Top 10 Free Data Recovery Software

Recently there was a discussion in our forum about data recovery and we were quite surprised to discover that many people don’t think that data recovery software works. In our experience, it does work more often than not and it’s saved me many times after accidentally deleting important files, or after formatting a hard drive and forgetting to backup some files. There was only once, I wrongly formatted my external hard drive and somehow I wasn’t able to get back all my files. I have several external hard drives, all with the same casing and no label. I guess the reason I wasn’t able to get back my files is because I might have copied some files to another hard drive.

The data recovery market is quite competitive and there are loads of products out there, but mostly it’s paid commercial software. Some may have a free version or trial but usually you only get to view the files that can be recovered or you’re able to recover a small amount of data such as 64KB. There are still some free and unrestricted products out there that can help you get your files back, and we have 10 useful data recovery programs here for you to have a look at.

When recovering data from deletion or corruption, there are some simple rules to follow for the best chance of recovery:

  • Try to stop using the device or partition you want to recover from because if you’re trying to recover files from your C drive for example, any activity such as browsing the internet might accidentally overwrite what you’re trying to get back.
  • Do NOT install, download or extract the data recovery software onto the hard drive or external device that you want to recover from.
  • Do NOT save the recovered files onto the same hard drive that you’re recovering from, some recovery tools will automatically warn you or not allow you to do it.

Do take note that these are our top 10 picks for Free data recovery software and are in no particular order of preference. Being at number 1 does not necessarily mean it is better than number 5.

1. Recuva


Recuva is a free Windows utility from the makers of CCleaner to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This includes FAT, NTFS and exFAT file systems, and files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images, music, video and other files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera/phone memory cards or MP3/MP4 players. By using the more thorough Deep Scan mode you have a better chance to recover files, and “Scan for non-deleted files” turns Recuva’s search mode into recovering files from damaged or formatted partitions. There’s also a useful secure file eraser so selected deleted files cannot be recovered.

The zip file is only 3MB in size and it’s portable (an installer version is available) giving Recuva an advantage over some other tools which need installing.

Download Recuva

2. PC Inspector File Recovery

PC Inspector File Recovery

PC Inspector can recover data from most FAT and NTFS partitions even if the boot sector has been erased or damaged. You can also save recovered files onto network drives and several types of video, audio, pictures and archives with damaged headers can be recovered using a special mode. Formats include ARJ, AVI, BMP, DOC, DXF, XLS, EXE, GIF, HLP, HTML, JPG, LZH, MID, MOV, MP3, PDF, PNG, RTF, TAR, TIF, WAV and ZIP. You can also scan just specific areas of the disc with the Cluster scanner if you know the lost files are near the beginning, middle or end of the drive etc.

The setup file is 3.3 MB in size. The FAQ says it’s not compatible with any Windows operating system above XP although it ran perfectly fine on Windows 7 when tested.

Download PC INSPECTOR File Recovery

3. Puran File Recovery

Puran File Recovery

There are 3 main recovery modes and range from the default Quick Scan which simply reads the FAT or NTFS file system for deleted files from the recycle bin etc, to Deep Scan that also includes scanning all available free space, or Full Scan will check all space on the device for the best chance of recovery. Using the “Find lost files” option turns Puran File Recovery into a tool to recover all files from a lost or damaged partition. Something else you can do is edit the custom scan list which stores file signatures for more accurate recovery of badly damaged data.

This program is available either as a standalone tool or as part of the also free Puran Utilities suite. The standalone installer is 2.2MB in size and works on Windows XP up to Windows 8.

Download Puran File Recovery

4. LazeSoft Data Recovery Home/Free

LazeSoft Data Recovery Home/Free

The LazeSoft program has 2 modes; deleted or lost file recovery for general undelete purposes, and a partition recovery mode which can find and recover files and folders in formatted, lost or damaged partitions. It can recover data from FAT, NTFS (including encrypted and compressed), memory cards, USB, phones/mp3 players and RAID arrays etc. MBR, GPT partitions and dynamic partitions can be scanned in the partition recovery mode. You can easily narrow down your file search by using the filter option or File Type tab.

LazeSoft has 2 free versions for download, the 6MB Free edition simply installs and works within Windows, the 21MB Home edition has an added option to create a bootable CD/USB/ISO recovery disc. Using this could greatly reduce the risk of overwriting files you’re trying to recover.

