Best data recovery software of 2024

Losing data to hardware or software failure, accidental deletion, or cybercrime, is stressful. Today, businesses prevent this store so much of their essential information on hard drives or using cloud backup. You might have everything routinely saved to a USB stick or to an external hard drive as well.

Still, if you haven't got a backup system in place ('the best time was yesterday, the second best time is now'), there are a number of data backup software , and disk cloning software options that can make the process of data recovery relatively straightforward.

We've listed our top data recovery software choices here, and are keeping a close eye any deals available in February 2024, some of which you can only get here.

Reader Offer: $20 off 1-year license
Save $20 on an annual subscription to Stellar Data Recovery (Windows & Mac). Use the code TechRadar20

Reader Offer: $20 off 1-year license
Save $20 on an annual subscription to Stellar Data Recovery (Windows & Mac). Use the code TechRadar20 at checkout to pick up a 1-year subscription for $79.99. 

 Preferred partner (What does this mean?) 

There are several high-quality data recovery packages available to businesses, and this page, updated regularly (it's now February 2024, meaning that we're very much at the tail-end of the holiday promotional period) will keep up with the best deals on the most reliable and successful products. 

Even if you use a data backup service, you should still have a data recovery solution ready, planning ahead for the worst case scenario - your backup, or ideally backups, failing.

Before getting started, it's important that we say that your data is your responsibility, and that each time you access a drive you're trying to recover data from, you're risking that the data will be overwritten. This is why it's best to install data recovery utilities to a separate device to the one from which you want to recover.

The products on this page therefore aren't guaranteed to work the miracle you're wanting, but you can at least be responsible at helping them along.

The best data recovery software in full:

Best overall

(Image credit: Stellar)
The best file recovery software

Reasons to buy

+
 Recover data from full range of devices 
+
 Quick and deep scan options

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than some competitors
-
Slow deep scans 

Stellar Data Recovery is one of the most popular data recovery services for businesses and for good reason. The platform comes with several scan options, meaning you can tailor the scan for the type of data loss that has occurred. This saves time if you’ve deleted an important file and realized straight away, meaning there’s no need for a full system scan. 

The platform also comes with advanced search capabilities, making it easy to identify and extract the most critical data.

Another important feature of Stellar Data Recovery is its support for all file formats and drives. It is an adaptable provider that will recover data from hard drives (internal and external), memory cards, flash drives, and optical media like CDs and DVDs.

During our tests we found that Stellar was able to recover files that had been deleted from the Recycle Bin without any issue whatsoever. It had less success with drives which had been formatted, only being able to recover around half the files. When we simulated a corrupted hard drive however, Stellar was able to recover 80% of the missing files.  

There's a free version available which allows you to recover up to 1GB of data. There's no limit on the number of files you can 'preview' from within Stellar Data Recovery though, so you can check to see which files are recoverable. 

To actually attempt to recover anything, however, you have to pay for a license annually rather than monthly, with pricing starting at around $60. 

Read our full Stellar Data Recovery review.

Best for beginners

(Image credit: EaseUS)
The best wizard-style way to easily recover your files

Reasons to buy

+
Fast deep-scan function
+
Highly advanced data recovery tool

Reasons to avoid

-
Mac and Windows versions are different

EaseUS isn't overstating the 'Wizard' part of this software's title – it really is 'wizard' in the sense of being good at something. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is straightforward to use, taking you step-by-step through the recovery process. 

Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro quickly enough after disaster has occurred and it'll be able to resurrect just about everything, from inadvertently-deleted partitions to virus-ruined files.

During all our tests EaseUS ran incredibly quickly. It detected the virtual drives and ran scans in seconds. In our first test, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard lived up to its name, as it was able to retrieve all of the files on the drive which had previously been deleted from the Recycle Bin.

The utility also performed well on our test on a drive which had been formatted after the file had been deleted, recovering 76% of the missing files. We were particularly impressed that EaseUS was able to recover the filenames too.

