Our Picks

Most Affordable   
Recuva Professional    
$19.95
Easiest to Use   
Stellar Data Recovery Pro for Windows   
$99.99
Most Powerful   
R-Studio for Windows   
$79.99

Do you remember the feeling of dread you had when you deleted the wrong file or formatted the wrong drive? I’ve had that feeling. What have I done? What will I tell the boss?

This roundup is here to give you hope. The genre of Windows data recovery software promises to rescue you and get your data back. In this review, we explore which apps are the best and will do this most effectively in 2019.

We found three programs that will do a great job, and bring different strengths to the table. Recuva will do the basics very reliably at a budget price. Stellar Data Recovery is the easiest-to-use app that we reviewed, yet scores very highly in tests performed by industry experts. And for best results, there’s the app designed for the data recovery experts themselves: R-Tools Technology’s R-Studio.

They’re not your only options, and we’ll let you know which competitors are viable alternatives, and which may let you down. Finally, we round out the full range of free data recovery programs for Windows.

Using an Apple Mac computer? Also check out our best Mac data recovery software review.

Quick Navigation

// Why Trust Us?
// What You Need to Know Up-Front about Data Recovery
// Who Should (& Should Not) Get This?
// How We Tested and Picked
// The Winners
// The Competition
// Free Alternatives

Why Trust Us?


My name is Adrian Try and I’ve worked in IT for decades and offered support for Windows users for many years. I taught classes, managed training rooms, supported office staff and home users, and was the IT manager of a community organization.

You’d expect that I’d be using data recovery software on a regular basis to save the day. You’d be wrong—just four or five times when crucial data was lost in a disaster caused by computer failure or human error. I was successful about half the time.

So where do you turn to get opinions from someone intimately familiar with the whole range of Windows data recovery software? Data recovery specialists. To get a more accurate idea of the effectiveness of each app, I closely studied test results from industry experts who ran the best Windows data recovery software through its paces and tested each app myself.

What You Need to Know Up-Front about Data Recovery

Data recovery is your last line of defense

PCs can lose information because of human error, hardware failure, apps crashing, viruses and other malware, natural disasters, hackers, or just bad luck. So we plan for the worst. We create data backups, run anti-malware software, and use surge protectors. We hope we’ve done enough, but if we still use data, we turn to recovery software.

How does data recovery work?

When you delete a file or format a drive, the data actually remains where it was. Your PC’s file system stops keeping track of it—the directory entry is simply marked “deleted”, and will eventually be overwritten as new files are added. Recovery apps find your lost files by scanning:

  • A quick scan checks the directory structure to see if there is still some information about recently deleted files. If there is, they can quickly recover the files, including the file name and location.
  • A deep scan checks your drive for data left by files that are no longer tracked by the file system, and identifies common document formats, like Word, PDF, or JPG. It may be able to restore some or all of the file, but the name and location will be lost.

Virtually all data recovery software seems to be able to perform quick scans successfully. So if you accidentally deleted some valuable files, any of these apps will help, including the free ones.

Deep scans are what split up the field. Some apps are able to locate significantly more recoverable files than others. If you deleted the wrong file some time ago so the directory information is likely overwritten, or you formatted the wrong drive, choosing the right tool will give you a significantly greater chance of success.

Data recovery may cost you a lot of time and effort

Quick scans take just seconds, but deep scans carefully examine your entire drive for recoverable files. That can take hours or even days. The scan may find thousands or tens of thousands of files, and that’s your next time sink. Finding the right one is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Data recovery is not guaranteed

Your file may be irretrievably corrupt, or that sector of your hard drive may be damaged and unreadable. If so, there’s not much data recovery software can do for you. You can maximize your chances of success by running data recovery software before disaster strikes. It will take steps to protect your data, and warn you when drives are about to fail.

If you don’t succeed in recovering the data on your own, you can call an expert. That can be costly but is justified if your data is valuable. The steps you take on your own may actually make their job harder, so try to make this decision as early as possible.