Download LazeSoft Data Recovery Home/Free

5. Wise Data Recovery

Wise data recovery

This utility is one of the fastest undelete tools around, looks good and has an intuitive interface. Wise data recovery can find deleted files from local drives, USB drives, cameras, memory cards, removable media devices etc. As well as being easy to use, it also includes a fast search filter by selecting in-built file extension groups using the file’s type. Although the scanning is fast, the program has no deep scan mode which it could mean a slightly reduced chance of recovering the most hard to recover files.

An installer executable or portable version is available, the portable version is on the Download page and not the product page. Wise Data Recovery is compatible with Windows XP up to Windows 8.

Download Wise Data Recovery

94 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Aakash Karki 6 months ago
  2. santiano 11 months ago
  3. santiano 11 months ago
  4. santiano 12 months ago
  5. Pedro 1 year ago
  6. karan bisht 2 years ago
  7. Ejeeztech 2 years ago
  8. abvon 2 years ago
  9. Braden Dodge 2 years ago
    • HAL9000 2 years ago
  10. Happy Man 2 years ago
  11. Jack 2 years ago
  12. warner 2 years ago
  13. VAsist 3 years ago
  14. saahmann naidu 4 years ago
  15. FAHAD ALI KAZMI 4 years ago
  16. Andreas 4 years ago
  17. Johnson Varghese 5 years ago
  18. nebula2013 5 years ago
  19. Vivianne 5 years ago
  20. khaleed 5 years ago
  21. PTC423 5 years ago
    • HAL9000 5 years ago
  22. tamil.g 5 years ago
  23. mustafa 6 years ago
  24. jo 6 years ago
  25. Heinz Iten 6 years ago
  26. Fikri 6 years ago
  27. Jessica 6 years ago
  28. Gopikjn 6 years ago
  29. Kell 6 years ago
  30. rakesh 7 years ago
  31. Dai 7 years ago
  32. Tholego Nthaga BOTSWANA 8 years ago
  33. Ruthdigs 8 years ago
  34. shasha 8 years ago
  35. bijay maharjan 8 years ago
  36. krokonosh 8 years ago
  37. morris 8 years ago
  38. sudheer 8 years ago
  39. Naveed 8 years ago
  40. Nebi 8 years ago
  41. Owen 8 years ago
  42. LYNE 8 years ago
  43. Big High Dee 8 years ago
  44. Louise Aphia 8 years ago
  45. cs uraon 8 years ago
  46. shan 8 years ago
  47. daniel 8 years ago
  48. bd 8 years ago
  49. Mike 8 years ago
  50. yashar 9 years ago
  51. Nandu 9 years ago
  52. Ahmed 9 years ago
  53. Kris 9 years ago
  54. cw 9 years ago
  55. omar 9 years ago
  56. Jen 9 years ago
  57. Gen 9 years ago
  58. docleng 9 years ago
  59. katoo mutinda 9 years ago
  60. Charovni 9 years ago
  61. amol malthankar 9 years ago
  62. Johnson Yip 9 years ago
  63. Sam 9 years ago
  64. Dharmesh 9 years ago
  65. dev 10 years ago
  66. Stian 10 years ago
  67. Mostafizur Rahman 10 years ago
  68. SENTHIL KUMARAN 10 years ago
  69. shadow 10 years ago
  70. Ayyal 10 years ago
  71. Nilushan 10 years ago
  72. vidi 10 years ago
  73. miguel 10 years ago
  74. Anya 10 years ago
  75. Graham 10 years ago
  76. POO 10 years ago
  77. v@n0 10 years ago
  78. Frank Higgins 10 years ago
  79. Man 10 years ago
  80. bala 10 years ago
  81. rajesh 10 years ago
  82. Kumaresan 10 years ago
  83. mahesh 10 years ago
  84. pec 11 years ago
  85. Philippine Goji Juice 11 years ago
  86. Paul 11 years ago
  87. Inf 11 years ago
  88. kimmy 11 years ago
  89. jjstccean 11 years ago
  90. shimai 11 years ago
  91. John 11 years ago
  92. CGpersia 11 years ago

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Note: Your comment is subject to approval. Read our Terms of Use. If you are seeking additional information on this article, please ask in our forum or contact us directly.