You don’t want to be caught off guard when you lose an important file. Instead, you want to have reliable data recovery software already installed on your system, and this article is here to help you pick the best solution for you.

Top 10 Best Data Recovery Software

1. Disk Drill Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)

Disk Drill is the best data recovery software for Windows and Mac because of its ability to effortlessly recover up to 500 MB of data of data of lost or deleted data from all internal and external storage devices, regardless of their file system.

Disk Drill for Windows

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Pros:Cons:
  • Supports hundreds of file formats
  • Powerful recovery capabilities
  • Lost partition search
  • Data protection and backup features
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Recovers up to 500 MB of data of data for free
  • Ability to mount scan results as a folder
  • No phone support
  • Average scan speed

Overall Experience:

Developed by the data recovery experts at CleverFiles, Disk Drill is the best choice for professional and casual home users alike, providing an exceptionally polished experience and best-in-class data recovery results. The latest version of the software can recover data in more than 400 file formats from a variety of storage devices and file systems using its advanced scanning algorithms.

Data recovery with Disk Drill is an intuitive process that doesn’t require any expert knowledge. You can filter scan results to find a specific file and preview it before recovery directly inside Disk Drill. If you need to shut down your computer, you can simply pause the scan and resume it later.

The free version of Disk Drill can recover up to 500 MB of data of data (for Windows), and it provides enhanced data protection with its Recovery Vault and Drive backup features. Both of these features are just as easy to use as the data recovery portion of Disk Drill because they share the same polished user interface.

Users who would like to enjoy unlimited data recovery can upgrade to Disk Drill PRO for just $89.00 and activate it on up to 3 computers. Lifetime upgrades can be purchased for $29 to reliably recover data even on future versions of Windows and macOS.

Despite the word PRO in its name, the paid version of Disk Drill is just as easy to use as the free one, so even inexperienced home users with no expert knowledge shouldn’t feel intimidated by it.

Versions / Licensing:

  • Disk Drill Basic: Free
  • Disk Drill Pro: $89
  • Disk Drill Enterprise: $499

System requirements:
Windows 7 SP1+, 44 MB of storage space
Mac OS X 10.8.5+, 22 MB of storage space

Supported languages: English, Arabic, German, Spanish, French, Turkish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Dutch, Polish, Brazilian, Portuguese, European Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Chinese, Hindi

Supported file systems: NTFS, NTFS5, FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, EXT3/EXT4, HFS, HFS+, APFS

Last updates and news: Disk Drill 4 was released in October 2020

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: Yes

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: Yes

2. Data Rescue 6 (Windows & Mac)

Simplicity is what Data Rescue 6 is all about, but its steep price makes it prohibitively expensive for most home users, the demographic that would ironically most appreciate its clean and simple user interface.

Data Rescue 6 for Windows

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Pros:Cons:
  • Clean and simple interface
  • Can duplicate a potentially failing drive onto a healthy drive
  • Automatically determines a set of RAID configurations
  • Unnecessarily complicated multi-step recovery process
  • Expensive

Overall Experience:

Data Rescue 6 is a somewhat confusing data recovery software application because its clean and simple user interface (the main screen features just three large buttons with colorful icons and detailed descriptions) suggests that its target are regular home users, but its steep price tag and website tell a completely different story.

A single license (which can be used by one user on an unlimited number of systems) costs $399.00 a year. That’s more than twice as much compared with what most other competing data recovery software applications charge for a lifetime license.

If you can afford to pay such a large amount of money for Data Rescue 6, you can look forward to fast scan and recovery speeds, improved RAID recovery, and additional disk tools for byte-to-byte disk copies and secure file deletion.

Versions / Licensing:

  • Data Rescue 6 Demo: Free
  • Data Rescue 6 Standard: starts at $19 (pay for the files you want to recover)
  • Data Rescue 6 Pro: $399 per year

System requirements:
Windows 7 or later or macOS 10.12 or later, secondary storage location, internet connection

Supported languages: English

Supported file systems: FAT, FAT32, exFAT, ext2, ext3, HFS+, APFS, and NTFS

Last updates and news: Data Rescue 6 was released in June 2020, introducing support for macOS 10.15 and APFS drives

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: Yes

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: No

3. PhotoRec (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

PhotoRec has powerful file recovery capabilities and support for a wide range of platforms. Whether it’s a digital camera or a traditional hard drive, PhotoRec has you covered as long as you’re able to figure out how to use it.

