Our list of best hard drive recovery software is certainly going to be of help, whether your HDD has crashed or you’re just looking to be prepared for the unspeakable time. There are many causes behind a storage unit failing. While some occur naturally owing to the unit being extensively used over a period of time, others kick the bucket due to viruses, application failure or human error. But fret not; your content is still likely to be safe even if the HDD or partition is formatted. And we have listed the best options to restore your HDD to its original state.
To kick start today’s hard drive recovery software compilation, we’ve got a tool to extract lost content from HDDs partitioned with various file systems. The application is compatible with most commonly used platforms such as DOS, Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD and more. The feature set here is designed for both new users and experts. Some of the main attributes include the ability to undelete data from FAT, exFAT, NTFS and ext2 file systems as well as copy content from these partitions in addition to ext3 and ext4. It is also capable of restoring deleted partitions and fixing tables as well as rebuilding NTFS boot sector.
Our goal here is to deliver best options so that you can worry less about losing precious content. Recuva is one such tool that provides a wide catalog of options. Each selection is altered for specific needs. Apart from allowing you to undelete files that were lost in cases where your HDD got damaged or formatted, you’ll also be able to restore a host of other content like unsaved Word documents which is done by rebuilding them from the temporary files, and emails owing to integrated support for Microsoft Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird and Windows Live Mail. Additionally, it also works well with removable storage units such as USB keys, an iPod and images rendered in the .CRW format from Nikon and Canon cameras.
Price: Free; Professional and business versions cost $24.95 and $34.95, respectively.
3. Disk Drill:
Disk Drill is a Mac specific application that provides the essential utilities required to restore lost data. The procedure is pretty simple. All you have to do is run the app and install the disk driver which is needed for proper functioning. The next step is to launch the tool in recovery mode with the HDD connected. From here on, you’ll have to select the scanning method and the data you wish to resurrect. All restored content will be stored to a separate disk instead of the same one. The tool is compatible with OS X 10.5 and above.
This entrant on today’s hard drive recovery software roster comes in 2 flavors, each designed for specific file systems, namely NTFS and FAT. However, the features set here are identical. Just as the names suggests, you can restore all sorts of content with this tool including the partition table, boot record, FAT/MFT and root directory. The developer has implemented a read-only design which enhances safety as no data is written to the storage unit during the process. In cases where your PC refuses to boot into Windows, the company has made the application accessible through a Runtime Live CD or a BartPE boot disk.
Price: $79 for NTFS, $69 for FAT.
5. Data Rescue PC3:
Similar to the previously mentioned application, this tool can be used in 2 ways. First is the standalone app for Windows that’s not only intuitive to use, but also pretty straight forward in functioning. Once it has been loaded, the tool quickly scans the defected or damaged partition for files. On detection, you can conveniently transfer your content to another disk. The second method is via an emergency boot CD for instances where you can’t get into Windows. The company is also offering a separate Mac version for the same retail amount as the PC counterpart.
This application is yet another addition to our hard drive recovery software compilation that’s compatible with Mac computers as well. In spite of OS specific versions being present, both tools are compatible with FAT and NTFS file systems, however only the variant designed for Apple computers can access HFS+, ext2 and ext3 formats. Apart from restoring data stored on your PC, it can also revive content from a USB flash disk, memory cards, cameras and more. There’s even support for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Price: $29.95 for Windows; $59.95 for Mac
The application being spoken of is capable of restoring documents, emails, photos, videos, audio files and a lot more content from damaged or formatted partitions. You can even repair the affected volume to get it up and working again. To speed up searches, the app provides you with the option to specify the file types you want to locate and it even delivers the ability to preview content before restoration. The company is offering lifetime updates and also a free service where they repair documents stored in .pst, .dbx, .xls and .doc formats. All you have to do is send them the files and wait for a reply which usually takes a week.
So those are the best hard drive recovery software available on the internet. In our experience, don’t expect these tool to snoop out each and every file you’ve lost, but you can rest assure that the majority of data is restorable to its original state, that’s provided the disk is still functioning and not physically damaged. The only way you can prevent losing your valuable content is by regularly backing it up to an external source that can be stored away safely and out of harm’s reach. A RAID configuration is the ideal way to go if you handle large amounts of data. If you have experience with any of the aforementioned tools or have app suggestions in mind, do drop your thoughts in the comments section below.