18 Free Data Recovery Software Tools

Reviews of the best free file recovery and undelete software for Windows

Illustration showing data recovery elements including PC, files, servers, and the cloud.
Getty Images

Many free data recovery programs exist that can help recover your accidentally deleted files. These file recovery programs can help you recover, or "undelete" files on your computer.

Files you have deleted are often still present on your hard drive (or USB drive, media card, smartphone, etc.) and can be recovered using free data recovery software.

Data recovery software is just one way to go. See How to Recover Deleted Files for a complete tutorial, including how to avoid common pitfalls during the file recovery process.

Undelete files you thought were gone forever with any one of these freeware data recovery tools:

01
of 18

Recuva

Screenshot of Recuva v1.53.1087 in Windows 8
Recuva v1.53.1087.

What We Like

  • Portable option is available

  • Lots of advanced options

  • A wizard walkthrough makes it easy to use

  • Works on most Windows operating systems

What We Don't Like

  • Confusing download page

Recuva is the very best free data recovery software tool available, hands down. It's very easy to use but has many optional advanced features as well.

Recuva can recover files from hard drives, external drives (USB drives, etc.), BD/DVD/CD discs, and memory cards. Recuva can even undelete files from your iPod!

Undeleting a file with Recuva is as easy as deleting one! I highly recommend that you try Recuva first if you need to recover a file.

Recuva will undelete files in Windows 10, Windows 8 & 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008/2003, and older Windows versions like 2000, NT, ME and 98. 64-bit Windows versions are also supported. There is also a 64-bit version Recuva available.

Piriform provides both an installable and a portable version of Recuva. I tested file recovery with Recuva v1.53.1087 using their portable version on Windows 8.1.

02
of 18

Puran File Recovery

Screenshot of Puran File Recovery in Windows 8
Puran File Recovery v1.2. © Puran Software

What We Like

  • Two ways to view the list of deleted files

  • Supports running as a portable version

  • Scans NTFS and FAT12/16/32 file systems

  • It's easy to see whether the file can be recovered well

What We Don't Like

  • Free for home use only, not commercial/business

  • Hasn't been updated since 2016

Puran File Recovery is one of the better free data recovery programs I've seen. It's very easy to use, will scan any drive that Windows sees, and has a lot of advanced options if you need them.

One particular thing to note is that Puran File Recovery identified more files on my test machine than most other tools, so be sure to give this one a shot in addition to Recuva if it didn't find what you were looking for.

Puran File Recovery will even recover lost partitions if they haven't been overwritten yet.

Puran File Recovery works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. It's also available in a portable form for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, so it doesn't require installation.

03
of 18

Disk Drill

Screenshot of Disk Drill v2.0 in Windows 8
Disk Drill v2.0.

What We Like

  • Organizes deleted files by category for easier viewing

  • Lets you filter the results by size and/or date

  • Supports a quick scan and a deep scan mode

  • Works with several different file systems

What We Don't Like

  • Lets you recover only 500 MB of data

  • Has to be installed to the HDD (no portable version)

  • You can't see how recoverable a file is before restoration

Disk Drill is an excellent free data recovery program not only because of its features but also due to the very simple design, making it almost impossible to get confused.

The Disk Drill website says it can recover data (up to 500 MB) from "virtually any storage device," such as internal and external hard drives, USB devices, memory cards, and iPods. 

Disk Drill can also preview image files before recovering them, pause scans and resume them later, perform partition recovery, back up an entire drive, filter files by date or size, run a quick scan versus a full scan for faster results, and save scan results so you can easily import them again to recovery deleted files at a later time.

Disk Drill works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as macOS.

Pandora Recovery was another file recovery program but it now exists as Disk Drill. If you're looking for that program, you can find the last released version on Softpedia.

04
of 18

Glary Undelete

Screenshot of Glary Undelete v5 in Windows 7
Glary Undelete v5.0. © Glarysoft Ltd.

What We Like

  • Explains very clearly whether the file will recover fully

  • The download file is small

  • Viewing the list of deleted files is easy and user friendly

What We Don't Like

  • The program hasn't updated in a long time

  • Can't be used portably, so you have to install it

  • Setup attempts to install another program with Glary Undelete

Glary Undelete is an excellent free file recovery program. It's very easy to use and has one of the better user interfaces that I've seen.