We also ran a test simulating a damaged drive. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard immediately recognized it as a "lost partition", where we were able to preview all of the deleted files, complete with filenames. 

Not only is this utility one of the best we've seen for data recovery but the full package is still one of the more affordable solutions we've seen for resurrecting crashed RAID setups – certain packages hide this functionality away in their premium versions. While there are definitely more advanced recovery packages out there, and certainly some cheaper ones, this is the one we'd keep on our shelf for those not-so-special occasions.

There are various pricing options, from monthly to yearly, or alternatively, a Lifetime upgrades license, with costs starting from around $70. However, you can get 25% off any of these prices if you enter the code AFF-TECH-RAD at checkout.

Upgrading to a paid license is a little expensive, but the vast number of features you get for that investment means that in reality, it represents great value for money. And, when you add to this the app's great performance, EaseUS's responsive customer support, and a tidy user interface, you have a clear winner.

 Read our full EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro review

Best complete solution

(Image credit: Cleverfiles)
The best complete disk recovery solution

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Support for a wide selection of media types and files

Reasons to avoid

-
PRO option is expensive
-
Recovery vault folder names are meaningless

One of the most popular data recovery tools on macOS, Disk Drill is now available for Windows.

With a range of features and a choice of free and premium versions, Disk Drill is designed to recover data from hard disk drives, solid-state drives, USB flash drives, SD/CF cards, digital cameras, and even smartphones. Disk Drill's website boasts that any lost data file type can be recovered, from almost any data loss scenario you can think of.

Naturally we weren't just going to take their word for it, so we decided to put Disk Drill to the test. We were pleased to see that scans of the attached drives completed in just a few seconds. 

The "Preview" feature is also essential, as it allows you to examine files in a way that's more difficult with the "Recovery Fault" which doesn't always assign correct filenames to data. 

In our first test the utility was able to find all the deleted files that we'd sent to the Recyle Bin. Our next test was on a drive which had been formatted after the files had been deleted. Disk Drill proved itself equal to the task and was able to produce all of the original files, with filenames intact.

For our final test, we simulated a corrupted/damage drive. Although the drive itself wasn't visible in Windows Explorer, upon launch Disk Drill proudly proclaimed "Woohoo! Lost Partitions Found!". It then recovered all of the files, though the filenames for two of them were missing.

This means that Disk Drill is one of the very few data recovery utilities to have passed all our tests with flying colors. 

Disk Drill's complete collection of features for every imaginable platform and scenario is impressive enough. Its ability to effortlessly mount and read a previously unmountable drive and recover the data from it within a comparatively small timeframe proves that Disk Drill is a recovery tool that you should be considering.

The free version of Disk Drill only allows you to recover up to 500MB of data. Pricing for the PRO version comes in the form of a one-time license fee rather than monthly or yearly cost, at around $118 for the software with lifetime upgrades which could make it most cost-effective in the long haul for a small business with cost on its mind. Overall, Disk Drill is an excellent recovery option for Windows.

Read our full Disk Drill data recovery review

Best service

Website screenshot for AnyRecover

(Image credit: AnyRecover)
The best file recovery service

Reasons to buy

+
Supports huge number of devices
+
Dedicated remote support for paid versions

Reasons to avoid

-
Preview only supports certain file types

While there are plenty of Data Recovery products on the market, very few are as comprehensive as AnyRecover. The utility is available not just for Windows and Mac but is also designed to recover data from iOS and Android devices. 

AnyRecover touts itself as a data recovery solution for over 500 data loss scenarios for over 2000 different types of devices. The website also claims that over 1000 file formats are supported. 

In our first test with AnyRecover, we found it was able to recover 92% of files that had been deleted from a drive, with filenames intact.

The second test was performed on a drive which had been formatted after the files were deleted. In that case AnyRecover was able to successfully restore 64% of the missing files, without their filenames.

