If you lost or deleted important files on a hard disk, you can turn to hard drive recovery software for help. There are fifteen best free hard drive recovery applications. Compare the best free and paid file recovery applications on the market. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard outranks its equivalents. Download this data recovery software to recover deleted files on Windows and Mac.
What Is the Best Hard Drive Recovery Software
You accidentally deleted a file and already emptied the recycle bin. Then, you realize you need to get that file back. Data loss is an unpleasant experience. It's easy to lose data due to deletion, formatting, and system crash. Fortunately, free hard drive recovery software can help restore lost files even you don't have a backup. There are many hard drive recovery programs, I have listed just ten based on their features, performance, price, and personal experience.
Today's best data recovery software:
- EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
- Disk Drill Data Recovery
- Wise Data Recovery
- Ontrack Data Recovery Software
- Recover My Files
- Orion File Recovery
- Windows File Recovery
Top 1. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free (Windows & Mac)
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a free data recovery utility that has helped millions of users retrieve their precious data. Whether you have deleted files from a disk, formatted the disk, lost partitions or the disk became RAW/inaccessible/unrecognized, you can recover the files with this hard disk recovery software.
Your Reliable Choice - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
- Recover deleted, formatted, and inaccessible data in different data loss situations.
- Recover photos, audio, music, and emails from any storage effectively, safely, and completely.
- Recover data from the recycle bin, hard drive, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, and camcorder.
- Easy 3-step recovery process
- Repairs corrupt/damaged photos.
- Virus-free and plugin-free
- Fast scanning speed and high data recovery quality
- Supports for 1000+ file types from various devices
- Free trial with a 2GB recovery limit. The Pro version costs $69.95 and has no recovery limits.
Limitations on the free version: 2GB of free recovery. Users can instantly recover 500MB of data with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free. Share the software on your Facebook or Twitter to grow to a limit of 2GB.
EaseUS data recovery software for PC can be used on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and older versions of Windows. It also has Mac versions that support macOS 10.15 ~ 10.9. It only allows you to recover up to 2GB of data for free. But the recovery rate of EaseUS is among the highest in the industry and both its Windows and Mac versions. It recovers your important files with ease and has the remarkable ability to repair corrupt photos and video files.
Top 2. Recuva - Hard Disk Recovery Software (Windows)
Piriform Recuva is widely used among users who have lost files accidentally. What differentiates Recuva from other hard drive recovery software is that it's more interactive. Recuva guides you through the data recovery process by asking you several questions, which makes it more user friendly.
- Unlimited free data recovery with the standard version
- Deep scan mode for hard to find files
- It has a portable version
- 100% free data recovery software
- The interface makes it looks old
- You cannot preview the result during the scanning
Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery.
Recuva is attractively priced and easy to use, though it can't dig in quite as deeply as higher-priced data recovery software. It can satisfy basic needs like photo recovery, deleted music, documents, videos, and email recovery. I have tried this software to retrieve lost Excel files. Recuva is 100% free for personal use.
Top 3. Disk Drill Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)
Cleverfiles Disk Drill is also one of the well-known hard drive recovery software tools in the field. It supports to retrieve deleted, erased, and lost data from hard drives. Other than the data recovery feature, Disk Drill also provides users with extra functions like data protection and backup drive.
- Has auxiliary features like data protection and backup drive
- Organizes files found by category
- Filters the results by size and data
- Supports multiple file systems
- The Windows version can’t recover data from iOS and Android
- The setup process is a little bit tricky and you may skip the custom installation path
Limitations on the free version: 500MB of free recovery. The Pro version costs $89 and has no recovery limits.
Disk Drill has an intuitive interface that allows users to quickly recover their lost files. Its recovery capabilities also attract more experienced computer users. The tool provides additional data protection tools for free that can help you recover recently deleted files quickly. The Recovery Vault feature enables you to designate folders and files for enhanced protection. You can create a byte-level backup of a drive that can be used for the recovery of failing storage devices. But you can only recover 500MB of data for free. If you want to restore more data, you must cost at least $89, which is expensive. Besides, the scanning takes a longer time compared with the previous equivalents and the files found are much less.
Top 4. Wise Data Recovery - HDD Recovery Software (Windows)
Wise Data Recovery is a free data recovery tool that helps to recover lost photos, videos, audio files, documents, and more from local hard drives and removable devices like external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, digital cameras, mobile phones, and MP3 players. With advanced algorithms, Wise Data Recovery performs well to retrieve lost data from the supported devices.
- Free to use
- Light and space-saving
- Fast scanning speed
- Provides portable versions
- Filters files by category
- Only supports FAT, exFAT, and NTFS file systems
- Shows messy codes in the preview pane for unsupported formats
Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery. You cannot run RAW recovery and deep scan with the free version. The Pro version costs $44.96 and has no recovery limits.
