Software & Apps Apps 125 125 people found this article helpful 20 Best Free Data Recovery Software Tools Reviews of the best free file recovery and undelete software for Windows By Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated March 11, 2020 Apps Best Apps Tweet Share Email 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. Lifewire / Derek Abella 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 including document, video, images, video, music/audio files, and more. 01 of 20 Recuva 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 Infrequent updates Our Review of Recuva 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. Download Recuva for Free 02 of 20 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 2 GB of data can be recovered No portable version Our Review of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard 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, cameras, 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 macOS 10.15–10.9 and Windows XP–10, as well as Windows Server 2012, 2008, and 2003. Download For: Mac Windows 03 of 20 Puran File Recovery 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 Our Review of Puran File Recovery 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. Download Puran File Recover for Free 04 of 20 Disk Drill 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 Our Review of Disk Drill 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. According to their website, Disk Drill 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 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 XP and newer, and macOS 10.8.5 and newer. Download For: Mac Windows 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. 05 of 20 Glary Undelete 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 Our Review of 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. Download Glary Undelete for Free 06 of 20 SoftPerfect File Recovery 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 Our Review of SoftPerfect File Recovery 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. Download SoftPerfect File Recovery for Free 07 of 20 Wise Data Recovery What We Like Scans for deleted files quickly There's a portable option Works with Windows 10 through XP What We Don't Like When undeleting files, the original folder structure isn't retained Doesn't work on Mac or Linux Can't know a file's chance of usability before undeleting it Our Review of Wise Data Recovery 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, and there's both a quick and a full scan option depending on how deep of a scan you want to perform. Wise Data Recovery works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. There's also a portable version available. Download Wise Data Recovery for Free 08 of 20 Restoration 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) Can't restore a whole folder at once, just single files Doesn't say how recoverable the file is before you restore it Our Review of Restoration 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 7, and didn't run into any problems. However, v3.2.13 didn't work for me in Windows 10 or 8. Download Restoration for Free 09 of 20 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 Our Review of FreeUndelete 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. Download FreeUndelete for Free 10 of 20 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. Download ADRC Data Recovery Tools for Free 11 of 20 CD Recovery Toolbox 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. Download CD Recovery Toolbox for Free 12 of 20 UndeleteMyFiles Pro 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. Download UndeleteMyFiles Pro for Free 13 of 20 MiniTool Power Data Recovery 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. Download MiniTool Power Data Recovery for Free 14 of 20 TOKIWA DataRecovery 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. Download TOKIWA DatRecovery for Free 15 of 20 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. Download PC Inspector File Recovery for Free 16 of 20 iBoysoft Data Recovery Free What We Like Installs quickly Walks you through a short wizard to restore files Very minimal design Lets you recover the file to any folder of your choosing Supports a quick scan and a deep scan mode Results of a scan can be saved to an SR file What We Don't Like Limits data recovery to 1 GB Must be installed to the drive (no portable option) Doesn't show the health of the file before you restore it Another free data recovery program is available from iBoysoft. This one is severely limited in that it can recover only 1 GB of data, but if you need to undelete just a few files, or even a video or collection of music, you're probably fine being limited to 1 GB. iBoysoft Data Recovery Free starts off by having you select the hard drive to scan, and then shows all the deleted files in a regular folder structure like you see above. You can browse through them much like you can in Explorer, and easily select the files you want to restore. Besides being able to filter the results by file extension and search by file name, the only other thing you can do before recovering a file is preview it, but only if it's smaller than 5 MB. When you exit the results screen, you have the opportunity to save the results to an SR file that you can later reopen in iBoysoft Data Recovery Free to work out of the same list of deleted files. This is great so that you don't have to rescan the drive to continue sifting through the results. This program works on Windows 10 and older versions of Windows, and it's also available for Mac computers. Download For: Mac Windows 17 of 20 Orion File Recovery Software 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. Download Orion File Recovery Software for Free 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. 18 of 20 BPlan Data Recovery 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. Download BPlan Data Recovery for Free 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\." 19 of 20 Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition. What We Like Steps you through a wizard Lets you choose where to restore the data Installs quickly Preview documents and images before recovery What We Don't Like Limits recovery to just 1 GB total Can't undelete any file over 25 MB (unless you pay) Poorly designed search tool No portable option Must restore files to a separate hard drive This free data recovery tool from Stellar is easy to use because it walks you through a simple wizard where you select what and where to search for deleted files. A unique feature in this program is the preview option you have while the scan is taking place. You can watch, in real time, which files the program finds before the scan completes. Something else we like about Stellar's free file recovery program is that when you exit the results screen, you're given the option to save the list of deleted files so that you can resume recovering them later. Download Stellar Data Recovery for Free 20 of 20 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. Download PhotoRec for Free 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 20 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.