Our final test simulated a corrupted/damaged drive. AnyRecover didn't see this at first but as soon as we clicked "Couldn't Find Location" from within the utility, the drive appeared and scanning began. AnyRecover was able to restore all but one of the missing files with their filenames.

AnyRecover can be downloaded free of charge from the main website by clicking "Try it Now". You can use the free version to 'Preview' certain file types and recover up to 100MB of data in up to 8 files.

If you choose to buy, AnyRecover can be installed on up to 3 devices and 2 PCs. A 1 month license costs $49.99. For just $20 extra you can buy a lifetime license for $69.99. A lifetime license costs $79.99.

Read our full AnyRecover Review.

Best interface

(Image credit: OnTrack)
The best interface alongside a powerful data recovery service

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful interface
+
Wide range of features
+
Easy file sorting

Reasons to avoid

-
Missing some useful features

Ontrack EasyRecovery comes in a number of different options, all intended to help provide the complete recovery of data under a range of different data loss conditions.

A free version allows you to recover up to 1GB, so isn't going to be particularly helpful except as a tester for most people. The free version also limits the size of recovered files to 25MB. 

The Home edition allows for the recovery of files and folders that have been accidentally deleted, though it can also recover them after a virus infection.

The Professional edition allows you to create disk images as well as recover data from CDs and DVDs, while the Premium edition doesn't just have the ability to clone HDDs and SSDs, but can also repair corrupted photos or videos.

The Technician and Toolkit editions are even more powerful, allowing for lost or reformatted RAID volumes, but also come with commercial licensing for commercial use, working across Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

During our tests we found the "deep scan" feature to be buggy, as the utility froze each time we tried to use it. We had more joy with quick scans however.

Our first test was on a drive where the files had been deleted from the Recycle Bin. Ontrack Easy Recovery was able to restore all of them in seconds, including the filenames. We didn't have much success with the drive which had been formatted after the files were deleted : some system files were recovered but not the ones we'd placed on there.

Our final test was a simulation of a corrupted/damaged drive. In this case Ontrack Easy Recovery's "Can't Find Drive" feature instantly displayed the lost partition. At this stage the utility became unresponsive. This may have been down to a defective data cluster on the drive itself though, so we'd still recommend installing the free version of the utility to try to 'Preview' files on lost partitions. 

Prices rise accordingly for the level of data recovery required, starting from around $60 for full protection, and we can speak from experience in saying the cost can be worth it for successful full data recovery.

Read our full OnTrack Data Recovery review. 

Best for enterprise

(Image credit: CrashPlan)
The best file recovery for enterprise

Reasons to buy

+
Combines data backup with recovery
+
Competitive pricing

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t back up by file type

Once the darling of free backup solutions for the home user, CrashPlan has since shifted its focus to the enterprise arena with its CrashPlan for Small Business offering.

And CrashPlan is certainly a favorite around here – in fact, our official company machines here at TechRadar all run Crashplan, and it's saved our bacon on more than one occasion. It's not quite the same as the traditional file recovery apps that we've covered in this article – it's a backup service first and foremost – but it's so comprehensive that it almost counts.

Crashplan, you see, stores absolutely everything. It chugs away in the background and makes full, detailed backups of your entire machine starting with the newest files first. It then sifts everything into virtual buckets so you can get quick access to the files that matter most.

Critically, though, Crashplan even stores files you've deleted. You can switch this feature off, but we wouldn't: your backups are fully encrypted, so even those deleted files will be safe from prying eyes, and you never know when you might need to retrieve that long-discarded (or virus-removed) file.

Pricing starts from  $10 a month per endpoint, with up to 100 endpoints covered in the small business plan. Enterprise users will need to get a custom quote.

Read our full CrashPlan review.


Best free file recovery software

Happy woman using a laptop

(Image credit: Urbanscape / Shutterstock)

Although we've featured the best file recovery software and best file recovery services above, some home and personal users may find they offer more than they need and would rather not pay full price for unwanted features. 

