Ever accidentally deleted a file, photo or video and wondered if you could recover it? Ever had a computer restart only to find out that the project you were working on has disappeared? All is not lost, yet. Even though data might be deleted from the Recycle Bin, it’s often present either as a copy or as a fragment on your hard drive, by virtue of magnetic platters on your hard disks. Since hard disk drives have physical sections where data is written, unless the data has been overwritten, there’s actually still a chance where it can be recovered. That’s not to say that you won’t be able to recover data from USB flash drives or memory cards, you can still try that as well. So if you’re looking for tools to recover your lost data for free, check out our picks for the best data recovery tools that don’t cost a penny!
Must Read – How To Recover Lost or Deleted Files – Free Data Recovery
The 5 Best Free Data Recovery Tools
First up is the tried and tested Recuva. One of our favorite data recovery tools, Recuva is developed by Piriform, the same folks who gave us the also excellent PC cleanup tool, CCleaner. It supports Windows 8.1 as well as older operating systems until Windows 98, so even if you’re an old timer, you’re in luck! The interface is clean, easy to use, and it even allows data recovery from discs and iPods. Another great addition is the portable version for quick use on USB drives. If you’re looking for a free data recovery tool, Recuva should be at the top of your list!
SoftPerfect File Recovery
The smallest and simplest looking tool on the list, SoftPerfect File Recovery doesn’t even require you to install it to hard disk. It runs on all versions of Windows from XP to 8.1, and also supports 64-bit systems. Pretty much anyone with minimal tech knowledge can use it, since file scanning and recovery is just a couple of clicks away.
Download SoftPerfect File Recovery
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free
A product of the same developers who created the excellent EaseUS Partition Master range, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free is a slick looking and easy to use program that lets you ‘undelete’ your files. Since it’s from a larger developer, the polish really shows. It features a preview mode as well, so you can see what photo or video you’re recovering, and also has a Mac version, apart from the usual Windows version. Keep in mind though, that the free version allows you only to recover up to 2 GB of data. For recovering more, you’ll have to pay up.
Download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free
Puran File Recovery
Puran File Recovery is an extremely versatile software that can be used by tech amateurs and veterans alike. It has a wealth of options and often detects the most ‘deleted’ files. It’s supported on Windows XP through Windows 8.1, including 64-bit versions and even allows you to recover lost partitions, as long as they haven’t been overwritten. Plus, there’s a portable version as well, what’s not to like?
Download Puran File Recovery
CD Recovery Toolbox
While all the above tools let you recover data from disk drives, there’s only a few that let you do so from optical media. Considering the fact that a lot of users still use discs to store their data, we give you CD Recovery Toolbox. This is a specialized tool meant for data recovery only from optical media like CDs, DVDs, Blu Ray Discs, you name it. You won’t be able to recover data from your hard disk, but in certain situations, CD Recovery Toolbox is probably the way to go. You can run it on Windows 98 through 8.1
Download CD Recovery Toolbox
If you’re still facing problems with recovering data, it’s probably because its been overwritten and cannot be recovered any longer. Paid tools like Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery might be worth a try, but there’s a good chance that even it can’t do anything if you’re looking for data from weeks or months ago. Do let us know what you think of the list, and queries are always welcome!