There are several best file recovery apps available for free. Some of them are well-known in the market, others not. This article summarizes the top 5 data recovery tools of 2019. For each of these apps, it mentions its advantages and uses. At the end, it gives the links to the webpages where the free data recovery software can be downloaded.
1. Disk Drill (Windows & macOS)
Developed by CleverFiles, the app can be used to scan internal and external storage devices natively powered by FAT and NTFS file systems, and in fact, any other file system you may think of: HFS+, EXT4, FAT16, etc.
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 this manner, unintentionally deleted files have an enhanced chance of being recovered in an uncorrupted state.
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.
Together, these functions make Disk Drill a very comprehensive free tool, with the unlimited recovery that comes via upgrade to the Pro version. Upgrades can be ensured forever by buying a once-off lifetime upgrade.
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.
In summary, Recuva presents a good choice for both users, casual and frequent, that require a solid app for data loss recovery.
3. 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.
Overall, Restoration is the next recommended option among the best data recovery software free apps available, thanks to its inherent efficiency and simplicity.
4. 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.
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.
5. Pandora Recovery (Windows)
Pandora is a free data recovery software, which comes with a wizard that makes the app very easy to use.
Upon installation, Pandora can recover files from hard drives, memory cards, and basically any device that can be connected to a Windows computer. Pandora uses three different recovery methods: browse, search and surface scan.
- Browse presents a list of recovered files.
- Search allows for the introduction of a search criteria, such as name, date interval, or size range.
- And finally, surface scan searches deeper into the device, taking longer time, but producing more complete results.
“CleverFiles has acquired Pandora Recovery and is proud to offer the most powerful file recovery software on the internet.” – pcmac.com
Overall, Pandora presents a valuable option for the user, as it is completely free and easy to use. Its light approach makes it eligible for typical file recovery operations.
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 for Windows. 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.