PhotoRec

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Pros:Cons:
  • Compatible with all major operating systems
  • Recovers about 300 file families
  • Support for many file systems
  • Intimidating for beginners
  • All files are automatically recovered during scan
  • Unable to restore file names and folder structure

Overall Experience:

Judging by its name, you might think that PhotoRec can recover only image file formats, but that’s not the case at all. In reality, this open-source data recovery software can recover more than 480 file extensions (about 300 file families) from hard drives, memory cards, CD-ROMs, USB flash drives, and other storage devices.

PhotoRec is known for scaring inexperienced users away with its text-only user interface, but we found the data recovery process to be reasonably self-explanatory. Sure, beginners could benefit from even more handholding, but that’s what the official documentation is intended for.

In terms of performance, PhotoRec can measure up to many paid data recovery software applications. It uses a non-destructive data recovery method, which prevents it from writing to the same storage device the user is about to recover from. In certain cases, PhotoRec can successfully recover even fragmented files scattered all over the place.

Versions / Licensing: Free and open-source

System requirements:
Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003
Any recent version of macOS
Linux kernel 2.6.18 or later

Supported languages: English, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish

Supported file systems: FAT, NTFS, exFAT, ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystem, HFS

Last updates and news: The latest stable version was released in July 2019

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: No

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: No

4. R-Studio (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

This comprehensive data recovery software solution is geared toward more experienced users who are able to appreciate its extensive options and powerful features.

RStudio

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Pros:Cons:
  • Advanced features for data recovery processionals
  • Available as a bootable ISO image
  • Disk sanitization feature
  • Not suitable for non-technical users
  • Doesn’t display results during scan
  • Can preview only a few file formats

Overall Experience:

Whereas most data recovery products on the market target regular home users, R-Studio is intended primarily for professionals who already understand the ins and outs of data recovery. It provides support for all commonly used file systems and partition layout schemes and handles even damaged or deleted partitions.

Instead of guiding users through the recovery process step by step, R-Studio gives them the freedom to start multiple data recovery jobs at the same time in separate tabs. Recovered files can be sorted by their extensions, creation time, modification time, access time, and other parameters. You can preview many supported file types or view files using the built-in hex editor to assess their integrity or perform partial recovery.

When buying R-Studio, make sure you get the right version. The least expensive version of R-Studio ($49.99) can recover data only from the FAT, exFAT, Ext2/3/4 file systems. To also recover data from NTFS, ReFS, HFS+, APFS, HFS, and UFS, you need to purchase the $79.99 version.

Versions / Licensing:

  • R-Studio FAT: $49.99
  • R-Studio NTFS: $59.99
  • R-Studio: $79.99
  • R-Studio Network: $179.99
  • R-Studio Technician: $899.00

System requirements:
Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP/2000 or Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008 /2003
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or newer
Any kernel 2.6+ Linux distribution capable of installing .rpm or .deb packages

Supported languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, and Japanese

Supported file systems: NTFS/ReFS, FAT/exFAT, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, HFS+/APFS/ HFS/UFS

Last updates and news: R-Studio 8.13.176095 was released on April 13, 2020, and it fixed several bugs connected with DDI bad sectors processing

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: Yes

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: Yes

5. TestDisk (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Designed to recover lost partitions and make non-booting disks bootable again, TestDisk is an excellent solution to many desperate data loss scenarios, but its text-only user interface puts it out of the reach of many users.

TestDisk

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Pros:Cons:
  • Capable of recovering many different filesystems and partition schemes
  • Broad operating system support
  • Free and open source
  • Lacks an intuitive graphical user interface – command-line only
  • Repairs damaged partitions and file systems but not files

Overall Experience:

If you’ve accidentally and permanently deleted an important file, and you desperately want to get it back, TestDisk isn’t the right choice. This open-source data recovery application doesn’t focus on individual files but entire file systems and partitions. It can fix partition tables, repair boot sectors, and do many other things to restore access to lost files.

