Fossbytes brings you a list of the best data recovery software of 2018 which are completely free. These data recovery tools save a lot of hassles after we accidentally delete some important files or we do not take backups before formatting a hard drive. Using these free recovery programs, you can recover your data back on your PC.
We lose our important data from hard disk by accidentally pressing the Delete key. Sometimes, a software bug or virus can also corrupt your hard disk. In that case, you need the best data recovery software or a recovery tool to recover your important data back at any cost.
At this point, a data recovery software comes in handy. You can choose free and paid solutions as per your need. To answer your query and help you make an informed decision while undeleting your files, we have compiled a list of best free data recovery software considering factors such as whether the software can recover RAW, Unallocated, Corrupt or Formatted Hard Disk; its ability to recover from different file systems such as FAT, FAT32, HFS, NTFS etc.; the array of devices supported; time taken for file recovery and user-friendliness to name a few. Let’s take a look at some of the best data recovery software you can use to recover lost data.
Most of the hard drive and disk recovery tools mentioned here aren’t much complex to use and anybody with a basic knowledge of operating a computer can use them to get back the lost data. So, leave all the assumptions behind that it’s going to be a heavily technical task. Let’s get started with this list:
15 Best Data Recovery Software Of 2018 For Free:
The fact that Recuva is on the top of the best data recovery software list, may not come as a surprise to the most of you. This data recovery tool has the ability to restore files from hard drives, DVD or CDs, memory cards, and external drives. There are tons of free file recovery software around but few of them come close to Recuva when it comes to hard drive and photo recovery actions. For those who don’t, Piriform’s Recuva recovery perform does its work by searching for unreferenced data. It’s known for getting back lost directory structure as well as renaming two files of the same name while performing the data recovery.
Some of the features that bring Recuva on top of the list of Best recovery software are:
- Superior file recovery
- Advanced deep scan mode
- Secure overwrite feature that uses industry & military standard deletion techniques and,
- Ability to recover files from damaged or newly formatted files
- Easy User interface
- Preview screen before final recovery
- Free/Inexpensive data recovery software
- Works both on FAT and NTFS systems
Supported Platforms: Recuva data recovery software for PC can be used on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and older versions of Windows.
A list of best data recovery software can hardly be termed as being complete without a mention of TestDisk recovery software. It’s an open source software that was created with an aim to get back lost partitions and fix non-booting disks. Packed with features and a file recovery system that can easily overshadow that of any other data recovery software, TestDisk has a lot to offer for both novices and experts. This free data recovery program tries to detect partitions and file entries on its own. The deeper scan for deleted/damaged partitions obviously need more time.
Here are some of the TestDisk’s features:
- Allows users to recover/rebuild the boot sector
- Fix or recover deleted partition table besides being able to reliably undelete files from FAT, exFAT, NTFS and ext2 file systems.
- Available on all major platforms such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X etc and is in fact quite popular as it can be found on various Linux Live CD’s.
Being a command line tool, TestDisk hard drive recovery tool may not be suitable for some users for data recovery. If you’re a fan of GUI, I would recommend you to go with Recuva or Stellar for file recovery.
Supported Platforms: TestDisk can run on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and older versions of Windows, Linux, BSD, macOS, and DOS.
Living up to its name, Stellar Data Recovery performs a stellar job in recovering your data from your Windows PC and Mac. If you are regretting your decision of deleting recent files, Stellar Data Recovery tool is here to help you in an effective way. Stellar also has many other tools for home and business applications but here we’ll be focusing on software for photo, USB, and hard drive recovery. Let’s tell you the highlight feature of the program.
- Risk-free program recovers data from different types of storage devices like memory cards, smartphones, USB drives, hard disks etc.
- Using Stellar Data Recovery program is simple. Just download it, start the scan, and you are able to recover from the past data disasters.
- Full of advanced features and fast drive file recovery
- Suitable for beginners and non-technical users
- In-app preview of files available before making the final recovery attempt; also called Try before Buy feature
Supported Platforms: Revuca recovery program can run on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and, macOS.
4. Undelete 360:
With the looks of a typical Microsoft Office application due to a ribbon-style toolbar and blue color theme, the Undelete 360 is built on a fast yet efficient algorithm which enables the user to undelete files. Here are some of the features of Undelete 360:
- Works on a variety of devices such as Digital cameras, memory cards, smartphones, computer hard drives, USBs etc.
