleted. This is to prevent any kind of impact to that drive, to remove the danger of overwriting. The process of undeleting files goes very smoothly. Finding the right file to restore is usually difficult when you’re presented with such a huge list like it’s often the case with data recovery programs. Thankfully, this utility enables you to sift through thousands of files more quickly by integrating a reliable search tool with an extension option.
Something that could be improved in this program is a preview feature. This could be particularly useful when it comes to images because you might not be sure if the file you’ve found is truly the one you want to be restored. That’s not such a big issue. We definitely appreciate the minimalistic approach of this tool which makes it a fitting choice for less experienced users. While not as powerful as other free file recovery programs, this tool is lightweight and very quick to discover your erased files. The interface can’t get any simpler than this, so it’s safe to conclude that this tool is worth a shot. Try it out if you’re in a hurry to restore lost files.
As its name implies, FreeUndelete allows you to do a reverse deleting, a full recovery for any files that have been deleted by accident. The interface of this tool looks very user-friendly and file recovery capabilities can extend beyond internal drives to all kinds of removable media such as USB drives and memory cards. This tool is free, but only for personal use at home. You’ll have to pay for the full version to get the same benefits as a business. That’s pretty much the only thing about this software you could consider a limitation. The program comes with all the essential features you could be looking for in this kind of tool.
The fact that it can be used in a portable manner represents a great advantage over many similar programs. Another helpful feature is the way it saves recovered files in a new location that’s user-configurable. It does this to ensure it won’t overwrite deleted files on the drive. One thing worth mentioning about this tool is how it tells you the condition of the recoverable file. Some files may have already reached a certain point where they’re no longer usable. The tool keeps you aware of the condition status to save you time when restoring to only undelete files in perfect working condition.
9. DMDE Free
DMDE Free is a powerful data recovery tool which doesn’t look very attractive but promises a very high success rate to restore your data. Whether because of accidental deletion or system issues, many types of lost files can be quickly recovered with this program. As you’ve probably guessed from the name, there’s also a paid version of DMDE. The free edition can be used only for personal needs and it comes with some restrictions. For example, you can’t have it recover more than 4000 files in a single batch.
That being said, the tool works very well, and you shouldn’t be too hindered by its limitations. We like the fact that it’s a portable application which reduces the risk of overwriting data with an installer. The software comes with a more extended functionality beyond simple recovery. If certain drive and partitions are no longer recognized by Windows, this tool can help you search for them and recover them too. There’s also a disk editing mode and some more advanced features which are better left untouched if you aren’t sure how to use them.
All in all, the DMDE Free data recovery tool won’t disappoint you if you’re trying to recover files deleted by mistake or lost from other causes. It can work as a partition manager, RAID constructor, and disk editor, so there’s definitely more here than the average person needs. There are some restrictions on file and directory recovery, but the tool makes up for this through its extra abilities.
The simply-named Restoration program feels like a refreshing solution for a data recovery software. Its main characteristics are the small footprint and amazingly easy-to-use interface. This program is not as complex as others on this list, but it still includes many helpful features that make it worth considering. Although the program is quite old and supposed to work best on Windows 95 to Windows XP, it seems it has no issues with more recent Windows versions, except Windows 8. The most common file system types NTFS and FAT can both be handled by this tool. Thanks to being fully portable, the tool can start working right away.
The interface of this tool looks very basic and yet it feels efficient for restoring deleted files. Results can be quickly sorted after a scan, so you will be able to find the needed file in no time and then get it back just as fast. The program’s search tool allows for making searches by file extension besides looking for the name of the file. This can be very useful if you don’t know the exact name of the file, but you’re aware of its type. Optionally, the application is capable of doing searches for empty files.
One extra feature that many could find handy is the access to data sanitization methods. When navigating to the ‘Others’ menu you can find two options to permanently erase everything found in your list of recoverable files. That can be done to prevent others from recovering any sensitive data. A disadvantage to keep in mind, besides the Windows 8 incompatibility, is the way the tool can only recover single files. It can’t deal with the restoration process of entire folders, so that might be a problem for some.
An interesting feature of this data recovery software is the way it can exclude specific files from the results if certain parts are already being used by other files. The reason why this could be useful is that you can eliminate files that have been partially overwritten, those files that can no longer be fully recovered. You will be able to ensure that you only restore usable files. Despite a few disadvantages, Restoration can be considered a reliable tool. It doesn’t offer a particularly impressive set of features, but some useful included functions can still make it worthy of your time. Recommended if you want a portable data recovery software that’s lightweight and intuitive.
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