If you've only lost a few files, most commercial data recovery utilities offer a free tier to allow you to recover a small amount of data. There are also free data recovery utilities which may allow you to retrieve your lost files. 

In this guide, we'll explore some of these free options. Before getting started, remember that each time you use a drive from which data has been deleted you're risking that the system will overwrite the data. 

This is why it's best to install data recovery utilities to a separate device to the one from which you want to recover.

(Image credit: Stellar)
One of the best free data recovery platforms

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful advanced tools
+
Efficient, quick scans

Reasons to avoid

-
Deep scans are slow

Stellar Data Recovery is one of the best data recovery tools we’ve used, with highly customizable searches, a huge file-type library, and deep scan abilities. However, while a number of paid plans are available, there is also a free tier available.

Stellar Free Data Recovery Software offers up to 1GB of free data recovery for both Windows and Mac users. This enables users to retrieve deleted, lost, and unavailable objects from a hard drive, USB stick, or almost any other storage device. All of the advanced data recovery tools are otherwise available. This includes the ability to 'preview' from within Stellar Data Recovery, so you can check to see which files are recoverable even if you're over the 1GB free limit. 

During our tests we found that Stellar was able to recover files that had been deleted from the Recycle Bin without any issue whatsoever. It had less success with drives which had been formatted, only being able to recover around half the files. When we simulated a corrupted hard drive however, Stellar was able to recover 80% of the missing files.  Scans were completed in seconds. 

Overall, Stellar Data Recovery is a great file retrieval tool with powerful advanced options for business. In its simplest form, it enables anyone to retrieve lost data from a computer or external storage device. Paid subscriptions are a little expensive, but the free program’s impressive performance and user-friendly interface mean it's well worth using. 

The only concern would be whether 1GB of free recovery is enough for your needs, but if that's the case then one of the paid tiers would definitely be worth considering.

Read our full Stellar Data Recovery review. 

divider pink

(Image credit: DMDE)
An essential file recovery tool

Reasons to buy

+
High success rate for recovery
+
Low-level disk editing
+
Portable app

Reasons to avoid

-
Intimidating interface
-
Minor limitations on file recovery
-
Help file isn't very helpful

DMDE Free Edition – or, to give it its full title, DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software – helps you recover files from your hard drive that you have lost due to accidental deletion, hard drive problems, a virus attack, or some other grave misfortune. This is the free edition of a program for which there are paid-for versions, so it should come as no surprise that there are a few limitations – but none that should put you off.

The free version of DMDE is only available for personal use, and it's only possible to recover files that are currently visible in the selected directory. You can't, for example, select a folder from the directory tree and recover it. On top of this, recovery is limited to 4,000 files at a time, but there's no limit on how many files you can recover if you break it down into batches of 4,000 or fewer. 

When visiting the DMDE website to download the Windows GUI version of the program, we found it was available only as a ZIP file. This triggered a Windows Defender alert, which we had to bypass. We were then able to download the archive and extract the folder. 

These extra hoops are more hassle than a simple installer. On the plus side, the fact that DMDE can be run directly from the folder to where it's extracted means it's a portable app. You can run it from any location including directly from a USB stick, meaning you don’t need to install it and risk overwriting data you're trying to get back. 

This is especially important if you're trying to recover data from your main hard drive, as downloading any extra data to it risks overwriting existing files, making them much harder to recover.

If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can even venture into disk editing mode or reconstruct RAID configurations as part of your disaster recovery program.

During our tests, DMDE was able to recover all files successfully with filenames intact from a drive where they'd been deleted from the Recycle Bin. The utility was only slightly less successful with the drive that had been formatted after the files were deleted, recovering 92% of the files without the filenames.

We were particularly impressed how DMDE handled our simulation of a corrupted/damaged drive. The utility was able to recognize the lost partition immediately and recovered all of the original files including their filenames without issue. 