Wise Data Recovery allows you to recover lost files in your Windows system(64 and 32-bit). It has been developed to work great on Windows 10 and other Windows operating systems, from Windows XP and up. The free version allows you to run a quick scan and recover recently deleted files. If you want to recover permanently deleted files from Windows 10, this freeware may not work well. The user interface of Wise Data Recovery is straightforward, so even less experienced users shouldn't have much trouble figuring it out. We appreciate the ability to preview deleted files before recovery and display detailed information about them, including file headers.
Top 5. Ontrack Data Recovery Software (Windows & Mac)
Ontrack EasyRecovery is one of the choices for disk data recovery. It will retrieve files from an HDD, SSD, memory card, USB, and optical media after deletion, format, corruption, and more. Other than basic data recovery features, EasyRecovery also enables users to perform advanced RAID recovery.
- Recovers photos, videos, documents, and more
- Supports multiple storage devices
- Allows to preview results before recovery
- Retrieves files after deletion, format, hard disk damage, and corruption
- Must enter personal information to download the software
Limitations on the free version: 1GB of free recovery. The Pro version costs $87.81 and has fewer recovery limits.
Ontrack is straightforward file recovery software for missing, or deleted photos, videos, and more from all types of computer storage devices. Utilize quick scan and deep scan to optimize your recovery. It also provides manual data recovery and repair with experts. The cost depends on your data and the difficulty of the recovery process. It is a little hard to download. You need to give your email and personal information before you can download it.
Top 6. Recover My Files (Windows Only)
Recover My Files is a reliable data recovery software tool that is solely compatible with Windows. It enables users to recover files from hard drives, SD cards, USB Zip drives, floppy disks, iPods, and more. It performs well in Recycle Bin recovery, formatted data recovery, OS reinstallation recovery, RAW partition recovery, and more. Documents, photos, videos, audio files, and emails are all recoverable.
- Supports conventional storage devices like hard drives, SD cards, USBs, and iDevice like iPod
- Allows to scan the backup (image file) of a partition
- Sorts out files by date
- Allows to adjust the layout of the items
- Old-fashioned software interface
- The data recovery process is relatively complex than its competitors
Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery. The Pro version costs $69.95 and has fewer recovery limits.
Recover My Files is a data recovery program that uses file carving to extract lost files from unallocated clusters. Recovery is based on the interpretation of file content, usually through the process of reverse engineering a file type. The recovering process is not that easy as explained. The old-fashioned interface makes it hard for common users. Unfortunately, the last version of Recover My Files was V6, and it’s clear that its original developers have abandoned it. You cannot get any updates.
Top 7. PhotoRec (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
Photo Rec recovers images from all kinds of digital devices such as computers, digital cameras, cell phones, tablets, memory cards, external hard drives, and more. It has powerful file recovery capabilities and support for a wide range of platforms. This open-source data recovery software can recover more than 480 file extensions.
- It supports data recovery cross-platforms, Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc.
- It can restore most devices.
- This software works on many file formats, not just images.
- Not for beginners
- All files are automatically recovered during the scan
- Unable to restore file names and folder structure
Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery.
PhotoRec is free and open-source. It uses text-based data recovery techniques to get the lost files from a system. It is designed for experienced users with its text-only user interface. The good news is that this software is 100% free. PhotoRec can measure up to many paid data recovery software applications. You don't need to worry about the price and limitations.
Top 8. TestDisk (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
TestDisk is also an open resource application that is used to recover lost partitions. It is able to recover deleted partitions from hard drives and fix the partition table, recover the boot sector, and more. Since TeskDisk is open source software, you can inspect, modify, and enhance it as long as you know how to do it.
- Open resource software
- Recover lost partitions
- Fix disks that won't boot
- Recover various file types
- Lacks an intuitive graphical user interface – command-line only
- Repairs damaged partitions and file systems but not files
Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery.
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. If you lost your partition, you can run this software. Otherwise, you can try other free data recovery software.
Top 9. HDD Recovery Software - Orion File Recovery (Windows)
Orion File Recovery can undelete files from Windows computers and Windows-compatible storage devices. In addition to data recovery features, Orion File Recovery is also equipped with exclusive features that will permanently erase data from your hard drive to protect privacy.
- Provides Recover File Wizard that guides you through the data recovery process
- Filters search results by folder, file type, name, and more
- Allows to specify scanning locations
- Provides extra feature "Scrub Files" to erase data completely
- The scanning process is slightly slow
- You may install other utilities unintentionally during the installation of the software
Limitations on the free version: Unlimited data recovery.
One of the features that make Orion File Recovery Software so user-friendly is that every time you open the program, it starts a recovery wizard. Specifying the criteria that the app will use to search for your files couldn't be easier. For instance, Orion File Recovery Software will search for videos, music, pictures, documents, and other file types, whether or not you can remember the file name. The bad news is that there are many configurable options. The scanning result and recovery rate are not so reliable.