It’s true that TestDisk can undelete files from FAT, exFAT, NTFS, and xt2/ext3/ext4 file systems, but this functionality is tucked away inside the advanced menu, where most regular users never go. Besides, recovering individual files with TestDisk is extremely cumbersome because you can’t preview files before recovery.

But despite its shortcomings, such as the lack of an intuitive graphical user interface, TestDisk remains one of the best data recovery software solutions for Windows, Mac, Linux and several other operating systems.

Versions / Licensing: Free and open-source

System requirements:
Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003
Any recent version of macOS
Linux kernel 2.6.18 or later

Supported languages: English, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish

Supported file systems: FAT, exFAT, NTFS, and xt2/ext3/ext4

Last updates and news: The latest stable version was released in July 2019

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: No

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: No

6. Stellar Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)

Stellar Data Recovery is a professional-grade data recovery software for Windows and Mac that can deal with completely crashed and unbootable systems that many lesser applications of its kind would deem unrecoverable.

STELLAR Data Recovery

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Pros:Cons:
  • Support for a wide range of storage devices
  • Easy to use
  • Useful preview feature
  • Relatively expensive
  • Slow scan and recovery speed
  • Glitchy store device selection

Overall Experience:

Previously known as Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery, this data recovery software supports NTFS, exFAT and FAT (FAT16/FAT32) formatted hard drives, SSDs, USB flash drives, memory cards (including SD card, Micro SD card, CF cards, etc.), and other commonly used storage devices.

You can choose from two different versions intended for professional usage: Professional ($79.99 for one year or $99 for a lifetime license) and Premium ($99.99 for one year or $149 for a lifetime license). The former version is slightly cheaper because it doesn’t include any video or photo recovery capabilities.

Except for the missing recovery features, the two versions are identical and equally easy to use. Recovered files can be sorted according to their type or displayed in a tree view, which is useful for locating a specific folder.

Versions / Licensing:

  • Stellar Data Recovery Free: $0
  • Stellar Data Recovery Standard: $49.99
  • Stellar Data Recovery Professional: $79.99
  • Stellar Data Recovery Premium: $99.99
  • Stellar Data Recovery Technician: $199
  • Stellar Data Recovery Toolkit: $299

System requirements:
Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista & XP
macOS Catalina 10.15, Mojave 10.14, High Sierra 10.13, 10.12, 10.11, 10.10, 10.9, 10.8 & 10.7

Supported languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish

Supported file systems: NTFS, exFAT, FAT(FAT16/FAT32), HFS, HFS+, ext2, ext3, ext4

Last updates and news: Version 9.0.0.4 was released in May 2020

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: Yes

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: Yes

7. EaseUS Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)

EaseUS has managed to garner a great deal of positive feedback across a wide spectrum of users, and our experience with its data recovery features has been similarly positive, which is why it deserves a place on this list.

Download EaseUS

Pros:Cons:
  • Reliable data recovery performance
  • Lets users sort and filter delete files
  • Makes data recovery accessible to anyone
  • Includes unrecoverable files alongside recoverable files
  • Previews only files that are smaller than 100 MB
  • Doesn’t accurately display remaining scan time

Overall Experience:

EaseUS Data Recovery is a tried and tested data recovery software for Windows and Mac. Its developers have successfully made the complicated process of data recovery simple and accessible to anyone. There are no menus with multiple layers and options that require a lengthy manual to decipher what they mean.

When you begin data recovery with this software application, you’re first asked to select a location to scan, such as your hard drive or USB flash drive. You can also select a specific folder, including the Recycle Bin. Then, you simply click the Scan button and wait for EaseUS Data Recovery to find your files.

If your budget is tight, you can purchase EaseUS Data Recovery for just one month. However, we recommend you get a lifetime license for $149.95 to enjoy unlimited free upgrades.

