Top 10 Best Hard Drive Recovery Software for Windows and Mac

What Is the Best Hard Drive Recovery Software?

So you accidentally deleted a file and emptied the Recycle Bin. Then, you realized you needed to get that file back. Data loss is an unpleasant experience. It's easy to lose data due to deletion, formatting, and system crashes. Fortunately, free hard drive recovery software can help restore lost files even if you don't have a backup. There are many hard drive recovery programs and we have listed ten based on their features, performance, price, and our personal experience with them. 

recover data from hard drive with best free hard drive recovery software

The best data recovery software:

Top 1. Deep Data Recovery Free (Windows & Mac)

Deep Data Recovery is a free data recovery utility that has helped millions of users retrieve their precious data. Whether you have deleted files from a disk, formatted the disk, lost partitions, or the disk became RAW/inaccessible/unrecognized, you can recover your files with this hard disk recovery software.

Utilize Qiling Data Recovery Software

  • Recover deleted, formatted, and inaccessible data in various data loss situations.
  • Recover photos, audio, music, and emails from any storage effectively, safely, and completely.
  • Recover data from the recycle bin, hard drive, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, and camcorder.



Limitations on the free version: 2GB of free recovery. Users can instantly recover 500MB of data with Deep Data Recovery Free. Share the software on your Facebook or Twitter to get to a limit of 2GB.

Overall Experience

Qiling data recovery software for PC can be used on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, and even older versions of Windows. It also has a Mac version that supports macOS 10.15 ~ 10.9. It only allows you to recover up to 2GB of data for free. But, the recovery rate of Qiling is among the highest in the industry on both its Windows and Mac versions. It recovers your important files with ease and has the remarkable ability to repair corrupt photo and video files.

Top 10 Best Free Data Recovery Software for Windows 11?

This post provides you with the 10 best free data recovery software in Windows 11. You can recover deleted, formatted, and lost data without spending money.

free data recovery software for Windows 11

Top 2. Recuva - Hard Disk Recovery Software (Windows)

Piriform Recuva is widely used among users who have lost files accidentally. What differentiates Recuva from other hard drive recovery software is that it's more interactive. Recuva guides you through the data recovery process by asking you several questions, which makes it more user friendly.

Recuva hard drive data recovery software



Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery.

Overall Experience

Recuva is attractively priced and easy to use, though it can't dig in quite as deeply as higher-priced data recovery software. It can satisfy basic needs like photo recovery, deleted music, documents, videos, and email recovery. We have tried this software to retrieve lost Excel files. Recuva is 100% free for personal use.

Top 3. Disk Drill Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)

Cleverfiles Disk Drill is also one of the well-known hard drive recovery software tools in the field. It supports retrieving deleted, erased, and lost data from hard drives. Other than the data recovery feature, Disk Drill also provides users with extra functions like data protection and drive backup.

Disk Drill hard disk recovery software



Limitations on the free version: 500MB of free recovery. The Pro version costs $89 and has no recovery limits.

Overall Experience

Disk Drill has an intuitive interface that allows users to quickly recover their lost files. Its recovery capabilities also attract more experienced computer users. The tool provides additional data protection tools for free that can help you recover recently deleted files quickly. The Recovery Vault feature enables you to designate folders and files for enhanced protection. You can create a byte-level backup of a drive that can be used for the recovery of failing storage devices. But, you can only recover 500MB of data for free. If you want to restore more data, you must pay a fee of at least $89, which is expensive. Besides, the scanning takes a longer time compared with the previous equivalents and the files found are fewer.

Top 4. Wise Data Recovery - HDD Recovery Software (Windows)

Wise Data Recovery is a free data recovery tool that helps to recover lost photos, videos, audio files, documents, and more from local hard drives and removable devices like external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, digital cameras, mobile phones, and MP3 players. With advanced algorithms, Wise Data Recovery performs well to retrieve lost data from supported devices.

Wise data recovery software for hard drive recovery



Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery. You cannot run RAW recovery and deep scan with the free version. The Pro version costs $44.96 and has no recovery limits.

Overall Experience

Wise Data Recovery allows you to recover lost files on your Windows system(64-bit and 32-bit). It has been developed to work on Windows 10 and other Windows operating systems, from Windows XP and up. The free version allows you to run a quick scan and recover recently deleted files. If you want to recover permanently deleted files from Windows 10, this freeware may not work well. The user interface of Wise Data Recovery is straightforward, so even less experienced users shouldn't have much trouble figuring it out. We appreciate the ability to preview deleted files before recovery and display detailed information about them, including file headers.

