It happens to the best of us. We are working on that very important file when suddenly disaster strikes. It accidently gets deleted, corrupted, the computer died or a number of unfortunate things that prevent you from gaining access to the file. What’s worse, you don’t have a backup and are in desperate need of those important files urgently.
Well, don’t fret as it is possible to recover those deleted files. When you delete a file, you don’t actually ‘delete’ it. The system marks the area the file resides as reusable, removing the file from its index. This means that there is a period where it is possible to restore the file. To help you with your deleted data dilemma, we have for you 10 free data recovery tools for Windows, which will help from simple file recovery to a total partition rescue.
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PhotoRec is a powerful command line recovery tool that can recover your lost data by bypassing the file system, perfect for when your computer can see the drive but cannot access it or for use on a formatted drive. The app will work on different drive formats other than the ones used by Windows, including those used on OS X, and is also available on multiple platforms.
Recuva provides a number of tools and features that makes recovering your data easier. The app will deep scan your drives and with it, you can recover deleted data on your drive or from drives that are damaged or formatted. It has the ability to recover data that was accidently deleted from certain apps such as your email program or the temp folder of Microsoft Word, useful when the power cuts off and you haven’t saved your progress. If the options seem too overwhelming, there is a wizard to guide you through the process.
There are times when your drive’s file system will get damaged and you are unable to access the data within. You could use the apps above to rescue it but it may take time if there is a lot of data. Rescuing the file system will be faster. TestDisk is an app that comes packaged with PhotoRec that will enable you to repair a broken file system, and make the data available and the drive usable without formatting it. The app is able to rebuild the formats used by Windows and is available for multiple Operating Systems.
4. Ultimate Boot CD
Ultimate Boot CD, as the name implies, is the ultimate boot CD to run, as it contains a multitude of free diagnostic tools to scan, edit or save your computer’s drive or data. Included in this suite of tools are a few that can help you with those tasks. They can also help you recover your data in case you cannot boot into your main OS, meaning that you won’t be locked out of your data. TestDisk and PhotoRec are among some of the tools included as part of the suite to help during the recovery process.
5. UndeleteMyFiles Pro
Billing itself as “a free professional tool to recover accidentally deleted files”, UndeleteMyFiles Pro contains more than the usual data recovery tools, containing additional items that will help in the recovery process. You get the standard features such as searching deleted files and restoring them but the best feature is Emergency Disk Image, where you can create a disk image snapshot of your drive in case data might be overwritten by accidental activity.
6. Pandora Recovery
Pandora Recovery allows you to sift through your drive for deleted data and has the ability to preview photo and text data files before restoring them. It has the ability to find and restore archived, compressed, hidden and encrypted files and gives you information on whether the file recovery process will be successful, based on how much was overwritten.
If you want a no frills, bare bones, data recovery software, Restoration is your app. It comes as an EXE file that you don’t have to install to run and is also incredibly small, at the size of 400KB. This is a must have program to have around in your USB drives as it hardly takes up any space at all and can easily run on any Windows machine.
8. Glary Undelete
Glary Undelete will deep scan your drives for deleted files and show you the properties of each of the deleted files and the state it is in, giving you an estimate on the likelihood of recovery. You can filter the the results of your scan to find the files you are looking for or sort them by the probability of recovery.
9. Orion File Recovery
Orion File Recovery doesn’t have all the bell and whistles of the other recovery software but it is simple to use. At startup, it will open with a wizard that will ask you step-by-step what you are looking, from file type, location and file name. There is also a permanent overwrite feature, if you want to completely destroy data on your drive.
10. Wise Data Recovery
A clean, minimalist app, Wise Data Recovery may not be as feature heavy as the rest on this list but the interface is well suited for beginners. Everything that you need to start recovering your data is displayed from the get go, and its lack of advance features helps keep the focus on that singular task.