- It includes a data-wiping tool, a Hex Viewer along with the ability to preview files before recovery.
- Does a great job in recovering recently deleted files as compared to other free data recovery software
- Also able to recover files of a wide variety of types such as DOC, HTML, AVI, MP3, JPEG, JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.
However, scanning speed needs major improvement and this tool also lags out its competition in terms of recovering data. The small setup size of the tool turns out to be a plus point in this race of file recovery software.
Supported Platforms: Undelete 360 can run on Windows 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and older versions of Windows.
Definitely one of the best data recovery software out there, PhotoRec is widely acclaimed for its powerful file recovery over a wide variety of devices ranging from digital cameras to hard disks. It’s specially created to recover data like pictures, videos, documents, etc., from hard disks, CD-ROMs. Here are some of the features of PhotoRec recovery tool:
- Compatible with almost all major platforms such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X etc.
- Comes packed with the ability to recover more than 440 different file formats.
- Features such as the ‘unformat function’ and the ability to add your own custom file types do come in handy.
- This photo recovery software supports lots of file systems, including FAT, NTFS, exFAT, ext2/ext3/ext4 and HFS+.
Although I wouldn’t advise this free data recovery software to beginners as it is completely devoid of a GUI and uses a command line interface which may intimidate some users.
Supported Platforms: PhotoRec recovery program can run on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, & older versions of Windows, Linux, BSD, DOS, macOS.
6. Pandora Recovery:
Pandora recovery is one of the most reliable and effective best free data recovery software out there. Pandora recovery tool has a lot to offer to its users. Here are some of the features of this tool:
- Ability to recover deleted files from NTFS and FAT-formatted volumes
- Preview deleted files of certain types (image and text files) without performing recovery
- With surface scan (which allows you to recover data from drives that have been formatted) and the ability to recover archived, hidden, encrypted and compressed files, it packs quite a punch.
- Its interface is very easy to get a hang of and provides an explorer-like view along with color coded and recovery percentage indicators.
However, its file detection system is not that reliable and needs to be improved further. This excellent data recovery software could be made portable as well so that it doesn’t consume any space on the hard disk and thereby not consume space that a file which we wish to recover once consumed.
Supported Platforms: Pandora data recovery can run on Windows 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and older versions of Windows.
Standard undelete programs like Recuva, Pandora etc. are perfect for recovering a few deleted files, but what if when you have lost an entire partition? Then you will probably need a specialist application like MiniTool Partition Recovery. Here are some of the great features of this recovery tool specialized in partition recovery:
- An easy wizard-based interface
- Specialized in data recovery on an entire partition
- Point MiniTool Partition Recovery tool at the problematic drive and it will scan for the missing partition
- Generates a recovery report which will let you know what the program has found to help you in data recovery
- Can’t use data recovery on a bootable disc here.
Supported Platforms: MiniTool Partition Recovery software can run on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and older versions of Windows.
Wise data recovery tool is one of the fastest undelete tools among the best data recovery software. Besides being faster, it also comes with some nice features. Here is a list of its features:
- Easy and an intuitive interface
- Can recover deleted files from local drives, USB drives, cameras, memory cards, removable media devices etc.
- Faster search filter by selecting inbuilt file extension groups using the file’s type.
- Compatible from Windows XP to Windows 8.
Puran file recovery works in 3 main recovery modes. These recovery modes are:
- Default Quick Scan (It simply reads the FAT or NTFS file system for deleted files from the recycle bin etc.)
- Deep Scan (includes scanning all available free space) and,
- Full Scan (checks all space on the device for the best chance of recovery)
- Works from Windows XP to Windows 8
Using the “Find lost files” option turns Puran File Recovery into a tool to recover all files from a lost or damaged partition. Something else you can do is edit the custom scan list which stores file signatures for more accurate recovery of badly damaged data.
Supported Platforms: Puran file recovery software can run on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and older versions of Windows.
PC Inspector File Recovery works well on both FAT and NTFS drives even if the boot sector has been erased or damaged. Here are some of the features of this recovery tool.
- Simple search dialog can help locate files by name.
- Recovered files can be restored to a local hard disk or network drives.
