Best Data Recovery Software Reviews of 2020
Are you looking for a reliable Windows, Mac, or mobile data recovery solution to recover lost files for yourself? Our expert-written reviews, side-by-side comparisons, and up-to-date lists of free versions and discount offers will help you find the most fitting program to restore those all-important files.
Thanks to their in-depth research and testing of different apps, our experts and users have found that the following apps are the best data recovery software of 2020:
Best Data Recovery Software for PC
|Editor's Choice 2020|
Best Data Recovery Software for Mac
|Editor's Choice 2020|
Windows Data Recovery Software
Since Windows always hides deleted files deep inside the system, data recovery isn’t a lost cause at all. However, the longer those files stay on the computer, the more likely it is that they’ll be overwritten by newer files – at which point they won’t be recoverable anymore.
This is exactly where Windows data recovery software can help by searching through the hidden parts of drives and partitions until the files in question are located and hopefully restored. However, the beauty of Windows data recovery tools is that they are actually multifaceted programs, capable of performing special types of recovery too, such as salvaging files from a failing drive by copying its content onto a virtual disk image or finding elements on a lost partition.
Mac Data Recovery Software
Macs are known for being less prone to the issues that plague Windows users, while extremely helpful functions like Time Machine – which can restore accidentally deleted files in an instant – help reduce the risk of lost data. However, even Macs aren’t immune to hardware failure, and this is especially true for devices that utilize SSDs, which are faster but tougher to recover data from. For this reason, even Mac users are advised to have a data recovery app to hand just in case Time Machine isn’t enough. However, there is more to Mac data recovery tools than just complementing the built-in data recovery feature, they provide more versatile data recovery options including thorough scans, disk health monitoring, the creation of a boot disk, and the option to copy a failing drive’s content over to an image file to protect the disk from taking more damage.
Data Recovery Software Reviews
Although scanning and recovery features are the main focus of our expert-written reviews, we always go beyond simple tests. Each review thoroughly covers every feature of the chosen data recovery tool, detailing whether the solution is only good for general data recovery or if it can provide more than that. However, we also take into consideration the overall usability of the software, how well it performs in a typical recovery situation, and whether there is anything unique that makes the data recovery tool stand out from the rest. And last but not least, our reviews go into detail about the cost of each solution and evaluate the customer support based on its versatility and general quality of the service.
Data Recovery Comparison
Data recovery programs come in various forms, but deep down they all provide the same function: the scanning for and the recovery of lost files. And since they are alike in everything but appearance and additional features, finding the most fitting solution isn’t an easy task. This is why comparing data recovery apps to one another is a must and therefore why our detailed comparison chart is so helpful, since it tells you everything about the programs we have tested so far. We also provide side-by-side comparison articles, in which two solutions are compared to each other with a particular emphasis on their individual strengths and unique features.
Since data recovery is a delicate process, all major data recovery software providers offer a free version of their software so that users can see what the chosen solution is capable of for themselves. Unfortunately, these versions are only useful for testing the software’s scanning capabilities since the actual recovery features are either limited or completely blocked without a valid software license. But we don’t limit ourselves to only listing the functionalities of these demo versions, as we also reveal ways in which readers can enjoy all features without limitations for free via risk-free trials as well as other special offers.
There can be major differences between some data recovery apps, particularly when it comes to the feature set. But one area where they do all differ in is their individual prices, since some are more cost-friendly and others have high price tags. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to save big on data recovery software, ranging from bulk-buying discounts to rewards for brand loyalty. Our coupons section is for this exact purpose, highlighting the most up-to-date coupons and special offers for both Windows and Mac data recovery solutions alike.
Data Recovery 101
What Is Data Recovery Software?
In short, data recovery software is a downloadable, mostly pay-only solution intended to search through every segment of a computer’s storage to locate and recover files that have been deleted, whether accidentally or due to hardware malfunction. They are cheaper alternatives to professional data recovery services and are designed with a user interface that allows even the least tech-savvy of users to recover their lost data without harming their computers.
