Few people find themselves looking for the best recovery software before they need it. Frequently, these searches come after having tried other avenues. You may have simply deleted your data and cleared the Recycle Bin or Trash Can before realizing that you actually needed that file. Your pertinent data might be stuck on some incorrectly burned CD or DVD. You could have lost a partition or whole hard drive and just aren’t sure what you’re going to do. Data loss doesn’t just cost millions in dollars to the economy, but also in hours as we desperately scratch around our hard drives seeking what might just be the file we’re looking for.
Maybe it’s time to change your approach to data loss and file recovery. Hard disk recovery software works in a few ways, most of which involve looking in the places where your own computer system failed to adequately delete a file. When you delete a file from your computer, you don’t actually remove the file. What is erased is the information that associates the file with the Directory Tree, which opens the sector on the drive where it was stored so that it can be used to save future files.
We compared the best disk recovery software to find the most capable and simple-to-use solutions. To find the best product to help you resolve your data-loss issue, read the reviews of our top selections – Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery, EaseUs Data Recovery Wizard and R-Studio. To learn more about disk recovery and data-loss prevention, see our articles on disk recovery software.
Perhaps the most important thing to look for in Disk recovery software is whether it operates within your system’s specs. Do you have the right operating system and available resources? We looked for disk recovery software that didn’t just look for your deleted files, but offered to recover a broad range of media types. We also examined what features and options were available, as well as surveying the help and support options you'll have access to after making your choice.
Top disk recovery software goes beyond simply being able to recover files from an emptied recycle bin and includes tools for recovery from a variety of devices. We looked for file recovery software that can not only recover deleted files from hard drives, but also from damaged disks, USB drives, email clients, external drives and camera cards. Because there are so many ways to lose files – accidental deletion, disk damage, a virus attack or inadvertent hard drive reformat – the best file recovery software can help you no matter what your data-loss scenario is.
It would be nice if recovered files reappeared with their original file names, but most often they do not. Since most lost-file situations involve the pathway to the file being unrecognizable, the file name is usually lost also. Recovered files come back with file names such as "$1275dLf4.xls," so search and filter tools within the recovery software are extremely useful. Most file recovery software allows you to search for and filter files by attributes such as file name, extension type, date and file size. Some products will even help you search for a specific version of a lost file; however, most recovery software lists only the last-modified and last-accessed dates. Because discovered file lists can be long and messy, a good file preview feature is extremely helpful.
We compared recovery features side by side to help you find the right software to recover your files. Most disk recovery solutions include similar basic features, but the best products offer additional features such as the ability to recover files from an unbootable drive and the ability to create an image of a damaged drive to help you retrieve files safely. Another consideration when you choose disk recovery software is file system support. Most products support a variety of FAT and NTFS file systems. If you do not know what file system your PC uses, select a product that can recover from both file systems.
Help & Support
Recovering lost or deleted files can be stressful and complicated. Although the best disk recovery software is simple to use, help ought to be readily available when you need it. We checked the direct support options each company offers, such as telephone, email and online chat support, as well as support documentation such as user manuals and FAQs. If you need additional assistance, some companies offer professional data recovery as an additional – but often expensive – service.
You are not alone in your search for lost files. Even when it looks like your data is gone, it’s not likely gone forever and finding the best hard disk recovery software for you is the best place to start getting it back.
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