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5 Best Data Recovery Software in 2020

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From photos to essential documents, computers house a lot of essential data. And, unfortunately, can lose a lot of essential data. Maybe the SD card was left in a pocket and went through the washer and dryer, or maybe the hard drive crashed. Whatever the reason, you need data recovery software and fast.

The best data recovery software will help find accidentally deleted files in a quick and easy way. Some will go as far as even restoring access to hard drives that are no longer readable. Many of these programs offer a free data recovery software download but require a purchase to access all features.

Here are the best data recovery software options to get back those missing files.

Photo of a man sitting in an office with a laptop
Photo by Sebastian Herrmann

5. Recuva: The Best Free Data Recovery Tool

Cost: Free, or $25 for Recuva Professional

Operating System: Windows

While several data recovery programs have free versions, Recuva’s has perhaps the most tools without upgrading to the paid option. In case you need it, it isn’t outrageous at $25. The recovery software for windows works for recovering data from your computer, as well as recover data from memory cards and even damaged or formatted drives. Recycle bin recovery is also included.

Recuva uses a simple though old-school looking user interface. Users select where to scan. Once the scan is complete, users can browse through a list of files that can be recovered, along with previewing the file. The program works with photos as well as videos, music, documents and other files.

4. TestDisk: Best OpenSource Free Data Recovery Software

Cost: Free

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, Linux and More

While many data recovery programs have a free version just to get users interested in paid software, that’s not the case with TestDisk. TestDisk is an OpenSource software, which means it’s always free and not as a limited version either. Another plus is the program’s ability to be used with pretty much any major operating system.

There’s a downside to using a free, OpenSource data recovery program, however. The user-interface isn’t as easy to navigate, and the program uses a command-line interface, which requires some computer savvy. For the patient and technically skilled though, TestDisk can be a great file recovery software. And available without spending a dime.

3. Stellar Data Recovery: Best for Recovering Photos and Videos

Cost: $50+

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac

Stellar Data Recovery is a highly-praised data recovery software with a lot of different options. The program can recover data with a hard drive recovery, as well as working with memory cards. The more advanced versions of the software also work with lost partitions as well as drives that won’t even boot up. Another big plus is that the program has an option to help repair corrupted photos and videos.

There’s a downside to all those features though. Stellar Data Recovery is one of the pricier options, with plans starting at $50. It’s even more expensive for Mac versions and the option to recover corrupted photos. The data recovery software, available for both Mac and Windows, does have a free trial download to try.

2. EaseUS Data Recovery: Best Program for Hard-to-Recover Files

Cost: Free, $70-$90 a month for Pro plan

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

EaseUS is one of the top-ranked data recovery programs. According to PC Magazine, the EaseUS data recovery wizard retrieved more lost files than any other tested program. Data recovery is quick and easy to use. Even the free version works with 1,000 file formats and works with external hard drives, memory cards, SSDs and more.

With options for individuals as well as big businesses, EaseUS has a lot of different programs available. Mobile options also make this program a good data recovery option for iPhone and Android.

The downside? The subscription-based price model can be expensive, especially if you want the program for more than a month. The company also offers partitioning software to make the most of disk space, back-up, and data transfer programs.

1. Wise Data Recovery: Best Fast Data Recovery

Cost: Free,  $60 a month or $90 a year for Pro version

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac

Where Wise Data Recovery stands out is the software’s algorithms that allow for a quick scan to see what can actually be recovered. The feature works well for recovering recently deleted files. However, to recover more, users may want to update to the paid version for a deep scan tool.

Wise Data Recovery works with multiple file types as well as with both Mac and Windows operating systems, hard drives, and external storage devices. The downside is that, like any subscription, if you need this service often, the program can be pretty pricey.

Screenshot of computer algorithms
Photo by Markus Spiske

Common Data Recovery Software Questions

Which Is the Best Free Data Recovery Software?

Many data recovery programs have free versions that just limit the features. Recuva, however, is one of the top-ranked free data recovery software options out there. The program is simple, works well, and if you do end up needing to upgrade, it’s still cheaper than most of the other options.

What Data Recovery Software Do Professionals Use?

Professional data recovery centers use more hardware solutions than software solutions, though there is some overlap. These tasks require a high level of expertise and, unlike basic data recovery software, can’t be carried out at home as a DIY.

What Software Do Data Recovery Companies Use?

When companies lose important data, they might use a more robust program than the options designed for individuals. Many of the data recovery programs in the list above have a separate version for businesses. They’re more expensive but work on multiple computers in a company network. Again, what each company uses will vary based on the company’s needs, size, and so on.

What Is the Best Photo Recovery Software?

The best data recovery software is the one that’s going to recover the most data for you. The free version of Recuva is ideal for many users and is one of the best free data recovery software options out there. For more complex cases, EaseUS tends to recover more difficult files. Other programs also have their own perks, like speed and corrupted photo repair.

Photo of a laptop half-open
Photo by Tianyi Ma

Conclusion

Losing data is a nightmare. But with the best data recovery software, those files might not be gone for good. Whenever dealing with lost files, stop using that hard drive, USD, USB flash drives or memory card immediately. Data recovery software work best when used right away. Try Recuva as a free data recovery software (or, if you are computer savvy, TestDisk). For trickier recoveries, consider options like Stellar Data Recovery, EaseUS, or Wise Data Recovery.

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