The biggest advantages in Glary Undelete include the easy "Folders" view, a Explorer-style view of recoverable files, and a prominent "State" indication for each file, suggesting how likely a successful file recovery will be.

One disadvantage of Glary Undelete is that installation is required before you can use it. Another is that you're asked to install a toolbar, but you can, of course, decline if you don't want it. Aside from those facts, Glary Undelete is top notch.

Glary Undelete can recover files from hard drives and any removable media you might have including memory cards, USB drives, etc.

Glary Undelete is said to work in Windows 7, Vista, and XP, but it also works fine in Windows 10, Windows 8, and versions older than Windows XP. I tested Glary Undelete v5.0 in Windows 7.

05
of 18

SoftPerfect File Recovery

Screenshot of SoftPerfect File Recovery in Windows 7
SoftPerfect File Recovery. © SoftPerfect Research

What We Like

  • It's really easy to use

  • Works from any portable location like a flash drive

  • You can search for deleted files by file extension and file name

  • Lets you restore more than one file simultaneously

What We Don't Like

  • Supports only two file systems (however, they are the most popular)

  • You can't preview an image file before restoring it

  • Unlike most file recovery tools, this one doesn't let you see how successful the file recovery will be

SoftPerfect File Recovery is another superb file undelete program. It's very easy to search for recoverable files. Anyone should be able to use this program with very little trouble.

SoftPerfect File Recovery will undelete files from hard drives, memory cards, etc. Any device on your PC that stores data (except for your CD/DVD drive) should be supported.

SoftPerfect File Recovery is a small, 500 KB, standalone file, making the program very portable. Feel free to run File Recovery from a USB drive or floppy disk. Scroll down a bit on the download page to find it.

Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008 & 2003, 2000, NT, ME, 98, and 95 are all supported. According to SoftPerfect, 64-bit versions of Windows operating systems are also supported.

I tested SoftPerfect File Recovery v1.2 in Windows 10 without any issues.

06
of 18

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Screenshot of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard v11 in Windows 8
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

What We Like

  • You can back up the scan results to restore files later without having to rescan the whole drive

  • Works on Windows and macOS

  • Lets you sort files by file type, date it was removed, and name

  • File recovery is easy because you can browse the folders like you would in Explorer

  • Supports previewing files prior to restoration

What We Don't Like

  • Only 500 MB of data can be recovered

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is another great file undelete program. Recovering files is very easy to do with just a few clicks.

My favorite aspect of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is that the user interface is structured much like Windows Explorer. While that may not be everyone's ideal way to display files, it's a very familiar interface that most people are comfortable with.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will undelete files from hard drives, optical drives, memory cards, iOS devices, and pretty much anything else that Windows sees as a storage device. It also does partition recovery!

Please know that Data Recovery Wizard will only recover a total of 500 MB of data before you'll need to upgrade (or up to 2 GB if you use the share button in the program to post about the software on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+).

I almost didn't include this program because of that limitation but since most situations call for undeleting much less than that, I'll let it slide.

Data Recovery Wizard supports Mac and Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Windows Server 2012, 2008, and 2003.

07
of 18

Wise Data Recovery

Screenshot of Wise Data Recovery in Windows
Wise Data Recovery.

What We Like

  • Scans for deleted files quickly

  • Colored circles make it easy to quickly see whether a file will have a good or poor chance at recovering fully

  • There's a portable option

  • Works with Windows 10 through XP

What We Don't Like

  • When undeleting files, the original folder structure is not retained

  • Doesn't work on Mac or Linux

Wise Data Recovery is a free undelete program that's really simple to use.

The program installed very quickly and scanned my PC in record time. Wise Data Recovery can scan various USB devices like memory cards and other removal devices.

An instant search function makes it really quick and easy to search for deleted files that Wise Data Recovery has found. A Recoverability column shows the likelihood of a file being recovered with Good, Poor, Very Poor, or Lost. Just right-click to restore a file.

Wise Data Recovery works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. There's also a portable version available.

08
of 18

Restoration

Screenshot of Restoration File Recovery
Restoration.

