Best Data Recovery Software of 2018

Data recovery apps are a dime a dozen nowadays. With the proliferation of recovery software being released on almost a daily basis, it can be pretty tough sorting and identifying the best app to restore data from storage devices like memory cards, hard drives, and USB sticks.

Once you run through the standard routine of installing and uninstalling a bevy of substandard tools, you’ll finally get a broad outline of the crucial factors that go into deciding what makes some of these products stand high above the rest.

Top 5 Best Free Data Recovery Software for Windows

1. DISK DRILL


Disk Drill for Windows

The recovery program comes from CleverFiles, which is one of the market veterans known the world over for their technical prowess. The free version can be used for up to 500 MB of recovered data.
All your deleted documents, photos, music, videos and much more can be quickly and easily recovered. The app works seamlessly (across all popular Windows platforms: 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP) salvaging lost and damage files on external and internal storage devices that run on FAT, NTFS, HFS+, FAT16, EXT4, or just any file system you can think of.


Free version recovers up to 500MB of data

What we like:

  • Recovery Vault provides an additional layer for your Recycle Bin, maintaining a backup reference for the files that have been deleted.

  • Guaranteed Recovery since it maintains a copy of every single file that has been moved to a selected folder such as the Recycle Bin.

  • Enables creation of files in the ISO, IMG or DMG formats enabling users to search for data in a clone; nullifying any risk to the original source.

2. PHOTOREC


PhotoRec

PhotoRec is definitely one of the data recovery programs to look out for. It has powerful file recovery capabilities spread across a wide range of platforms. Whether it’s a digital camera or a conventional hard disk, PhotoRec has you covered.


What we like:


  • Supports an extensive list of file formats in pictures, photos, documents, and videos.

  • Works exceptionally well for recovering lost data from CD-ROMs and hard disks.

  • “Unformat” function, which allows you to add custom formats of your choice.

  • Works on all major Windows versions.

3. STELLAR DATA RECOVERY


STELLAR Data  Recovery

Like the name suggests, Stellar gets the job done in style when it comes to recovering data from Windows terminals and compatible devices.


What we like:


  • Performs recovery on a wide range of devices including hard disks, memory cards, smartphones, and USB drives.

  • Simple to use and quick to download.

  • An extensive list of helpful features that enable quick recovery of lost files.

  • Preview feature that shows available files prior to attempting recovery.

4. TESTDISK


This revolutionary software used to be the standard for data recovery programs with its level of functionality and powerful recovery features. It was originally designed as an application that recovers lost partitions and fixes disks that were not booting. This made it arguably the best hard drive data recovery software in the market at a point. One of the downsides is the fact that it’s a command line tool, which makes it unsuitable for users who are used to an easy user interface.


What we like:


  • Facilitates rebuilding of the boot sector.

  • Recovery or fixing partition tables that have been deleted, allowing for recovery of files from exFAT, NTFS, ext2, and FAT file systems.

  • Works on all major Windows versions.

  • Supports recovery of all popular file versions in video, picture, document, and sound file types.

5. RECUVA


Currently one of the top free data recovery programs, Recuva just installs into your machine and gets things done quicker, is easier to use, and does everything it says it would.


What we like:


  • Advanced deep scan mode.

  • Can be used to recover files from extensively damaged files and newly formatted files.

  • Free flowing and easy to use interface.

  • Secure overwrite feature that employs military standard techniques.

  • Preview feature to view discovered files for recovery.

Top 5 Best Paid Data Recovery Software for Windows

1. DISK DRILL PRO


DISK DRILL PRO

What if you had all the functionalities and conveniences of the best recovery software along with unlimited recovery data? That’s what the PRO version of this amazing software gets you. Disk Drill maintains the top place among recovery apps today without breaking a sweat. The PRO version provides users with endless upgrades keeping it up-to-date with the latest technology and security. It has an amazingly simple interface and powerful recovery capabilities.


Free version recovers up to 500MB of data

What we like:


  • Recovery Vault provides a backup reference for deleted files.

  • Guaranteed Recovery.

  • Creation of files in ISO, IMG, or DMG formats, which makes it extensively useful in Forensics.

  • Unlimited Recovery Data.

2. WONDERSHARE


Wondershare Data Recovery

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


What we like:


  • Covers an exhaustive list of formats enabling recovery of all kinds of video, audio, pictures, docs, and much more.

  • It works on all popular Windows versions.

  • A unique feature in Wondershare that’s not seen in many recovery programs is that the recovery process or scanning can be paused and resumed at any point in time.

3. DATA RESCUE PC3


DATA RESCUE PC3

This recovery application provides stiff competition to its contemporaries, securing its position in the top 5 apps. Simplicity is one of the strengths of Data Rescue PC3. The interface is clean and easy to work with. Again, it performs recovery for just about any file types across all Windows versions on all kinds of internal and external storage devices.


What we like:


  • Clean and simple interface.

  • Facilitates the creation of a byte-by-byte copy of the disk at the initial stage of a mechanical failure.

  • Provides an alert to users about any specific event(s) that could potentially lead to an unsuccessful recovery.



Cons: The one sore spot though is that scanning and general recovery process is comprised of multiple layers of processes, which takes up a lot more time to execute a recovery in comparison to other recovery apps.

4. R-STUDIO


This software finds its place in the top 5 owing to its reputation for being a great long-term solution against periodic data loss, i.e. recurring losses over a period of time. The interface is rather on the high-end.


What we like:


  • Advanced tools that are perfect for tech professionals.

  • Supports an extensive list of file formats for recovery.

  • One of the most powerful scanning engines available today.

  • Disk sanitization feature, which enables users to empty old hard drives prior to its disposal.



Cons: On the downside, R-Studio is not the perfect recovery tool for non-technical users. The interface can be confusing and even get intimidating.

5. EASEUS DATA RECOVERY


EaseUS has managed to garner a great deal of positive feedback across a wide spectrum of users. Its design reflects convenience for the end user. EaseUS performs a reasonably good recovery process without much fuss. The app works without a hiccup across most Windows versions.


What we like:


  • Simple and functional user interface.

  • Raw file recovery.

  • Display of recovery results.

  • Comparatively cheaper.

  • Automatic sorting of recovered files.



Cons: EaseUS, however, doesn’t provide an option to recover files from a reformatted hard drive.

What Makes Data Recovery Software Great?

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.

Disk Drill 2
  • REQUIREMENTS
    Windows XP+, 16MB disk space
  • AVERAGE USER RANK
    4.5 by 467 users
  • NEWEST RELEASE
    Version 2.0.0.323, released on 02/13/2018
    View release notes

How Disk Drill serves other users

  • Simon H.
    After my disk was formatted by an idiot, I just purchased your recovery software and all my files were recovered.
  • «As far as we have made use of this tool, Disk Drill software has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that it is capable of recovering data. We have used the software extensively, and for all the storage we have tested, we can affirm that the software can restore data for any kind of storage. Disk Drill will easily restore data for you; whether it is from your USB flash drives, external disk drives, memory cards, or an MP3 player.» by www.thewindowsclub.com