If you accidentally delete important files or photos, all hope is seemingly lost. Fortunately, if you lost files due to a failing hard drive or accidentally deleted them, data recovery applications may help get them back.
Before downloading and running any recovery software, you should stop using the faulty drive, if possible. The only time you should use it — especially if it’s potentially going to fail soon — is to back it up to a secondary drive.
Also, consider calling a professional data recovery company, as no software will work if your drive fails. The same goes for if you lose data from a modern SSD, which are notoriously difficult to recover data from.
The best recovery software at a glance
Compatible with internal and external storage, physical media, and even cameras, is considered by many to be the best data recovery tool available today. It can recover lost partitions and data from encrypted drives, clone entire disks, and even create a system startup disc if your system fails to boot.
Available for MacOS and Windows 10, Stellar Data Recovery offers a free version that recovers up to 1GB of data, like deleted photos, videos, and critical files. It supports NTFS, exFAT, and FAT (16/32) partition formats. However, for additional features and unlimited data recovery, you’ll need a premium version. Pricing starts at $80 for the Professional version up to $100 for Premium. If you’re looking to recover RAID data, the Technician version sets you back $200.
Stellar Data Recovery might not be the cheapest option available, but it’s your best shot at recovering anything from just about any storage device.
EaseUS might have a lot of different applications on offer, but they are all related to storage. Whether it’s preemptively backing up files or recovering them later, its main focus is keeping your data safe. The company’s Data Recovery Wizard is one of the best tools for helping you find any lost file.
With the ability to recover files following hard drive damage, lost partitions, virus attacks, and more, it can recover more than 1,000 different file types, so whatever you’ve lost, it stands a good chance of getting it back.
If you’re only looking to recover a small amount of data or want to try it out before committing to a paid option, give the free version a try. The Pro version will set you back $150, but it gives you unlimited data recovering and free technical support for life, as well as upgrades to new versions of the software as it’s released.
Data Rescue 6 continues to improve on the already excellent Data Rescue service, a perfect option for at-home Windows 10 and MacOS users with much data to recover.
The software provides a very intuitive interface with several basic options: Scan a drive to recover files, review a preview scan to make sure you got everything, and manage your drives to help save the data. The software also includes a handy file preview option so you can make sure the file is the right one — or is in a readable state — before you download. You have the option to get email notifications about when a scan is complete, too.
Data Rescue 6 is ideal for those who may not be sure where to begin. More experienced users will appreciate advanced search options and Time Machine compatibility. You can get a free demo to test the software on a minor recovery, but the standard license starts at $19 per year while the full license costs a whopping $428 per year.
KLDiscovery is a company that offers a professional data recovery service, so that should act as a real testament to the effectiveness of its Ontrack data recovery software.
Considered to be a more professional tool than others on this list, it’s comprehensive and incredibly fast at recovering files from all sorts of file volumes. It’s compatible with both Windows and MacOS, and you can even start and stop your file recovery as and when it’s convenient for you.
The basic free version gives you a 1GB recovery trial, while the $79 Home version offers unlimited recovery and most of the core features. For advanced features, like raw recovery and disk cloning, you’ll need the Professional edition or higher, which starts at $109. RAID recovery requires the Technician version, which costs a hefty $499.
Whichever version you choose, you can also order a CD backup of your recovery software for $10, should you run into boot issues with your affected system.
Clever Files Disk Drill is another popular file recovery tool that comes in both free and paid versions. It supports internal and external drives, memory cards, cameras with internal storage, and so on. It can recover just about every file type you can imagine on Windows 10 and MacOS PCs.
One intriguing feature is the ability to protect files from being lost in the first place. Its “Recovery Vault” stores information about files that you delete, effectively acting as a secondary recycle bin. If you are permanently deleting those files, Disk Drill can help get them back without storing the file in its entirety.
The free version limits you to 500MB of file recovery of byte-level backup, but you can preview any number of files to get an idea of what may be recoverable before paying for the Pro version. It starts at $89 (with a lifetime upgrade for an additional $20) and gives one user the ability to recover from up to three devices and an Enterprise version for $499. However, you can get 50% off that price if you already own a competitor’s comparable-tier product or are updating from an older version, and there’s a 20% discount for educators, government organizations, and non-profits.
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