What We Like

  • Really easy to use

  • Portable program

  • Several ways to sort the results

  • Can search for empty deleted files

  • Lets you overwrite the deleted data

What We Don't Like

  • Supports up to Windows XP (officially; but still works on some newer OSs)

  • Doesn't work in Windows 8

  • Can't restore a whole folder at once, just single files

  • Doesn't say how recoverable the file is before you restore it

The Restoration data recovery program is similar to the other free undelete apps on this list.

The thing I like most about Restoration is how incredibly simple it is to recover files. There are no cryptic buttons or complicated file recovery procedures — everything you need is on one, easy to understand program window.

Restoration can recover files from hard drives, memory cards, USB drives, and other external drives.

Like some of the other popular data recovery tools on this list, Restoration is small and does not need to be installed, giving it the flexibility to be run from a floppy disk or USB drive.

Restoration is said to support Windows Vista, XP, 2000, NT, ME, 98, and 95. I successfully tested it with Windows 10 and Windows 7, and didn't run into any problems. However, v3.2.13 didn't work for me in Windows 8.

09
of 18

FreeUndelete

Screenshot of FreeUndelete
FreeUndelete. © Recoveronix Ltd

What We Like

  • Can undelete files from a variety of storage devices

  • Simple user interface that isn't hard to understand

  • There's a portable option

  • Helpful filtering and sorting options

  • Restores entire folders at once, as well as single or multiple files

  • Lets you know how successful the recovery will be before starting

What We Don't Like

  • Works for home users only, not business/commercial settings

FreeUndelete is self-explanatory — it's free and it undeletes files! It's very similar to other undelete utilities around this rank on our list.

The major advantage of FreeUndelete is it's easy to use interface and "folder drill down" functionality (i.e. files available for recovery are not shown in a big, unmanageable listing).

FreeUndelete will recover files from hard drives, memory cards, and other similar storage devices in, or connected to, your PC.

FreeUndelete works on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

10
of 18

ADRC Data Recovery Tools

Screenshot of ADRC Data Recovery Tools
ADRC Data Recovery Tools. © Adroit Data Recovery Centre Pte Ltd

What We Like

  • Extremely small file size

  • Works from any portable location (doesn't need to be installed)

  • Really simple user interface that's easy to grasp

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't work in Windows 10 or Windows 8

  • Hasn't been updated since 2008

ADRC Data Recovery Tools is another great, free file recovery program. File recovery with this program is uncomplicated and could probably be accomplished by the average computer user without any kind of documentation.

ADRC Data Recovery Tools should be able to undelete files from any non-CD/DVD storage device like memory cards and USB drives, as well as hard drives, of course.

ADRC Data Recovery Tools is a standalone, 132 KB program making it a very portable data recovery tool that will easily fit on any removable media you might have.

Data Recovery Tools officially supports Windows XP, 2000, and 95 but I successfully tested data recovery with this program on Windows Vista and Windows 7.

I also tested ADRC Data Recovery Tools v1.1 in Windows 8 and 10 but was unable to get it to work.

11
of 18

CD Recovery Toolbox

Screenshot of CD Recovery Toolbox Free in Windows 8
CD Recovery Toolbox Free. © Recovery Toolbox

What We Like

  • Designed specifically to undelete files from discs

  • Program is simple to use

  • Supports several Windows operating systems

What We Don't Like

  • Won't recover files from hard drives (because it isn't built for that purpose)

CD Recovery Toolbox is a completely free and very unique file recovery program. CD Recovery Toolbox is designed to recover files from damaged or corrupted optical drive discs — CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, HD DVD, etc.

According to the publisher, CD Recovery Toolbox should help recover files from discs that have been scratched, chipped, or have surface spotting.

One obvious con is the inability of CD Recovery Toolbox to recover files from hard drives or portable media drives. However, the program isn't designed to do that so I haven't held that fact against it.

CD Recovery Toolbox works in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2003, 2000, NT, ME and 98. I tested CD Recovery Toolbox successfully in Windows 7.

