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
Stellar Data Recovery
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 prominent file recovery tool that offers a complimentary and paid version. This tool can effectively support internal and external hard drives, cameras, memory cards, and much more. You can quickly recover any file with Clever Files Disk Drill whether you’re using a Windows 10 or macOS PC.
One exceptional feature is the “Recovery Vault,” a unique file storage system that can prevent files from disappearing. Recovery Vault remembers information related to your deleted files and serves as a backup recycling bin when things go wrong. Even if you want to delete files forever, Disk Drill can recover them without even storing the entire file.
The free version offers users 500MB of recovery storage. However, it does allow you to view any number of files to see what you can recover before paying for an upgrade. The Pro plan starts at $89, but an extra $20 can give you a lifetime upgrade. This particular plan lets you recover files from up to three devices. You can also opt for the Enterprise version and enjoy all the wonderful features and more for $499. Though, with the Enterprise plan, you have an opportunity to receive a 50% discount if you already own a competitor’s product equal or close to Disk Drill or are updating from an earlier version. Educators, government organizations, and nonprofits can also receive a 20% discount.