- Can recover image and video of several types of files in different formats such as ARJ, AVI, BMP, DOC, DXF, XLS, EXE, GIF, HLP, HTML, JPG, LZH, MID, MOV, MP3, PDF, PNG, RTF, TAR, TIF, WAV and ZIP.
- Can scan just specific areas of the disc with the Cluster scanner
- Works perfectly from Windows XP to Windows 7
However, the interface is a little confusing mess of tabs. So, be careful with this tool. Also, note that if your hard disk is has faced some mechanical damage, you need to look for some specialist.
Supported Platforms: PC Inspector file recovery software can run on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and older versions of Windows.
After top 10, here are 5 more bonus file recovery software:
Restoration data recovery program takes the 10th position in the list of top 15 best data recovery tools. It is no different and is similar to the other free undelete apps on this list. Even if it is in the tenth position, here are a few things that we liked about this data recovery tool:
- Very simple and easy to use
- No confusing and no cryptic buttons or any complicated file recovery procedures
- It can recover data and files from hard drives, memory cards, USB drives, and other external drives as well.
- Does not need to be installed and can run data recovery from a USB drive.
Supported Platforms: Restoration runs on Windows Vista, XP, 2000, NT, ME, 98, and 95 and also, successfully tested Windows 7 and Windows 10. Sometimes, runs into a problem with Windows 8
It is one of the most feature-rich data recovery software I have ever seen. But the unending list of various options actually complicates the recovery process.
- It is portable.
- Supports deep scan. It literally squeezed the flash drive for any sort of deleted data.
- Can save logs to avoid rescan at the later stage.
- Detailed information about the device from which data is to be recovered.
- Doesn’t display original folder names but displays original file names.
- File search option available.
- Multiple filters available.
- Copy sector option to create disk image files.
- Tool to construct RAID.
13. Glary Undelete
The file recovery software provides a clean yet convenient interface for first-time users. It doesn’t have much visual appeal but it can be a good solution to get back your deleted files.
- Quick file scan with Folder and File Types view options.
- Multiple filter options include date, time, file type, file size, etc.
- Preview option available.
- Multiple language options.
- Supports various Windows versions including Windows 10.
- Includes search bar.
- Shows recovery status – Good, Poor, Overwritten, etc – in the scan result
- Does not show original folder names.
- Tries to install companion software from the vendor.
14. Disk Drill
Seriously, if you’re looking for a data recovery software that also looks good then Disk Drill is your shot. But you will have to pay for the visuals by downloading a 15 MB setup file.
- Displays literally all the storage present on your machine, even the unallocated space.
- Displays scanned data in All files, Pictures, Video, Documents, Archives options.
- Allows filtering of scanned files by files and date.
- Includes search bar.
- Can save the recovery session for later use.
- Can recover data in the form of a disk image (ISO).
- Preview option available.
- Deep scan mode available.
- Retains original folder names.
- Restart required after installation.
- Scan time more than average.
- Only 500 MB space can be recovered in the free version. It is the biggest disadvantage.
This data recovery software is ideal for those users who don’t want the hassles of installing a software. It’s tiny solution which offers a minimalistic interface.
- Set up size is just 0.5MB.
- Easy to use.
- Includes search bar.
- Can’t recover corrupted or overwritten files.
- Preview not available.
- Multiple languages available.
- Doesn’t show the health of the files to be recovered.
- Doesn’t allow restoration of recovered files on the same disk. Better run it from a flash drive.
Editor’s Recommendation for best data recovery tool:
I would personally recommend Piriform’s Recuva data recovery program to all our readers, hands down. With superior file recovery, an advanced deep scan mode, a secure overwrite feature that uses industry & military standard deletion techniques and the ability to recover files from damaged or newly formatted files, Recuva is undeniably one of the best free data recovery tools out there. Its portability (the ability to run without installation) is one feature that sets it apart from others.
The User Interface of this free tool wouldn’t let you down either with a file-recovery wizard and an application manual mode available to your disposal which provides color coding (indicating the probability of the recovery of a file) along with the ability to preview files before undeleting them. Recuva’s data recovery solution is definitely a notch above all others and undoubtedly the most complete and reliable free data recovery software available today.
Have some other data recovery software in mind? Give us your suggestions in the comments below. You can also read some useful FAQs on the next page as well.