12
of 18

UndeleteMyFiles Pro

Screenshot of UndeleteMyFilesPro
UndeleteMyFilesPro. © seriousbit.com

What We Like

  • Walks you through a short wizard to undelete files

  • Includes a unique feature that lets you restore deleted files from a system backup

  • Lets you browse the deleted files in two view modes

  • The search tool supports searching for deleted files by attribute, size, etc.

  • Also lets you delete files permanently

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't work as advertised in Windows 10

  • The recoverability state of the file isn't shown, so you don't know whether it will be usable upon recovery

UndeleteMyFiles Pro is another free file recovery program. Don't let the name fool you — it's entirely free even though it says "Pro."

Tree View and Detailed View are the two viewing perspectives you can choose from. You can also preview files, which sounds nice, but all it does is restores the data to a temporary folder and then opens it.

Emergency Disk Image is one of the included tools in UndeleteMyFiles Pro. This tool takes a snapshot of your entire computer, places all the data in one file, and then lets you work through that file to find deleted data that you want to restore. This is very handy because after the image file has been made, you don't need to worry that new data written to your hard drive will replace any important deleted files.

There's a nice search option in UndeleteMyFiles Pro that lets you search by file location, type, size, and attributes.

Something I really didn't like about UndeleteMyFiles Pro is that the recovery process doesn't tell you if a file is in a good state of being recoverable like most of the other software in this list.

I tested UndeleteMyFiles Pro in Windows 8 and XP, and it worked as advertised, so it should also work in other versions of Windows. However, I also tested v3.1 in Windows 10 and found that it didn't work as it should.

13
of 18

MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Screenshot of the free edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery in Windows 10
MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free Edition v8.0.

What We Like

  • Has a clean, modern interface

  • Undeletes files from several types of storage devices

  • Scans for deleted files quickly

  • You can recover multiple folders simultaneously

  • The scan for deleted files can be paused midway

What We Don't Like

  • No portable option

  • Recovers no more than 1 GB for free

Unlike some of the other file recovery programs from this list, Power Data Recovery needs to be installed to your computer before you're able to use it. This isn't the best way to work with this type of software because the install may overwrite your deleted files and make them less likely to be recoverable.

Another downside to Power Data Recovery is that you can only recover 1 GB of data before you have to upgrade to a paid version.

However, I do like the fact that the program finds deleted files quickly and that you can recover files from both internal drives and USB devices. Also, Power Data Recovery lets you search among the deleted data, recover more than one folder or file at once, export the list of deleted files to a text file, pause or stop the scan when you find what you need, and filter the files by name, extension, size, and/or date.

Power Data Recovery works in Windows 10, 8, 7, and older versions all all the way through Windows 95, plus Windows Server 2008 and 2003. I tested this version of Power Data Recovery in Windows 10.

14
of 18

TOKIWA DataRecovery

Screenshot of the TOKIWA DataRecovery File Recovery program
DataRecovery.

What We Like

  • The program is really simple to use

  • Recovers data from several storage mediums

  • Portable, with a tiny file size

What We Don't Like

  • The program interface isn't the most attractive

  • Doesn't officially support Windows 10 or Windows 8 (though it works in both)

TOKIWA DataRecovery is an effective data recovery program and is very similar to many others on my list.

The best thing TOKIWA DataRecovery has going for it is its ease of use. It has a single program window where you can scan for files to recover, sort the files, and undelete them. There are no complicated procedures at all.

TOKIWA DataRecovery can recover files from hard drives, memory cards, USB drives, and other external drives.

TOKIWA DataRecovery is a standalone, 412 KB file, making it a completely portable tool suitable for a USB drive or floppy disk.

DataRecovery officially supports Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003, 2000, NT, ME, 98, and 95. However, I tested TOKIWA DataRecovery with Windows 10 and Windows 8, too, and it works just as advertised.

15
of 18

PC Inspector File Recovery

PC Inspector File Recovery
PC Inspector File Recovery.

What We Like

  • Works for most storage drives and file systems

  • Several sorting options to fine-tune the results

  • Includes a "special recovery function" to undelete files other programs can't

What We Don't Like

  • Takes a while to complete a scan

  • The program isn't as easy to use as similar software

  • Has troubles running in Windows 10

PC Inspector File Recovery is another good free file recovery program with an arguably "deeper" search for deleted files than other similar undelete programs.

