There are many free data recovery software products available on the Internet. Some products are freeware while others offer free trial downloads of the tool for evaluation. We’ve put together a list of 5 best data recovery tools of 2020 that can be downloaded and tried for free.
1. Disk Drill Data Recovery (Windows & macOS)
Disk Drill is an undeniable leader among data recovery software, it can recover deleted files from your device even if it is failing, unreadable, or has lost a partition.
With Disk Drill you can easily recover deleted photos, videos, music files, documents from internal or external drives, USB flash drives, SD cards. The Mac version supports iOS and Android recovery as well.
- You can recover up to 500MB of data for free with Disk Drill for Windows.
- Unlike any other, the app has two important additional data loss prevention functionalities. The first, Recovery Vault, adds a layer to the Recycle Bin and keeps a backup reference to all deleted files. The second, Guaranteed Recovery, keeps a copy of each file moved to a previously selected folder, as for example the Recycle Bin.
- In addition, Disk Drill allows users to create image files in the form of ISO, IMG or DMG files. Therefore in practice, enables the user to conduct the data search in a clone, without taking any additional risk with the original source. This functionality is of particular importance in forensic science.
“Disk Drill is an awesome free file recovery program, both because of its long list of features and its exceptionally simple-to-use interface.” – Tim Fisher, lifewire.com
@Cleverfiles Just used Disk Drive Pro and recovered an important audio file for an extremely important client video. When you don’t need it, you dont. But when you really do, so glad to have it. Especially when dealing with video and YouTube
— Christine Kaaloa (@grrrltraveler) January 13, 2020
Summarizing, Disk Drill is not only free and comprehensive, but also the best buy data recovery software. It has been confirmed by plentiful independent reviewers on the Internet and printed publications. CleverFiles, the developer of Disk Drill, has been around for many years and is a respected technology provider, based in the USA.
2. Recuva (Windows)
Developed by Piriform, Recuva can recover permanently deleted files, which have been marked as free space by the operating system.
This free data recovery software can work on hard drives, USB flash drives, memory cards, MP3 players, and other storage devices supported by FAT and NTFS file systems. The app comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. After the developer joined a bigger enterprise, the app has not been updated in several years.
In addition, Recuva is available in installable and portable form. The portable version has the advantage of not having to risk the possibility of overwriting the data still on a hard drive, and therefore losing extra megabytes due to its own deployment.
Recuva is a Freemium app, meaning that its functionality can be enhanced by acquiring a commercial license.
“Recuva is attractively priced and easy to use, though it can’t dig in quite as deeply as higher-priced data recovery software.” – Edward Mendelson, pcmag.com
Apparently a few weeks ago I deleted a bunch of #files, hours of work, for the next audio book that I thought had been copied to a different folder, but they were nowhere to be found! I found this #Recuva #software that seems to have recovered all the deleted files. Whew!
— Matthew Barron (@authorMBarron) September 4, 2018
In summary, Recuva presents a good choice for both users, casual and frequent, that require a solid app for data loss recovery.
3. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard (Windows & macOS)
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is not just another data recovery software, but also a user-friendly app, with a Windows Explorer type interface, and a three-step easy data recovery process.
This app is free for recovering data up to 500MB (for the time being). It works on internal and external hard drives, USB flash drives, memory cards and various types of partitions. It’s not clear whether it’s as reliable in partition recovery as Disk Drill.
The three steps of the data recovery process are:
- first, select data type (an unnecessary step according to most experts),
- second, select location,
- and third, preview and recover.
“Fast, reliable performance. Recovers many files other products couldn’t recover in testing. Easy sorting of deleted files and specific file types” – Edward Mendelson, pcmag.com
EaseUS Data Recovery, I swear to God, is the MVP of data recovery for when SD cards just go nuts (definitely not because I eject them without doing so properly)
— dave (@ddryan) December 11, 2019
In brief, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard presents a practical option for casual data losses. If the user needs extra recovery capacity, the developer offers a paid upgrade that gains extra functionality.
4. Restoration (Windows)
Restoration is a small free file recovery software. Its main characteristic is simplicity, as it doesn’t require a complex installation, but only a click on the .exe file.