In fact, this is the reason why many data recovery tools focus solely on performing scans and recovery, though more advanced solutions bundle in extra features with which users can deal with more serious issues like being able to save files from a lost partition or a failing drive. Data recovery programs are widely available for PCs and Macs but some companies also produce similar solutions for smartphones, too.
How Data Recovery Software Works
Regardless of the full feature set, the basic principle of any data recovery software is always the same. Whenever data is deleted by a user, it is not actually removed from the storage drive. Instead its space marked as available to reuse, and it isn’t until that space is overwritten by new data that the deleted file is no longer available. This means that if you act within a reasonable time – a matter of hours or days – then the data recovery tool can still find and restore lost data.
Thankfully, operating such a program is child’s play as all it takes is to determine where and what kind of files the software should look for and whether you want a quick scan or a more thorough deep scan. There is also often the option to look for files on lost partitions or to create a virtual image of a drive for recovery purposes to protect a drive that is already failing. Once the scanning process is complete, the search results can often be filtered to help you to pick out and recover the files you lost.
Why Data Recovery Software?
Although data recovery is considered to be tampering with the device’s system – which is something experts strongly discourage users from – it’s a reasonable choice for two particular reasons. The first is the price: where a data recovery tool costs between $20 and $100, professional data recovery services will charge hundreds of dollars to revive lost files. Granted, data recovery apps often have to be paid for on an annual basis to continue receiving future software updates and priority customer support, but even then it’s still the cheaper solution.
The other benefit of data recovery software is convenience. Unlike professional services where you have to wait for the evaluation of your case, finding files with a data recovery tool is immediate. In fact, if all your drives are working fine and the deletion of important data occurred only recently, a quick scan with data recovery software is more than enough to bring back missing files. Moreover, the most advanced data recovery solutions are all equipped with professional tools like virtual disk image creation.
Recovery of Different Types of Data
It’s virtually impossible to say exactly how many file types a data recovery app bring back from oblivion as these solutions each handle different file categories, covering documents, audio and video files, emails, and images.
However, since general data recovery tools search for a wide array of files, scans and recovery may take longer than expected, unless the chosen software is advanced enough to allow specific file type searches. Certain data recovery service providers often offer specific recovery tools that focus on recovering particular types of files, whether that is photos, videos, and the like. Granted, these programs do their jobs faster and they are cheaper but the value for money is not as good as a slower yet more thorough general data recovery program – especially if it can search for certain file types.
Free Data Recovery Solutions
Most major data recovery companies provide free versions of their software that demonstrate the scanning capabilities and sometimes even allow the recovery of a limited amount of data. This may seem unfair at first – especially seeing how certain solutions like Recuva can be enjoyed for free without limitations – but there is a reason for this policy. If a demo cannot recover your lost files, then purchasing the paid version would be a waste of money.
Alternatively there is the option to turn to freeware and open-source data recovery apps, but doing so isn’t necessarily the best idea. This is because while these tools are just as capable as data recovery, freeware programs constantly bother users with ads and open-source solutions often lack the professional design and are therefore harder to use.
There are many interesting details related to the world of data recovery and our blog is the best place to learn all about these facets of the industry. Here you’ll find useful information such as the difference between deleting and overwriting files or whether it’s easier to recover from solid-state drive or the more common hard disk drive. However, it’s not just technical info being shared here, since there is also news related to data recovery solutions – mostly new software releases – as well as more lighthearted topics like revealing the greatest myths about data recovery in general.
Do you have any questions regarding data recovery tools that neither our reviews nor our blog articles have answered? Then our dedicated FAQ can be of help. Here we gather together the most common issues that users face when using data recovery tools, with short but informative answers to help get your lost files back in a jiffy. But there is more: the FAQ provides insights on lesser-known features as well as tips and tricks on how to maximize the performance of data recovery tools to get the best results no matter on which platform the software is run on.