1. Disk Drill (used to be 7 Data Recovery)
Disk Drill is easy to use, reliable and doesn’t require you to be a mad scientist to understand it! It’s no surprise that Disk Drill pops up on most lists about the best hard drive data recovery software considering it allows up to 500MB of data recovery at no charge. The Free Edition also allows unlimited scanning and previewing for lost data which will help you to asses the situation and verify data recovery chances before investing any actual money. Is Disk Drill the same as 7 Data Recovery? Yes, it’s better, it’s an upgraded version of the app that used to be 7 Data Recovery. Now it has been premiumized to Disk Drill.
Multiple Scan Options
Notable file recovery features include a powerful Deep Scan feature which can dive deep into your media and recover lost files even when no partition is present or after tough data loss cases such as a formatted drive. The Deep Scan feature can reconstruct lost data from bits and pieces making it possible to recover files in conditions when file recovery would otherwise be considered impossible.
The Deep Scan feature is a nice compliment to the Quick Scan which very quickly detects recently deleted and lost files on your drive. These files are generally recovered rapidly exactly as they were before the deletion or data loss. Disk Drill is capable of scanning and detecting just about any type of file on your disk which means you can recover things like videos, music, work documents and even more advanced formats.
Disk Drill is well versed in much more than just file recovery. A comprehensive feature set offers several helpful tools to prevent future data loss and ensure successful future recovery such as the “Recovery Vault” and “Guaranteed Recovery” features which help monitor and protect your drive from data loss. These features are included at no extra cost with Disk Drill and can really save the day.
Disk Drill works with Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP. Disk Drill supports most major file systems and drive types even when scanning from Windows, for example: ExFAT and EXT4 systems besides the existing NTFS, FAT32, EXT, and HFS+ which have always been supported. Future support is planned for even more cool features such as Android recovery, stay tuned for the latest!
Free version allows 500MB of data recovery at no charge. Pro version ($89) provides unlimited recovery for personal users.
2. Prosoft Data Rescue 5 for Windows
Prosoft Engineering’s Data Rescue 5 is a data recovery application that offers the user a suite of advanced data recovery tools. Prosoft has built on 20 years of data recovery research to provide a high-quality tool that has been designed, developed, and tested in a professional data recovery lab. It has been responsible for billions of file recoveries for users around the world. It supports all Windows systems after Windows 7 and works with both the HFS and NTFS file systems.
The company offers a free File Finder app that will allow you to see what files the tool can recover for you. While in FIle Finder, you can make an in-app purchase to immediately recover the files you have identified.
Standard and professional versions of the app are available that both offer advanced recovery tools. One of the noteworthy features is the ability to configure the tool to send email notifications of current and past scans. This lets you send a scan to multiple users for review before starting your recovery. An advanced search capability simplifies finding the files that you need to recover.
Robust File Support
Another outstanding feature of this software is the ability to teach it about new file types by providing the app with a few examples. This extends its functionality and enables it to recover any type of file that you might have on your machine. You can view your file as raw data using the new hex previewer that is part of this software package.
Officially supporting Windows 7 and later.
Data Rescue 5 Standard license costs $99. A professional-grade user interface makes it easy to precisely control your scanning options. Data Rescue 5 can recover data from many device types including the recovery of files in a RAID array. You also can recover an unlimited amount of drives with Data Rescue 5 Professional.
3. DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software
DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery is more popularly known as DMDE. It is a powerful app to recover, edit and search for data on any type of media: photos, videos, documents, etc. Built with special algorithms, it can provide support even in the most complex cases of data loss.
This application is not intended for novice users and is best suited for a more hands-on user with technical experience. The interface does not feel up to date and some features are a bit hard to find however the overall recovery performance with DM Disk Editor is satisfactory in many cases. Specialized feature sets make tough recovery cases possible if the proper settings are used, this can be considered another plus.
In addition to standard recovery it is possible to browse and edit recoverable files with a hex editor-type, you can even edit sectors which in severe data loss cases can be necessary for advanced users.