Top 5. Ontrack Data Recovery Software (Windows & Mac)

Ontrack EasyRecovery is one of the top choices for disk data recovery. It retrieves files from an HDD, SSD, memory card, USB, and optical media after deletion, format, corruption, and more. Other than the basic data recovery features, EasyRecovery also enables users to perform advanced RAID recovery.

Ontrack hard drive data recovery software



Limitations on the free version: 1GB of free recovery. The Pro version costs $87.81 and has fewer recovery limits.

Overall Experience

Ontrack is straightforward file recovery software for missing or deleted photos, videos, and more from all types of computer storage devices. Utilize quick scan and deep scan to optimize your recovery. It also provides manual data recovery and repair with experts. The cost depends on your data and the difficulty of the recovery process. It is a little hard to download. You need to give your email and personal information before you can download it.

Top 6. Recover My Files (Windows Only)

Recover My Files is a reliable data recovery software tool that is exclusive to Windows. It enables users to recover files from hard drives, SD cards, USB zip drives, floppy disks, iPods, and more. It performs well in Recycle Bin recovery, formatted data recovery, OS reinstallation recovery, RAW partition recovery, and more. Documents, photos, videos, audio files, and emails are all recoverable.

hdd recovery software - recover my files



Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery. The Pro version costs $69.95 and has fewer recovery limits.

Overall Experience

Recover My Files is a data recovery program that uses file carving to extract lost files from unallocated clusters. Recovery is based on the interpretation of file content, usually through the process of reverse engineering a file type. The recovery process is not that easy as explained. The old-fashioned interface makes it hard for common users. Unfortunately, the last version of Recover My Files was v6, and it's clear that its original developers have abandoned it. You cannot get any updates.

Top 7. PhotoRec (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Photo Rec recovers images from all kinds of digital devices such as computers, digital cameras, cell phones, tablets, memory cards, external hard drives, and more. It has powerful file recovery capabilities and support for a wide range of platforms. This open-source data recovery software can recover more than 480 file extensions.

hard drive data recovery software - photorec



Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery.

Overall Experience

PhotoRec is free and open-source. It uses text-based data recovery techniques to get the lost files from a system. It is designed for experienced users with its text-only user interface. The good news is that this software is 100% free. PhotoRec can measure up to many paid data recovery software applications. You don't need to worry about the price and limitations.

Top 8. TestDisk (Windows, Mac, and Linux) 

TestDisk is also an open resource application that is used to recover lost partitions. It is able to recover deleted partitions from hard drives and fix the partition table, recover the boot sector, and more. Since TestDisk is open source software, you can inspect, modify, and enhance it provided you know how to do it.

hard drive partition recovery software - testdisk



Limitations on the free version: Unlimited free recovery.

Overall Experience

This freeware solution is only applicable to partition recovery. It is a command-line tool that supports many operating systems and filesystems. The app is still supported by its developer and is available in a bootable version. If you lost your partition, you can run this software. Otherwise, you can try other free data recovery software.

Top 9. HDD Recovery Software - Orion File Recovery (Windows)

Orion File Recovery can undelete files from Windows computers and Windows-compatible storage devices. In addition to data recovery features, Orion File Recovery is also equipped with exclusive features that permanently erase data from your hard drive to protect your privacy. 

hard drive recovery software - orion



Limitations on the free version: Unlimited data recovery.

Overall Experience

One of the features that makes Orion File Recovery Software so user-friendly is that every time you open the program, it starts a recovery wizard. Specifying the criteria that the app will use to search for your files couldn't be easier. For instance, Orion File Recovery Software will search for videos, music, pictures, documents, and other file types, whether or not you can remember the file name. The bad news is that there are many configurable options. The scanning result and recovery rate are not so reliable.

Top 10. Windows File Recovery ( Windows 10 2004 and Above)

Windows File Recovery is a command-line software utility from Microsoft to recover deleted files. It is freely available for Windows 10 version 2004 (May 2020 Update) and later from the Microsoft Store. It can recover most file types, with Microsoft listing JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Office files, MP3, MP4, and ZIP files from your hard drive or other devices. 

windows file recovery for hard drive recovery



Limitations on the free version: Limited file type recovery.