Versions / Licensing:

  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free: $0
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro: $69.95 a month
  • EaseUS: Data Recovery Wizard Technician: $299.00 a year

System requirements:
Windows 2000 or newer
macOS 10.15 ~ 10.9

Supported languages: English, German, Japanese, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Swedish, Danish, Korean, Russian, Norwegian, Polish, Hungarian, Arabic, Turkish, Indonesian

Supported file systems: FAT (FAT12, FAT16, FAT32), exFAT, NTFS, NTFS5, ext2/ext3, HFS+, ReFS

Last updates and news: Version 13.5 was released on July 29, 2020

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: No

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: No

8. Recuva (Windows)

Recuva is a small freeware program you can use to recover pictures, music, documents, videos, or any other types of files on your hard drive, memory cards, floppy disks, iPod or MP3 player, or USB sticks.

Recuva

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Pros:Cons:
  • Low price
  • Free version available
  • Beautifully clear interface design
  • Preview screen
  • Can’t recover as many files as high-priced rivals

Overall Experience:

We like Recuva for its low cost, its clear interface, and its ease of use, but it only recovered two-thirds of the deleted files on my test drive, and that kind of performance may not be good enough in a crisis. Still, it can’t hurt to download the free version and give it a try. If it finds the files you’re looking for, it’s all you need. Otherwise, it’s time to turn to one of our top picks, Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery ($79.99 at Stellar) —best for non-technical users—or Ontrack EasyRecovery, with its unmatched performance, but sometimes obscure interface.

Once you’ve recovered as many of your missing files as you can (hopefully you get them all back), your very next concern should almost certainly be to do your best to make sure that you never lose another file again. While nothing is ever guaranteed, of course, you can go a long way toward protecting yourself with backup software. For extra security, you may also consider backing up your data to the cloud, so that even a disaster that destroys all your local hardware won’t wipe out your data. For this additional peace of mind, you’ll want an online backup service.

Versions / Licensing:

  • Recuva Free: $0
  • Recuva Pro: $19.95

System requirements:
Windows 10, 8.1, 7, Vista, and XP

Supported languages: Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Azeri (Latin), Bosnian, Brazilian Portuguese (Portugues do Brasil), Bulgarian, Catalan (Catala), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech (Ceský), Danish, Dutch (Nederlands), English, Estonian, Finnish (Suomi), French (Français), Georgian, German (Deutsch), Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian (Magyar), Italian (Italiano), Japanese, Lithuanian (Lietuviu), Norwegian, Polish (Polski), Romanian (Romana), Russian, Serbian (Cyrillic), Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Espanol), Swedish (Svenska), Turkish (Türkçe), Ukrainian, Vietnamese.

Supported file systems: FAT, exFAT, and NTFS

Last updates and news: The last stable version was released in June 2016

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: No

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: No

9. Wondershare Recoverit (Windows & Mac)

One of the best data recovery programs in its price range, Wondershare works flawlessly with a wide range of storage devices, including camcorders, hard drives, memory sticks, and USB flash drives.

Wondershare

Download Recoverit

Pros:Cons:
  • Supports many file formats
  • Sleek design and great usability
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac files systems
  • Can recover only up to 100 MB of data
  • Preview feature limited to a handful of file formats
  • Many duplicates in scan results

Overall Experience:

The company behind this data recovery software has been around for many years, and it has successfully earned the trust of millions of home users and many large companies. Recoverit is its flagship data recovery product, and it boasts support for over 1,000 file formats and all commonly used file systems, including NTFS, FAT, HFS+, and APFS.

Just like all other software applications from Wondershare, Recoverit is really easy to use, and we had to go through just three simple steps to recover our files. During the last step, we were able to preview recovered files before retrieving them with a single click.

The only problem is that the free version of Wondershare Recoverit can recover only up to 100 MB of data. That’s not much considering that a single high-resolution picture taken with a modern smartphone can easily have around 5 MB.

Versions / Licensing:

  • Wondershare Recoverit Essential: $59.95 a year
  • Wondershare Recoverit Standard: $69.95 a year
  • Wondershare Recoverit Advanced: $79.95 a year

System requirements:
Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP (either 32-bit or 64-bit) or Windows Server 2016, 2012, 2008, 2003
macOS 10.9- 10.15

Supported languages: English, Japanese, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Dutch, Korean

Supported file systems: NTFS, FAT32, FAT16, exFAT, APFS, encrypted APFS, HFS+, encrypted HFS, HFSX

Last updates and news: Wondershare Recoverit 9.0 was released in June 2020

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: Yes

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: Yes

10. DiskGenius (Windows)

DiskGenius is an all-in-one data recovery and partition management solution aimed at professional and home users alike. You can use it to solve many unpleasant disk problems and try it for free before spending money on one of the two paid versions.

