The 21 Best Free Data Recovery Software Tools of 2023

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

Many free data recovery programs exist that can help recover or "undelete" your accidentally deleted files. Files you've already deleted are often still present on your hard drive (or USB drive, media card, smartphone, etc.) and can be recovered using 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.

Get files back that you thought were gone forever with any one of these freeware data recovery tools. Recover documents, videos, images, music/audio files, and more.

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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
  • Infrequent updates

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.

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

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

Piriform provides both an installable and a portable version of the program that will undelete files in Windows 11, 10, 8 & 8.1, 7, Vista, and XP. We tested file recovery with v1.53.2065 using their portable version on Windows 10.

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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free
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

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

Our 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 512 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 social media).

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

Data Recovery Wizard supports macOS 12 through 10.9; Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7; and Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012, 2008, and 2003.

Download For:

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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 options we'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 our 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.

This tool will even recover lost partitions if they haven't been overwritten yet.

It's said to work 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.

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Glarysoft File Recovery Free

list of hard drives in Glarysoft File Recovery Free
What We Like
  • Viewing the list of deleted files is easy and user friendly

  • Recovery to any folder you want

What We Don't Like
  • Can't be used portably, so you have to install it

  • Setup attempts to install another program with this one

  • Doesn't show a file's recoverability odds

Glarysoft File Recovery Free is a user-friendly file undelete program. There aren't a ton of options and it doesn't compare to some of the choices ranked higher in this list, but it does work and is easy to use.

Choose a drive, scan for deleted files, and then pick out the ones you want to recover. You can undelete things even while the scan is still running, which is nice so you don't have to wait. Pausing the scan is also supported.

You can filter by file type, time deleted, size, and keywords. There's a setting you can adjust to pick which file extensions belong to which categories, such as ensuring that MP4s are listed as videos; you can add your own, too.

It works with FAT, NTFS, and EFS file systems. We tested v1 in Windows 10.

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Disk Drill

disk drill 5 audio files
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)

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.

The program works with 64-bit versions of Windows 11 and Windows 10, plus most versions of macOS. Earlier versions work with older operating systems like Windows 8 through XP.

Download For:

Pandora Recovery was another file recovery program but it now exists as Disk Drill.

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Wise Data Recovery

Wise Data Recovery Free version 5
What We Like
  • Scans for deleted files quickly

  • There's a portable option

What We Don't Like
  • When undeleting files, the original folder structure isn't retained

  • Can't know a file's chance of usability before undeleting it

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

The program installed very quickly and scanned our test PC in record time. It 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 the program has found, and there's both a quick and a full scan option depending on how deep of a scan you want to perform.

This app is said to run on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as macOS. There's also a portable version available.

Download For:

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Screenshot of Restoration File Recovery
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

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

The thing we 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 in 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. We successfully tested it with Windows 7, and didn't run into any problems. However, v3.2.13 didn't work for us in Windows 11, 10, or 8.

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iCare Data Recovery Free

iCare Data Recovery Free
What We Like
  • Portable version is available

  • Lets you preview files

  • Search through the results list

  • Supports lots of file types

What We Don't Like
  • Outdated feel

  • Can't pause a scan and resume it later

  • Runs on Windows only

iCare Data Recovery Free has two scan options, so you can pick between a quicker scan type that might not catch everything, and a deeper scan that takes longer to complete but will likely locate more deleted files.

One of this program's best features is the ability to preview text and image files. You can even browse deleted folders in thumbnail view to quickly see which files you want to undelete.

Several hundred file types are supported, so you can bet that iCare Data Recovery Free can probably recover anything you've deleted.

Windows users can download this program as a portable tool or a normal, installable program. It's said to work with Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7.

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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.

The supported operating systems include Windows 7, XP, and some Windows Server versions. We tested it with Windows 10 and didn't have any issues, so it should work equally well with Windows 11, 8, and other versions.

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iBoysoft Data Recovery Free

Screenshot of deleted files found by 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 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. It's also available for Mac computers (10.9+).

Download For:

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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 8 or newer

  • 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.

It 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.

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

We also tested v1.1 in Windows 8 and 10 but were unable to get it to work.

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UndeleteMyFiles Pro

Screenshot of UndeleteMyFilesPro
UndeleteMyFilesPro. ©
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
  • Might not work as advertised in Windows 11/10

  • 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 this program that lets you search by file location, type, size, and attributes.

Something we really didn't like 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.