PC Inspector File Recovery can recover files from most hard drives, external drives, and memory cards.

I'd recommend trying PC Inspector File Recovery only if another, higher rated data recovery program didn't do the job for you. The not-so-easy-to-use interface and long hard drive scan times keep this file recovery app out of the Top 10.

PC Inspector File Recovery officially supports Windows XP, 2000, NT, ME, and 98. However, I tested PC Inspector File Recovery in Windows 8 and it ran as advertised. I also tested v4 in Windows 10 but it didn't work correctly.

16
of 18

Orion File Recovery Software

Screenshot of Orion File Recovery
Orion File Recovery. © NCH Software

What We Like

  • Shows a file's "recovery potential" to know whether the undelete will be successful

  • Lets you run a scan for specific file types or all types

  • Scans many types of storage devices

  • Also deletes data permanently

What We Don't Like

  • Setup might try to install unrelated programs

Orion File Recovery Software is a free file recovery program from NCH Software that's basically the same as most of the other programs in this list.

A nice wizard prompts you to scan for specific file types at the launch of the program, like documents, images, videos, music, or a custom file type. You can also scan the entire drive to search for all file types.

Orion File Recovery Software can scan any attached hard drive, whether internal or external, flash drives, and memory cards for deleted data. Then you can search through the files with an instant search function, while easily identifying the recovery potential of each file.

A nice addition to Orion File Recovery Software also functions as a data destruction program, so you can scrub all the files it finds to make them unrecoverable for future scans.

Orion File Recovery Software works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

The setup tool might try to install other NCH Software programs along with the file undelete tool, but just deselect those options if you wish not to install them.

17
of 18

BPlan Data Recovery

Screenshot of the BPlan Data Recovery software
BPlan Data Recovery. © bplandatarecovery

What We Like

  • Recovers files from regular hard drives and cameras

  • Walks you through a wizard to recover deleted files

What We Don't Like

  • Outdated, unappealing interface

  • Not as easy to use as other data recovery tools

  • Might not install correctly

  • Supports a limited number of file formats

BPlan Data Recovery is a file recovery program like the others in this list. It may not look as nice as similar software, but it can recover many different types of deleted files.

I found BPlan Data Recovery to be a bit difficult to navigate around. It was hard to know what I was doing because of the layout of the results. That said, it still managed to find and recover images, documents, videos, and other file types.

I tested BPlan Data Recovery in Windows XP but it also works in Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista. 

While testing this program, the desktop shortcut the installer created was incorrect, and therefore didn't open BPlan Data Recovery. You might need to open bplan.exe in this folder to make it work: "C:\Program Files (x86)\BPlan data recovery\."

18
of 18

PhotoRec

Screenshot of PhotoRec v7.0 in Windows 7
PhotoRec.

What We Like

  • Undeletes files from all types of storage devices

  • Works on Windows, Linux, and macOS

What We Don't Like

  • Too easy to recover files you don't want to undelete

  • No graphical user interface

The free PhotoRec file recovery tool does the job but it isn't nearly as easy to use as other programs in this list.

PhotoRec is limited by its command-line interface and multiple step recovery process. However, my greatest problem with PhotoRec is that it's very difficult to avoid recovering all deleted files at once, not just the one or two you're after.

PhotoRec can recover files from hard drives, optical drives, and memory cards. PhotoRec should be able to undelete files from any storage device on your PC.

If another data recovery program hasn't worked, give PhotoRec a try. I just don't recommend making it your first pick.

PhotoRec officially supports Windows 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008, 2003, 2000, NT, ME, 98, and 95, as well as macOS and Linux. I tested PhotoRec in Windows 7.

PhotoRec is downloaded as part of the TestDisk software, but you'll want to still open the file called "photorec_win" (on Windows) to run it.

"Why have you only included 18 free data recovery programs?"

True, there are many more file recovery programs than those listed above, but I've only included true freeware file recovery programs that also undelete wide ranges of files. I didn't include file recovery programs that are shareware/free trials, nor ones that won't undelete reasonably sized files.

If you still need help with a file recovery issue, see my Get More Help page. I'm also happy to hear your thoughts on additions or changes to this list.