In our in-depth Disk Drill review, we go over the data recovery application’s main and extra features, its recovery process, and several other aspects that you should take into consideration when evaluating whether it’s worth your money. Hint: Disk Drill is worth every penny, and there’s even a free version.
Windows users may already be familiar with Disk Drill Data Recovery. It has been a reliable solution for resolving data loss issues for many years. Its developers at CleverFiles have recently released the latest update of this versatile data recovery tool. Disk Drill for Windows 5 provides even more powerful data scanning and recovery capabilities as well as an improved user interface. We encourage readers who are unfamiliar with the way data recovery software works to visit our guide on the subject. Let’s take a look at the application’s features so you can see if it’s right for you.
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Analytics reveal that our audience shows a strong preference for understanding the program’s testing process and exploring its pricing plans. As such, we’ve responded to this interest by elevating these sections for ease of access. For a comprehensive breakdown of Disk Drill’s unique features and updates in the latest major release, please click here.
How to Use Disk Drill
Let’s take a look at how to set up Disk Drill on a PC and run it through a few media recovery scenarios.
Installing and Configuring Disk Drill
Installing Disk Drill for Windows 5 is a painless process. It just took me a few minutes. Here’s the procedure I used.
- I downloaded the software from the Official website.
- Clicking on the downloaded files started the installation.
- All I had to do was click install and agree to allow the installer to make changes on my device. This is required so setup of Disk Drill can make changes to Windows settings.
- I was then ready to launch Disk Drill and begin data recovery.
The data recoveries discussed below all make the assumption that you have completed the installation process outlined above. Here’s how Disk Drill enabled me to quickly address the following data loss scenarios.
Scenario 1: Can Disk Drill Recover Data from External Storage Media?
The answer is yes! I had an issue where several folders were inadvertently deleted from an external drive used to store photos. These were the steps that allowed me to get them back.
- I connected my external hard drive to my machine.
- After firing up Disk Drill I choose the disk from the app’s list.
- I clicked the Search for lost data button to start scanning the drive.
- Disk Drill returned a list of the data it could recover. Included in the list were the folders I needed back which I quickly selected for recovery. For each listed file, Disk Drill estimated its recovery chances, giving me plenty of information to decide which reconstructed files to select and which to leave behind.
- I clicked the Recover button and select a suitable recovery destination.
- When the recovery concluded my files were safely in their new folder.
Results: The results of this test demonstrate that Disk Drill can easily recover lost data from external storage media, including USB hard drives, thumb drives, and even memory cards.
Scenario 2: Recovering Lost Photos from an Internal HDD
I have also had occasion to use Disk Drill to recover lost photos on my internal HDD. They were inadvertently deleted when I was attempting to transfer them to an external drive, and then I inexplicably also emptied the Recycle Bin. I thought my prospects were dim, but tried Disk Drill anyway.
- After launching Disk Drill I selected my internal disk for scanning.
- I clicked the Search for lost data button to begin scanning for my lost images.
- When the scan was completed, I activated the Pictures filter and was able to quicky find and preview the missing photos.
- I clicked the Recover button and selected a new folder in which to save the files. Since the photos were recovered from drive D, I selected drive C to avoid any files being overwritten or corrupted.
- In a few minutes, the process was complete, and the important photos were safe and sound in the new folder.
Results: My photos were restored in a matter of a few clicks. What began as a stressful situation ended well with the priceless images available again.
Scenario 3: Attempting to Recover a Deleted Word Document
Another situation that you might run into is the accidental deletion of a Word document. It can happen easily, as it did to me, when cleaning up my hard drive. Afterwards, I realized I had deleted a doc I needed for work the next day.
- I launched Disk Drill and choose the main drive since it was where the Word file had been located.
- I clicked the Search for lost data button to scan for the deleted document.
- When the scan completed, I opened the Documents folder in. To my great relief, the file was marked as recoverable, which I was able to confirm by opening it in the Preview window. I then selected the file for recovery.
- After clicking the Recover button I was prompted for a storage location at which to save the doc. I did not save it to its original location to avoid overwriting the original file. The best solution is to use a different drive, such as an external device, to store the recovered data. Simply using a different folder on the same drive still exposes you to accidentally overwriting the data you want to recover.
- The process was completed, and I had my file back. The ten-minute recovery process saved me hours of work that would have been spent attempting to recreate the document.
Results: Once again, Disk Drill came through with flying colors. It found my lost document and recovered it quickly which saved a lot of work and unnecessary stress.
Disk Drill effectively and efficiently performs its primary function as a data recovery tool. From the perspective of a data recovery tool, I can highly recommend this software. It successfully passed all of my tests and recovered the requested data with no issues.
How Much Does Disk Drill Cost
Disk Drill can be obtained in a couple of configurations to serve the needs of individuals or businesses. Here are the options available.
Limitations or Perks
Primary usage scenario
Testing the application’s features and small data recovery tasks.
Single users with large data recovery and protection requirements.
Ideal for company-wide data recovery.
All paid versions of Disk Drill for Windows 5 include an option for users to download the fully-functional Disk Drill for macOS. Discounts may also be available by checking on the CleverFiles download site.
