Recuva v1.53.1087

A Full Review of Recuva, a Free File Recovery Program

Screenshot of the Recuva v1.53.1087 file recovery program in Windows 8
Recuva v1.53.1087.

Recuva is, without a doubt, the very best free file recovery software available today. It's very easy to use and is as or more effective as any other freeware or premium file recovery program out there.

At some point or another all of us have deleted something we shouldn't have deleted. Usually the solution is to simply restore the file from the Recycle Bin, but what if you've already emptied the Recycle Bin? In that case, a file recovery program like Recuva can help.

If you try only one file recovery program, make Recuva that one program. I highly recommend it.

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Note: This review is of Recuva v1.53.1087, released on June 8, 2016. Please let me know if there's a newer version I need to review.

Keep reading to learn more about Recuva or see How to Recover Deleted Files for a complete tutorial on restoring files you've accidentally deleted.

Recuva Pros & Cons

There's a lot to love about Recuva!


  • Extremely easy to use
  • Very small download
  • Comes in both installable and portable versions
  • Contains a simple wizard and advanced options — perfect for everyone
  • Wide range of Windows operating systems are supported


  • Download page on Piriform's site is a little confusing
  • Installer might try to add other programs to your computer

Recuva Features

  • Support for Windows 10, Windows 8 (including Windows 8.1), Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and even Server versions of Windows
  • Recuva's easy-to-use wizard asks the important questions and does the hard work behind the scenes
  • Frequent updates to the program by Piriform and a long history of success keeps Recuva at the top of many lists
  • Recuva is available in a portable version making installation unnecessary — a very important advantage
  • A quick standard scan and an optional Deep Scan cover all the technological bases in the search for recoverable files
  • Supports scanning inside files so that you can, for example, find documents that contain a particular text string
  • Recuva can recover files from hard drives, USB drives, memory cards, BD/DVD/CD discs, and even MP3 players, including the iPod, presumably even if they're damaged, corrupted, or recently reformatted
  • You can securely overwrite the files Recuva finds to ensure that nobody else can restore the files you see in the results. The overwrite methods include DoD 5220.22-M, NSA, Gutmann, and Secure Erase
  • If you enable the option in the settings, the folder structure can be restored along with the file
  • Native 64-bit version of Recuva available for optimal operating in 64-bit versions of Windows
  • Supports drives as large as 3 TB

My Thoughts on Recuva

Recuva is the very best free file recovery software program available. I base that opinion mainly on my personal and professional use of the program but also from many comments from associates and readers.

Note: Piriform, the company that developed Recuva, also developed a few other wonderful freeware utilities — CCleaner, Defraggler, and Speccy — all of which I highly recommend you check out.

To get started with Recuva, visit the program's website linked at the bottom of this review. Once there, click the Download button corresponding to the download type you prefer. You can choose between Installer or Portable.

Important: I highly recommend you use the portable version of Recuva. You should use the portable version of Recuva because it's important to avoid installing anything after discovering that you need to recover a file. You don't actually have to put the portable version on a flash drive to use it.

A file recovery program can only recover a file deleted from your computer if the same space on the hard drive hasn't already been used by another file. Every time something is saved or installed, the chance that your file will be recoverable decreases.

Note: If you download the portable version of Recuva, you'll need to extract the program out of the ZIP archive. Once you've done so, you can run either recuva.exe or recuva64.exe, depending on whether you're running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows (you can find out here).

When Recuva starts, you're presented with a wizard where you choose what kind of file you're looking for (e.g. picture, video, compressed file, music, email, etc.) and where it was last located (a specific folder, drive, disc, or other device), neither of which you need to know but will help in the search for deleted files if you do.

If you want, you can choose All Files from the wizard to have Recuva search for all file types so that it doesn't limit the results to just specific ones like pictures, videos, emails, etc. You can see which file types are included in each category from their website. However, take note that if you use the Deep Scan mode, only these file types are found.

After a quick scan, you're presented with a list of recoverable files. Recovering one of the deleted files is as easy as selecting it and clicking Recover....

At any time you can switch to Advanced Mode which reveals a number of options and additional sorting abilities, like to preview a file or read its header information.

If you need help searching Recuva for a specific file, using the wizard, or anything else, you can check out the official help docs on Piriform's website.

If a file has gone missing, either from your mistake or even from a virus infection or system crash, I recommend you use the Recuva free file recovery program. There's no guarantee that Recuva can successfully recovery any particular deleted file but it's certainly your best bet!

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