The unforgiving interface has been made more helpful in recent versions through pop up hints, although these can be annoying once you've mastered the program as there's no obvious way to switch them off.

Still if you can get past this, you'll find DMDE is an essential and powerful file recovery tool that could save you serious heartache.

Read our full DMDE Free Edition review. 

divider pink

(Image credit: Recuva)
An impressive full recovery toolkit

Reasons to buy

+
Affordably priced
+
Fast scan times

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as many features as rivals

Recuva is a full recovery toolkit, dealing with deep scanning, retrieval of data from damaged drives, extracting files from removable devices, and more. Although it does come with a paid-for version like the above, the free version is definitely worth checking out.

It's not the most comprehensive tool, but it's certainly powerful enough, particularly given that the pro version also adds disk imaging tools for taking full backups of your drives.

Perhaps Recuva's most interesting feature is one that's contrary to its main aim: using its secure delete capability, you can completely obliterate files. This is less surprising when you discover that Recuva's developers Piriform also created the world famous file-deletion tool CCleaner

Note that usually files are only ever truly deleted when they're overwritten by another occupying the same space on the drive – otherwise, it's merely the reference to their data in the OS that's removed. 

By overwriting each of their bits repeatedly with zeroes, even the most advanced data forensics tool won't be able to get them back. Perfect for those highly sensitive documents that absolutely need to stay deleted.

Moving on from file deletion to file recovery, Recuva performed fairly well in our tests. It was able to recover all data intact with filenames from the drive whose files had been deleted from the Recycle Bin.

We were also able to use Recuva's "Deep Scan" feature to restore 76% of files from a drive which had been formatted after the files were deleted, though some of the filenames were missing.

Our final test was a simulation of a corrupted/damaged drive. In this case sadly Recuva was unable to detect the drive, so no recovery could take place. 

One of our favorite features, is that at the end of each scan Recuva will display a summary of exactly how many files have been recovered and the time it took. Scans usually completed in seconds, so this may be one to consider if the drive containing your missing files can still be mounted by your operating system

Read our full Recuva review. 

divider pink

(Image credit: CGSecurity)
A powerful and flexible data two-part recovery toolkit

Reasons to buy

+
Recover partitions and files
+
Cross-platform

Reasons to avoid

-
TestDisk has no graphical interface

Presented as a pair of tools rather than a single integrated solution, TestDisk and PhotoRec together can recover data from both lost partitions and files.

TestDisk takes care of the partition side of things. The fact that it's a command line tool with no graphical interface might be off-putting at first. If can set this to one side though, there's help on hand to guide you through the process of working with your drives. TestDisk offers support for so many file systems, it should cater to most eventualities.

PhotoRec is the component for recovering files. It's available with a command line interface, but unlike TestDisk there's also a GUI for less confident users. In Windows this is qphotorec.exe. This works in largely the same way as the CLI tool, with the options displayed in a single window rather than a step-by-step series of commands. Recovered partition images can be checked in TestDisk using the terminal. 

PhotoRec is cross-platform and can be run as a portable app from a USB stick, which means you don't have to install it on your PC and risk accidentally overwriting the data you want to recover.

Aside from not costing a penny to use all features, both QPhotoRec passed all our tests with flying colors. The first test was performed on a drive attached to the virtual machine where the files had simply been deleted. The utility detected all the files within seconds and listed them by type. They were all recovered intact and opened without issue.

We next tested QPhotoRec using a drive that had been formatted after the files were deleted. Once again QPhotoRec didn't disappoint. It recovered a number of files, amongst which were the original ones which had been deleted, complete with their filenames. 

We were eager to see if the utility could go 3/3 so, next tested QPhotoRec on a drive with a corrupted volume header. QPhotoRec displayed it as a "missing" partition in the drop down menu, from which once again we were able to recover all the missing files intact with their filenames.

To date this is the only data recovery utility we've reviewed which has been able to recover all deleted files in every one of our tests. This is all the more impressive considering t