However, the recovery quality is inferior to Disk Drill due to lack of updates since the first decade of 2000s. Once opened, Restoration operates from a minimalistic window, which contains everything necessary for the recovery operation, novice users will find it easy to understand.
This data recovery software rescues files from internal and external hard drives, memory cards, and other common storage appliances. It produces good scan results, with relatively efficient recovery speed. However, there have been reports that Restoration presents problems in Windows 8 and 10.
“Restoration is an extremely lightweight, portable, and very easy to use free data recovery program for Windows.” – Tim Fisher, lifewire.com
Overall, Restoration is the next recommended option among the best data recovery software free apps available, thanks to its inherent efficiency and simplicity.
5. TestDisk (Windows & macOS)
This freeware solution is only applicable to partition recovery. It is a command-line tool that supports many operating systems and filesystems. The app is still supported by its developer and is available in a bootable version. Check out the full review here.
- Wide operating system and filesystem support
- Recovers partitions, boot sectors, and file tables
- Has a bootable version
Have you tried PhotoRec from Testdisk? I have successfully recovered all my video files several times from both SD cards and harddrives using it- on one occasion I did have to pair the broken video files back up but it wasn’t too painless. It’s free (but you should donate!)
— Rachel Sarah (@rachelsarah_m) April 26, 2020
Overall, TestDisk is a very specialized tool that will not serve the needs of average users suffering from inadvertent data loss. The functionality of this software can cause additional damage to potentially recoverable data when used by individuals with insufficient training.
How to Pick the Best Data Recovery Software
You should never use a data recovery software application without first carefully evaluating whether it’s really the best tool for the job. At best, you might lose valuable time. At worse, you might ruin your chances of recovering your deleted data.
When selecting data recovery software, look beyond screenshots and extravagant marketing claims and consider the following criteria:
Since your ultimate goal is to get back all deleted files, data recovery performance is, by far, the most important selection criteria you need to pay attention to when selecting the best data recovery software. Some applications can recover data only from the Recycle Bin that hasn’t been emptied, and such applications are significantly less useful than those capable of retrieving permanently deleted files that are no longer present in the Recycle Bin.
🏞 File Type Support
The best data recovery software should be able to undelete all commonly used file types, including audio files, video, images, documents, executable files, archives, and backups.
📸 Files System Support
Data loss isn’t limited to traditional spinning hard drives—it affects all storage devices, including modern solid-state drives, USB flash drives, and memory cards. Since you can never know which storage device you’ll need to recover next, you should pick a data recovery application that’s able to recover lost data from file systems intended for both internal and external storage devices, including NTFS, FAT, FAT32, exFAT, HFS+, APFS, ext2/3/4, and others.
💻 Operating System Supported
Unless you don’t mind using a different operating system just to recover your deleted data, you should select data recovery software that supports your main operating system. Fortunately, there are many great options available to Windows and Mac users alike, and even Linux users have several solutions to choose from.
✅ Set of Features
There are several features all good data recovery software solutions should have, such as the ability to preview deleted files before recovery, the ability to recover only specific files, and the ability to recover data from devices that are failing, partially unreadable, or have lost a partition.
Just because you can download and install a data recovery software application for free doesn’t necessarily mean that you can also use it to recover deleted data without paying. When selecting the best data recovery software, it’s a good idea to start with a certain budget in mind and prioritize software applications that fit into it. When comparing prices, remember that some applications are subscription based (which means that you get charged every month/year), and some offer a lifetime license and sometimes even lifetime updates.
The last thing you want is to install a data recovery application infected with malware or created by someone who doesn’t know how to recover deleted files securely. That’s why you should stick to popular solutions with plenty of positive online reviews and many satisfied users.
Essentially, the best data recovery software applications can reliably recover all deleted files from any storage device, and do so securely and without costing an arm and a leg.
Peace of Mind
As a result of extensive testing of the reviewed apps, we are confident in naming Disk Drill the best free data recovery software. The impressive feature set and technical support for the first-time users score high for CleverFiles. Remember, it can not only recover your lost data but also protect your existing files from being deleted accidentally.