Overall Experience

If you run this tool, you must know your target file names, keywords, file paths, or extensions in your recovery. You can only recover JPEG, PDF, PNG, MPEG, Office files, MP3, MP4, and ZIP files. Different file recovery has different commands, which is hard to find for common users. This tool is totally free and clean. It will not bring additional software and plug-ins.

How to Recover Files from My Hard Drive for Free

Here are the simple steps needed to recover lost and deleted files using Qiling data recovery software for Windows.

Step 1. Select the file types and click "Next" to start.

Select file types that you want to recover

Step 2. Select the drive where you lose your data and click "Scan".

select and scan the hard drive

Step 3. Use "Filter" or "Search" to find the lost files when the scan completes.

Preview lost hard drive data

Step 4. Select all the files you want and click "Recover". Then, browse another secure location to save them.

Causes of Hard Drive Data Loss

Data loss on hard drives, be it internal or external, occurs more frequently than you expect. It's usually caused by one or more of the following reasons:

At this point, most people learn the importance of a backup. But, people often lose data without any backup. That's what makes the hard drive recovery software necessary for the users.

What You Should Consider While Choosing Disk Recovery Software

Many software developers claim that their hard drive recovery software is the best in the field. But, what makes a great data recovery tool? The higher the price is, the better the software will be? Or, just the freeware regardless of its quality? While choosing hard disk data recovery software, you should consider the following factors:

First, it should meet your needs well

Here "needs" indicates the situation in which you need to perform data recovery. An excellent software tool should be able to recover data from a hard drive in different data loss scenarios, like deletion, format, partition loss, partition/disk becoming RAW/inaccessible, virus infection, and more. Make sure the software you choose supports the data recovery from your specific data loss situation.

Second, it should be reliable

The hard drive recovery software should be virus-free, plugin-free, and must not cause further damage to the lost/deleted/formatted data. Also, the hard disk recovery software shouldn't crash during the data recovery process.

What's equally important is that there should be both pre-sale and after-sale technical support available from the software developers that will serve you anytime you need it.

Third, it should be fast and have a high success rate

Depending on the hard drive capacity and data stored on the storage medium, it may take hours to scan the hard drive searching for the lost files. That's why speed matters.

Besides, make sure the hard drive data recovery software is capable of recovering data successfully. For information about its success rate, you can refer to the comments from the real users and reviews from authoritative sites, like Trustpilot.

Last but not least, it should be user-friendly

A great disk recovery tool should make it simple for its users to use by providing a clear and intuitive interface. The data recovery process should be as easy as possible. In addition, the software must have some advanced features that help users quickly locate the lost files. Such features include filters, search bars, preview pane, and more.

Of course, there may be other qualities you concern yourself with. No matter what it is, check the list above and choose the best hard drive recovery software for yourself.

Comparison Table - How to Choose a Suitable Software

Here is the comparison of the hard drive recovery software scanning the same partition (127GB free of 141GB) searching for deleted/lost files: You can choose the best one according to your needs.

Product Name Recover My Files Recuva Disk Drill Wise Data Recovery Deep Data Recovery
Scanning Time 1h > 1h > 1h 37min 27min
Files Found 321,297 files 111,213 files 2,254 files 414,170 files 784,741 files
File Size 13.80GB no size is shown 1.92GB 19.84GB 38.53GB


Did you find the hard drive recovery software you needed from the list above? As long as your lost files are not overwritten, you can use one of the software above to give data recovery a try but the success rate varies. The higher the software ranks, the higher the chance you will get your files back. If your hard drive is physically damaged, we're afraid none of the software above will help. In that case, you should send your hard drive to manual data recovery services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated by Qiling Team

What is data recovery software?

Data recovery software is a specialized application that is used to recover deleted files from storage devices. There are many data recovery software options available that provide varying levels of functionality. A reliable solution like Qiling for Windows or Mac machines can recover over 1000 different types of files that were accidentally deleted from your computer.

How does data recovery software work?

In the case of accidental data deletion, data recovery software uses deterministic and heuristic algorithms to find the location of deleted files, and then attempts to recover as much of the data as possible. However, the chances of successful data recovery depend largely on the file system of the device in question.

Why do you even need data recovery software?

Most people think all you need to do is run hard drive recovery software. Not all data loss situations require a high-quality, commercial data recovery software solution. In some cases, you can get back data with native operating system features. If you accidentally delete a file or lose all of your files because of a system crash or virus, hard disk recovery software may be able to recover the files from your hard drive.

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