Top 10. Windows File Recovery ( Windows 10 2004 and Above)
Windows File Recovery is a command-line software utility from Microsoft to recover deleted files. It is freely available for Windows 10 version 2004 (May 2020 Update) and later from the Microsoft Store. It can recover most file types, with Microsoft listing JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Office files, MP3, MP4, and ZIP files from your hard drive or other devices.
- It recovers JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Office files, MP3 & MP4, ZIP files, and more.
- It is totally free to get back deleted files from HDD, SSD, USB, and memory cards.
- It only works on Windows 10 2004 and above.
- You must use the command line to get back files according to the file types.
Limitations on the free version: Limited file type recovery.
If you run this tool, you must know your target file names, keywords, file paths, or extensions in your recovery. What's more, you can only recover JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Office files, MP3 & MP4, and ZIP files. Different file recovery has different commands, which is hard for common users. This tool is totally free and clean. It will not bring additional software and plug-ins.
How to Recover Files from My Hard Drive for Free
Here are the simple steps needed to recover lost and deleted files using EaseUS data recovery software for Windows.
Step 1. Download & Install EaseUS Hard Drive Data Recovery Software for Windows.
Step 2. Choose the hard drive partition and click "Scan".
Step 3. Select which files you want to recover from your hard drive and click "Recover".
Causes of Hard Drive Data Loss
Data loss on hard drives, be it internal or external, occurs more frequently than you expect. Usually, it's caused by the following reasons:
- A file or folder was accidentally deleted.
- Some or all of the partitions have been formatted (e.g., using Fdisk).
- The system displays the message "NTLDR is missing, Press any key to restart".
- The partition table is corrupt or damaged.
- A file or folder on your hard drive became inaccessible due to a virus attack or virus infection.
At this point, most people learn the importance of a backup. But people often lost data without any backup. That's what makes the hard drive recovery software necessary for users.
What Should You Consider While Choosing Disk Recovery Software
Many software producers claim their hard drive recovery software to be the best in the field. But what makes a great data recovery tool? The higher the price is, the better the software will be? Or you just want the freeware regardless of its quality. Actually, while choosing hard disk data recovery software, you should consider the following factors.
First, It should meet your needs well
Here "needs" indicates the situation in which you need to perform data recovery. An excellent software tool should be able to recover data from a hard drive in different data loss scenarios, like deletion, format, partition loss, partition/disk becoming RAW/inaccessible, virus infection, and more. Make sure the software you choose supports the data recovery from your specific data loss situation.
Second, it should be reliable
The hard drive recovery software should be virus-free, plugin-free, and won't cause further damage to the lost/deleted/formatted data. What's more, the Hard disk recovery software shouldn't crash during the data recovery process.
What equally important is that there should be both pre-sale and after-sale technical support available from the software producer that will serve you anytime you need it.
Third, it should be fast and have a high success rate
Depending on the hard drive capacity and data stored on the storage medium, it may take hours to scan the hard drive searching for the lost files. That’s why speed matters.
Besides, make sure the hard drive data recovery software is capable of recovering data successfully. For information about its success rate, you can refer to the comments from the real users and reviews from authoritative sites, like Trustpilot.
Last but not least, it should be user-friendly
A great disk recovery tool should make it simple for its users to use by providing a clear and intuitive interface. The data recovery process should be as easy as possible. In addition, the software must have some advanced features that help users quickly locate the lost files. Such features include filters, search bars, preview pane, and more.
Of course, there may be other qualities you concern yourself with. No matter what it is, check the list above and choose the best hard drive recovery software for yourself.
Comparison Table - How to Choose a Suitable Software
Here is the comparison of the hard drive recovery software scanning the same partition (127GB free of 141GB) searching for deleted/lost files: You can choose the best one according to your needs.
||Recover My Files
||Wise Data Recovery
||EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
||no size is shown
Do you find the hard drive recovery software you need from the list above? As long as your lost files are not overwritten, you can apply one of the software above to have a try but the success rate varies. The higher the software rank, the higher the chance you will get your files back. If your hard drive is physically damaged, I'm afraid none of the software above will help. In that case, you should send your hard drive for manual data recovery services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated by EaseUS Team
What is data recovery software?
Data recovery software is a specialized application that is used to recover deleted files from storage devices. There are many data recovery software options available that provide varying levels of functionality. A reliable solution like EaseUS for Windows or Mac machines can recover over 1000 different types of files that were accidentally deleted from your computer.
How does data recovery software work?
In the case of accidental data deletion, data recovery software uses deterministic and heuristic algorithms to find the location of deleted files, and then attempts to recover as much of the data as possible. However, the chances of successful data recovery depend largely on the file system of the device in question.
Why do you even need data recovery software?
Most people think all you need to do is run hard drive recovery software. Not all data loss situations require a high-quality, commercial data recovery software solution. In some cases, you can get back data with native operating system features. If you accidentally delete a file or lose all of your files because of a system crash or virus, hard disk recovery software may be able to recover the files from your hard drive.