DiskGenius

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Pros:Cons:
  • Combines data recovery and partition management
  • Is able to virtualize Windows into a VMware virtual machine
  • Disk cloning functionality
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free version available
  • Doesn’t have the most intuitive user interface
  • Jack of all trades but master of none

Overall Experience:

Partition and data loss issues often go hand-in-hand, which is why the people behind DiskGenius decided to create an all-in-one data recovery and partition management solution that lets you recover lost data from deletion, formatting, RAW drive, partition loss, OS crash, and many other data loss situations.

While the user interface of DiskGenius is nothing to write home about, the actual data recovery process is simple and boils down to just three steps. First, you select a partition or drive, then you scan for lost data, and, finally, you preview all listed files and select those that you want to get back.

DiskGenius comes with several extra features that even several times more expensive products don’t include, such as the ability to recover data directly from VMware, Virtual Box, or Microsoft Virtual PC images. It also includes a hex editor that facilitates the analysis of raw disk data, but it’s unlikely that regular users would ever take advantage of this feature.

Versions / Licensing:

  • DiskGenius Free: $0
  • DiskGenius Standard: $69.90
  • DiskGenius Professional: $99.90

System requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10, Small Business Server 2011/2003/2008, Windows home server 2011, and Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016 (both 32bit and 64bit)

Supported languages: English, Japanese

Supported file systems: NTFS, FAT32, FAT16, exFAT, EXT2, EXT3, and EXT4

Last updates and news: Version 5.3.0.1066 introduced support for high-resolution displays and other improvements

Creates a recovery drive for data recovery: No

Recovers deleted files from encrypted hard drives: No

How We Test Data Recovery Software

Here are some of the critical aspects that delineate top data recovery software from the competition.

Security & Protection

This is invariably the first thing we check on any file that comes in .exe format. It needs to run smoothly through an antivirus filter to make sure there isn’t any malware. You can also try uploading the .exe file to Valkyrie, which scans it for potential threats.

Once the program is installed, you need to ensure that it exclusively performs read-only processes during the scan. It’s not desirable having a third party application writing additional content onto the drive from which you want to recover data.

Performance & Versatility

A common issue with a lot of these recovery apps is that the rescue tools support very limited file types. A recovery app becomes resourceful when it supports the restore of a wide range of file types; so, you can confidently restore pictures, videos, music files, and other file types.

Another unpleasant realization is that most of your programs do not support the recovery of files from external storage devices such as external HDD or USB flash drives. This is quite inconvenient as the major chunk of data loss these days occur on external or portable storage devices.

Speed

Time is something nobody has enough of these days. You can’t expect users to spend the whole day waiting for the scanning and recovering processes to finally get their hands on something urgent. Good performing data recovery software generally has options for high-speed scanning. And some even come with customized scanning while targeting a specific file for recovery.

File Preview

Another important feature is to preview files that have already been identified. Also, the recovered files need to be in their original quality.

User-Friendly

There’s no use of having the world’s best data recovery app if it can only be operated by the guy who made it. Simple interface and ease-of-use are essential to any app. A lot of recovery programs feature flashy icons and supposedly high tech features that are rather useless. The end user often only needs a well-defined interface that delivers the goods, period.

Reliability

You also don’t want to see your recovery program crash after it’s been scanning your computer for over three hours. This can get frustrating. Of course, no program is perfect. Occasional minor glitches are expected, but a program that crashes every other time you use it just doesn’t justify the space it occupies on your system.

Windows Compatibility

Yet another aspect that distinguishes a recovery program from the competition is its compatibility with all popular Windows versions, like Windows 10/8/8.1/7/Vista/XP. Compatibility reflects diligence of the creators in maintaining the app up-to-date.

Tech Support

It’s obvious that the end user who isn’t always technically-proficient require assistance while using the software. Hence, it’s a good idea for the user to have access to the support team via mail, phone or live chat.

Now that you have a good idea about what makes an awesome recovery program.