Key Features of Disk Drill
Users choose software tools based on their features and usability. Satisfying those criteria has always been the focus of the team at CleverFiles. Disk Drill for Windows 5 continues this practice with the new version of their data recovery software. It offers users an intuitive and powerful platform for recovering lost and deleted data from any type of disk-based storage device. Data protection tools are included for free to help keep your important data safe. Let’s take a closer look at what you get with Disk Drill.
Good to know: Disk Drill is sometimes wrongly referred to as “Disc Drill.” Although the words “disk” and “disc” can be used interchangeably, the former is the preferred spelling in computer-related usage.
Disk Drill for Windows 5 builds on the wildly successful user interface overhaul introduced with the release of Disk Drill 4. Clearly designed with the latest Windows 11 design guidelines in mind, the new user interface looks and feels more polished, cohesive, and intuitive.
The left pane, where all main features are available, is now split into only two sections: one dedicated to data recovery, and the other one dedicated to all the extra tools Disk Drill comes with. From the data recovery section, you can access all storage devices connected to your computer, see recent recovery sessions, and recover data from RAID arrays.
That’s right, Disk Drill for Windows 5 introduces support for the recovery of Windows and Linux RAID arrays. The process is just as straightforward as when recovering data from regular internal and external storage devices, and the results live up to Disk Drill’s reputation.
To initiate the data recovery process, you need to select the storage device you want to recover and click Search for lost data—that’s it! During scanning, Disk Drill for Windows 5 displays an even more comprehensive real-time summary of scan results, allowing you to see exactly how many pictures, videos, audio files, documents, and so on have been found.
When recovering lost data using a capable application like Disk Drill, it can be difficult to find specific missing files. Disk Drill for Windows 5 makes this easier with the addition of new scan results filters. You can now narrow down recoverable files by file type, file size, date modified, and recovery chances.
Because data loss can occur not just during the day but also in the middle of the night, Disk Drill 5 for Windows supports Dark Mode, making it much easier on the eyes in low-ambient-light conditions. It also helps that the team behind Disk Drill has fixed all known UI scaling glitches, so using the software on HiDPI monitors has never been more enjoyable.
These and other user interface improvements result in a sleeker user experience and less time required to recover lost data.
Powerful Recovery Capabilities
Data recovery is Disk Drill’s main purpose. It performs that function with advanced scanning algorithms that can deeply interrogate disk storage devices and perform everything from SD card recovery to USB flash drive scanning in order to uncover recoverable files in over 400 different formats. You can quickly recover from data loss situations such as restoring files from an external hard drive, saving data from formatted disks, and retrieving files that are no longer in the Recycle Bin.
Newly supported file formats include but are not limited to:
- Image formats like CRW (raw photos by Canon), CPT (Corel Photo-Paint 2019), EXR (high-dynamic range, multi-channel raster images), INSP (Insta360 panoramic images), X3I (super fine detail Sigma raw photos)
- Video formats like VP6 (On2 TrueMotion), R3D (video files by the RED Cinema), and M1V (Moving Picture Experts Group Phase 1&2)
- Professional file formats like XD (Adobe XD mockups), MB (Autodesk Maya 2020 binary & ASCII projects), PTS, PTF, PTX, PTXP (Avid Pro Tools Sessions, multiple versions), MDP (Fire Alpaca)
The tool offers flexibility in the scanning process by enabling scans to be paused and resumed at a later time. Those who don’t want to wait for scanning to finish can review found items in real-time with Disk Drill continuing scanning in the background.
New in Disk Drill 5 for Windows are cross-platform scanning sessions. For example, you can scan an external hard drive on a Windows computer, save the results, and then continue from where you left off on a Mac without having to start from a clean slate. Needless to say, this feature can save users a ton of time.
Disk Drill offers the ability to load scan results as a virtual disk so files can be moved more easily. You can fine-tune the scanning process by selecting specific scans or allowing the tool to run them all for more complete data recovery. What’s more, Disk Drill 5 for Windows can mount, scan, and recover data from your Virtual Hard Drives in VHD and VHDX formats.
Disk Drill removes all guesswork from data recovery by predicting recovery chances for each found file at the end of scanning and allowing you to preview recoverable files in a dedicated Preview window.
Disaster recovery (DR) chances are indicated using easy-to-understand star labels:
- ★ = High
- ✬ = Average
- ☆ = Low
- ? = Unknown
Best of all, you can filter your scan results according to estimated recovery chances, making it easy to select files that have acceptable recovery chances and leave everything else behind.
Additional Data Protection Tools
A real bonus is the data protection tools that are included for free with all versions of Disk Drill, including Disk Drill Basic. You can provide extra protection for valuable files and folders by configuring Recovery Vault to store them if they get deleted. The vault works like an additional Recycle Bin and saves the data for a user-determined period of time. They can quickly be recovered without employing a full recovery and paying any cent. Restoring files from Recovery Vault is absolutely free.