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

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Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery command line tool
What We Like
  • Microsoft-approved method.

  • Works with internal and external drives, including SD cards.

  • Lots of options.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires Windows 11 or 10.

  • Works over the command line.

  • Must restore to a different drive.

Even Microsoft has a tool for data recovery, but it's not as easy to use as most of these other programs. This one runs over the command line, so you have to type out everything you want to do. It's still pretty easy to use, though.

To undelete files this way, download and install Windows File Recovery and then search for it in the Start menu to open in. Once you're on a screen like you see above, you could enter a command like this to recover PNG images from your C drive's Downloads folder and copy them to the Images folder on a drive called E:

winfr C: E:\Images /n \Users\jonfi\Downloads\*PNG

Since this is a bit more of a process than using a standard application where you can point and click on buttons and menus, check out Microsoft's help page for other examples and more information. It explains how to recover single files or multiple file types at once, how to use wildcards, and more.

Only Windows 10 and Windows 11 users can download this tool.

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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 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 we haven't held that fact against it.

CD Recovery Toolbox works in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2003, 2000, NT, ME and 98. We tested it successfully in Windows 7.

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iBeesoft Data Recovery Free

iBeesoft Data Recovery Free
What We Like
  • Great for novice users.

  • Preview files up to 100 MB.

  • Supports pause/resume.

  • Instant search.

  • Search by category (e.g., only archives or docs).

What We Don't Like
  • Free only up to 2 GB of data recovery.

  • Zero advanced search options.

  • Must install it to the hard drive (no portable version).

  • Doesn't restore to original folder; must pick one manually.

Similar to some of the others in this list, this app is completely free to use, but you're limited to recovering just 2 GB of data. If you need to undelete a large video file, or lots of data, you're better off picking something else from this list. That, or pay for the full edition.

iBeesoft's file recovery program is super easy to use. The program itself is free from ads and simple to understand. The start screen has you choose a hard drive or folder to recovery files from, or you can pick the Desktop or Recycle Bin.

The website says that it supports over one thousand file types, so there's a good chance it includes all the normal files you're needing to undelete. It can recover deleted files from a wide variety of devices beyond your typical hard drive, including cameras, memory cards, and music players.

A few things worth mentioning that we like: the search tool is instant, you can sort the column headings to find the largest deleted files and to group file types (like to list all MP4s next to each other), and the settings let you define what to search for if not everything (e.g., Archives, Pictures, Video, Audio).

We tested data recovery with this program in Windows 11, and it worked just as advertised. It's also said to run on Windows 10, 8, and 7.

Download For:

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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.

This program should work fine in Windows 11, 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.

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MiniTool Power Data Recovery

MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free Edition
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 file recovery programs from this list, this one 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, we do like the fact that the program finds deleted files quickly and that you can recover files from both internal drives and USB devices, as well as easily undelete data from the desktop, Recycle Bin, or a specific folder.

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.

It's reportedly available for Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. We tested it in Windows 11.

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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 types of deleted files.

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

This program officially works in Windows 8, 7, and XP. We tested the latest version in Windows XP.

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

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Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition

Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition screenshot
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.

It's available for Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7, as well as macOS 13 and older versions.

Download For:

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SoftPerfect File Recovery

SoftPerfect File Recovery deleted files list
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

  • It's discontinued, so it won't receive updates

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.

It 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 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008 & 2003, 2000, NT, ME, 98, and 95 should all be able to run this program. According to the developer's website, 64-bit versions of Windows operating systems are also supported.

We tested v1.2 in Windows 10 without any issues.

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PhotoRec v7.0 in Windows 7
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.

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

It 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 tool hasn't worked, give this one a try. We just don't recommend making it your first pick.

We tested it in Windows 7, but since the minimum OS requirement is Vista, it should work equally well in Windows 11, 10, and 8. It also runs on Mac and Linux.

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 21 free data recovery programs?"

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

  • What data recovery tools do police use?

    Law enforcement agents use forensics tools to search computers for digital evidence. Forensics tools can't always completely recover files, but they can find traces of data that can be helpful in investigations.

  • Can I recover files from a failed hard drive?

    Yes, but file recovery programs probably won't help if the hard drive is physically damaged. In that case, you need to get it professionally serviced.

  • Why does my iPhone show “Attempting data recovery”?

    A bug in iOS can cause the “Attempting data recovery” message on your iPhone. So, restart your iPhone and update iOS.

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