Lost partition recovery
Automated search features are available which help with a slightly more user-friendly scan similar to some other software on our best data recovery software list. The software has the ability to search and recovery drives and partitions that have become invisible to Windows.
It also offers RAID reconstruction, disk imaging abilities, disk clone, and a lot more. While the heightened learning curve may be considered a problem for some users, DM Disk Editor does a great job at advanced, hard to handle cases of file recovery.
DMDE ideal for Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. File system support includes NTFS, FAT12/16, FAT32, exFAT, Ext2/3/4, HFS+/HFSX. The file is portable and runs after installing, installation from portable media is possible.
Professional version of the software ($95) offers the ability to recover groups of files or an entire directory tree. Standard ($48) and commercial licensing options are available. You need to try Free version before purchasing to make sure files are present and recoverable.
4. MiniTool Partition Recovery
Boasting its comprehensive partition recovery capabilities, MiniTool Partition Recovery can recover not only a few deleted files, but it can also salvage an entire partition. It is very easy to use for basic operation, and it is mainly focused on its partition level recovery approach, which is good for the less experienced users. There is very little learning curve with this tool which makes it a good candidate for novice users.
Its operational flow can be done in 3 easy steps. First, you have to select the target disk and set the scanning range based on the data issue. Then, you need click “scan”. Lastly, you preview the files you want to recover and place the retrieved files on another drive for storage and later use.
Flexible scanning selection
Partition Recovery supports the latest and the most common disk technologies such as: SCSI disks, SATA disks, IDE disks, mobile hard disks and just about any other type of fixed media. It has a flexible scanning selection which ranges from a full disk scan down to a specific set of parameters.
Exploring partition content in advance is also possible. This function provides users the ability to identify the partition they want to recover without the need for a full scan.
Cons: Ease of use does come with a few disadvantages, mainly in the lack of support for handling bad sectors when scanning. MiniTool has the ability to continuously scan partitions one after the other, but it lacks the capability of skipping the bad sector once scanning starts. Minitool can’t be minimized, either, while the operation is taking place. Working around the window can be annoying, especially if there are important tasks to do and the scanning is taking so long. The aforementioned gripes are the only real cons to MiniTool and thus we find it a suitable candidate on the top data recovery software list.
Officially supporting Windows 10, 8, 8.1, and 7, MiniTool can also run on older versions of Windows such as XP and Vista.
Free version can recover up to 1GB, while the paid version ($129) have no limit on the amount of data recovered. Loading previous recovery results is also possible in the paid versions. Recovering files from a Windows server is only available in versions with a business license and multiple license options are available.
5. Stellar Recovery
Known since the early 90’s, Stellar Recovery has slowly evolved into a well-known name in the data recovery software world. Stellar Recovery is known for fast, clean results with a high success rate on many common file types. Advanced features are limited but Stellar Recovery does a great job at quick and easy scans for Windows while maintaining a reasonable cost and ease of use.
Scan for a specific file
Stellar Recovery is packed with features and options. Notable features include Deleted File Recovery (of course!) which allows you to scan the storage device where the file was deleted and recover applicable results. There is an option to scan for a specific file or folder which is a good way to reduce the scan time in theory, in practice this feature is only ideal for reducing time sorting files.
The software offers two Scan modes: Quick Scan and Deep Scan. During scans Stellar Recovery displays information like how much data has been scanned and how long the scan needs to complete. After searching, a preview of retrievable files will be presented.
Optical Media Recovery
Stellar tool offers Optical Media Recovery, which can rescue data from scratched or corrupted optical media like CD or DVD disks. The Pro version also includes an Image Your Hard Disk feature to permit recovery from a hard drive with bad sectors or damaged areas. Email recovery is also advertised in the Pro version.
Cons: There does not appear to be support for advanced recovery cases such as RAID at this time.
Stellar Recovery supports recovery from FAT, NTFS, and exFAT drives and partitions. It runs best with Windows XP and later versions.
Free version allows to scan and preview only. To actually recover files, you need to upgrade to the Pro version ($99).