Byte-level backups, which can be created using the Drive Backup feature, can be critically important when you are faced with a disk that is showing signs of imminent failure. When you create this backup, it can be used for data recovery without putting the failing disk through the stress of multiple reads and writes. You only access the drive one time to make the backup which can be used to recover deleted files if the disk does indeed fail.
Last but not least, there’s the S.M.A.R.T. monitoring tool, which tracks various indicators of hard drive reliability so that you can easily tell when a hard drive is nearing the end of its life and transfer your data from it before you lose the ability to do so due to excessive wear and tear.
Intuitive recovery process
Recover data from formatted disks or partitions
Recover data from any disk-based device
Recover deleted files from an emptied Recycle Bin
Repair damaged partitions
Over 400 file formats supported for recovery
Display scan results as a virtual disk
Data loss prevention tools
Windows and macOS support
Filter recovery files for faster scanning
Find lost partitions
Disk Drill’s Developers: A Commitment to Innovation
Each new version of Disk Drill extends and enhances the tool’s functionality. Here’s a look at some of the main improvements made to Disk Drill 5 for Windows.
- Up to 8x faster scanning speed
- Heavily upgraded recovery from EXT3 and EXT4 Linux file systems
- More informative scanning progress indicator
- A new “Lost data structures” group in the scanning results
- EXT4 recovery now properly understands and treats symbolic links
- Lost NTFS partitions scanning and recovery
- Bad sectors detection and notifications
Unique Features That Set Disk Drill Apart
Some of the features that set Disk Drill app apart from the competition include:
- The advanced technology that drives its scanning algorithms
- A very intuitive and user-friendly interface
- The inclusion of free data protection tools
User Reviews of Disk Drill
In the interest of providing more than one point of view, here are what some other users and reviewers have said about Disk Drill.
Lifewire calls Disk Drill an
Softpedia says that Disk Drill is
Reddit user claims the following:
Techadvisor UK gives this verdict on the tool:
OnMac says that Disk Drill:
So you don’t have to just take our word for it. Disk Drill works!
A loose cable on my memory cards reader caused the memory card to be “unsafely removed” from the computer. All the content disappeared from the card. After panicking, I spent the next 2 hours recovering my round 9 photos. Thank god @Cleverfiles saved the day! pic.twitter.com/r3EsSRJR02
— David Llada ♞ (@davidllada) September 20, 2019
Alternatives to Disk Drill: Is it Worth Exploring Other Options?
In the diverse market of data recovery software, Disk Drill has established itself as a key player. To give you a clear picture of how it measures up, we’ve decided to compare Disk Drill to some other software tools that are on the popular spectrum of the data recovery software market. This includes well-known solutions like EaseUS Data Recovery, Recuva, Stellar Data Recovery, and Wondershare Recoverit. Our detailed comparison spans a range of advanced parameters to help you make an informed decision.
User Interface & Ease of Use
Lifetime & Subscription
Free & Paid versions
Data Protection Features
Free Version Availability
Supported File Formats
Multiple (not specified)
RAID Recovery Support
Email, Knowledge Base
Email, Phone, Knowledge Base
Email, Phone, Knowledge Base
Email, Knowledge Base
Operating System Compatibility
Data backup, S.M.A.R.T. monitoring
File System Support
Quick & Deep Scan
Quick & Deep Scan
Quick & Deep Scan
Quick & Deep Scan
Software Updates & Maintenance
Each data recovery software has its strengths and weaknesses. Disk Drill offers a robust set of features and a user-friendly interface, making it a strong contender in the market. EaseUS and Stellar provide reliable recovery capabilities with different pricing models. Recuva stands out for its free unlimited recovery option, despite a more basic interface and feature set. Recoverit offers a good balance of features and usability, with a focus on ease of use.
Ultimately, the choice of data recovery software depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. We recommend trying out the free versions or demos where available to get a firsthand experience of each software’s capabilities.
With its intuitive interface, data protection tools, and effective data recovery capabilities, we think you can’t go wrong when selecting Disk Drill as your data recovery tool of choice. It is a valuable application that helps both new and experienced Windows users get their lost data back quickly and easily.
- Intuitive user-friendly interface
- Powerful recovery capabilities
- Supports all Windows version
- Recovery for any type of disk-based storage
- Additional data protection and disk backup tools
- Does not support the Linux operating system
- No phone support
- Full scans using all available methods may take some time
So, is it worth it?
In a word, yes! If you are in need of a data recovery tool for Windows, Disk Drill is an excellent option. It will find your lost and deleted data in a few clicks. It also helps protect your important files and disks with its additional free tools. In our opinion, it should be your first choice when faced with a data loss scenario.
Our verdict: 4.8 out of 5.
Robert Agar is the Content Writer & Managing Editor for Handy Recovery. Robert brings over 30 years of experience in data storage, security, compliance, backup, and recovery to the HandyRecovery team. Several years ago, he turned his attention from hands-on technical roles to develop a career as a freelance writer concentrating on technology and its impact on society. Areas of focus include the cloud, data recovery, artificial intelligence, and industrial automation.
Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor for Handy Recovery. Andrey is a software engineer expert with extensive expertise in data recovery, computer forensics, and data litigation. Andrey brings over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair to the team.