Disk Drill v5.1

A full review of Disk Drill, a free data recovery tool

Disk Drill is an awesome free file recovery program, both because of its long list of features and its exceptionally simple-to-use interface. Keep reading to learn more about Disk Drill and what we liked about it.

disk drill 5 deleted audio files
What We Like
  • Easy to use.

  • Works with Windows and macOS.

  • Recovers files from many different file systems.

  • Lets you preview files before recovering them.

  • Shows a file's condition/quality before recovering it.

What We Don't Like
  • Limits recovery to 500 MB of data.

  • Buggy interface if you try to recover a file before the scan is complete.

We have to reiterate just how easy it is to use Disk Drill. The interface is very clean and open, so finding the volume you want to recover files from couldn't be easier. Plus, all the options are just a click away, so you're not fumbling through menu buttons to find what you need.

Disk Drill Features

Some of the features included in Disk Drill are advanced but they're all easy to use thanks to the time they put into making every bit of this tool simple for everyone. In other words, this means Disk Drill can be used by virtually anyone, no matter the skill level.

  • Files can be recovered from internal and external hard drives, memory cards, flash drives, iPods, and more
  • Disk Drill can scan FAT, exFAT, NTFS, HFS+, and EXT2/3/4 formatted drives
  • Files are organized by Pictures, Video, Documents, Audio, and Archives, or you can view them all together
  • A search tool lets you easily filter the results by name, size, and when it was deleted
  • You can preview found items before the scan finishes
  • Different recovery options let you run a deep scan or a quick scan on a partition
  • Scans can be paused and resumed at a later time
  • The results of a scan for deleted files can be saved and restored later so you don't have to sift through all the data at present time
  • Recovery Vault is a feature that keeps track of deleted data from the folders you specify and organizes it into its own section in the program, which makes recovering them easier than having to search through the entire hard drive
  • Volumes can be backed up to a DMG file or an ISO file so all the data is saved, which is useful if the drive is about to fail but you want to uncover deleted files from it
  • It includes S.M.A.R.T. monitoring so you can check the health of your hard drives
  • You can install the latest version of Disk Drill on Windows 11 and Windows 10 (only 64-bit editions), as well as macOS 10.15 and newer. You'll need to download an older version of the software if you use a different OS version.

This review is of Disk Drill version 5.1.808 for Windows, which was released on February 28, 2023.

Disk Drill Backup and Recovery

The ability of Disk Drill to back up a hard drive to a DMG file is a welcome feature. This means if you suspect a hard drive is failing, you can back the whole thing up and then later open the DMG file in Disk Drill to check for deleted files. It also supports loading ISO, DD, IMG, VMDK, DAT, DSK, and RAW image files.

The Recovery Vault feature is pretty handy as well. You're able to choose the folders you want to be monitored as well as exclude any file types you don't want to monitor because you probably won't want to restore them, such as temporary files.

It's also great that you can pause a scan in Disk Drill. If you're running a deep scan, it can take quite some time to complete. Pausing it whenever you want and then resuming it at any later date is helpful. Plus, once it's finished, you can back up the results so you can always have access to the ability to restore them without needing to re-scan the entire hard drive. The overall scanning process in Disk Drill is pretty fantastic.

Disk Drill Recovery Vault

Disk Drill Limitations

Being able to recover no more than 500 MB of data is a big hindrance if you're needing to restore more data than that, like videos or tons of smaller files. However, 500 MB is rather large if all you're needing to do is recover some photos or documents. In those cases, Disk Drill is suitable.

While testing out this program, we restored several files without any issues at all. At other times we tried, the files were too corrupted to be opened.

Something else worth mentioning is that Disk Drill doesn't come as a portable download, which means you must install it to the hard drive before using it. Doing this can actually overwrite the data you're trying to restore. If you're concerned about this, be sure to try out Recuva, which can be used in portable form.

Pandora Recovery used to be its own file recovery tool but it now exists as Disk Drill.

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