The problem with SSDs

Solid state drives are common but can make data recovery more difficult. PC Mag Australia explains:

One failing that bothered us in all these apps—including our top picks—is that they didn’t even warn us that we couldn’t recover files from an SSD. It’s easy for an app to tell whether a drive uses spinning-platter or SSD technology, and easy to tell whether TRIM technology is active in a drive. All of the software we reviewed, both on the Mac and PC, misleadingly told us that they were able to recover deleted files from SSDs—and then disappointed us by providing corrupt and unusable files instead of the ones we wanted.

TRIM technology increases SSD efficiency and service life by clearing disk sectors on that aren’t being used, so it’s often turned on by default. But it makes it makes recovering files from an emptied Recycle Bin impossible. So either you turn it off (How-To Geek provides a detailed tutorial) or you need to check before emptying the trash.

Steps to take before you attempt data recovery

Act fast! The longer you wait, the more chance you’ll overwrite your data. First, create a disk image as a backup—many recovery apps can do this. Then run a quick scan, and if necessary a deep scan. For more information, check out these Do’s and Do Not’s of Data Loss.

Who Should (& Should Not) Get This?

Hopefully, you’ll never need data recovery software. But if you like to play safe, run the software before you need it. The app will take steps to safeguard your data in advance. And by keeping track of your hard drive’s health, it can warn you about an impending fail before you lose any data.

But what if you haven’t been running data recovery software in advance, and disaster strikes. There’s a good chance one of these apps can get it back for you. Which should you choose? Read on to find out. Before you spend any money, there’s a good chance that the trial version of the software will confirm whether you’ll have success.

How We Tested and Picked

Data recovery programs are different. They vary in their functionality, usability, and most importantly, their success rate. Here’s what we looked at when evaluating:

How easy is it to use the software?

Data recovery can be tricky, technical and time-consuming. It’s nice when an app makes the job as simple as possible, and some apps make this a priority. Others do the opposite. They’re designed for data recovery specialists, are highly configurable, and may succeed at recovering more data—if you study the manual.

Which recovery features are included?

Recovery software performs quick and deep scans for the files you lost. They may offer other features, including:

  • Disk imaging: Create a backup of your files and recoverable data.
  • Pause and resume scans: Save the state of a slow scan so you can continue from where you left off when you have time.
  • Preview files: Identify recoverable files even if the file name has been lost.
  • Bootable recovery disk: When scanning your startup drive (C:), it’s best to boot from a recovery drive so you don’t accidentally overwrite your data.
  • SMART reporting: “Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology” gives early warning of drive failure.

How effective is the software?

How many recoverable files can an app locate? How successful is it at actually recovering the data? The only way to really find out is to thoroughly and consistently test each app. That’s a lot of work, so I didn’t do it all myself. I took these tests into account when writing this Windows data recovery software review:

  1. Informal tests performed when we reviewed a number of data recovery apps. While they’re not thorough or consistent, they do demonstrate the success or failure each reviewer had when using the app.
  2. A number of recent tests done by industry experts. Unfortunately, no single test covers all of the apps we’re reviewing, but they clearly demonstrate that some apps are significantly more effective than others. I’ll include links to each test below.
  3. I conducted my own test to get to know each app, and discover whether my own test results matched the experts’.

Here are the industry tests I refer to, and the apps they tested:

For my own test, I copied a folder of 10 files (PDFs, Word Doc, MP3s) to a 4GB USB stick, then deleted it. Each app (except the last two) was successful in recovering every file. I also noted the total number of recoverable files found by each app, and how long the scan took. Here are my results:

  • Wondershare Recoverit: 34 files, 14:18
  • EaseUS: 32 files, 5:00
  • Disk Drill: 29 files, 5:08
  • RecoverMyFiles: 23 files, 12:04
  • Do Your Data Recovery: 22 files, 5:07
  • Stellar Data Recovery: 22 files, 47:25
  • MiniTool: 21 files, 6:22
  • Recovery Explorer Professional: 12 files, 3:58
  • Active@ File Recovery: 12 files, 6:19
  • Prosoft Data Rescue: 12 files, 6:19
  • Remo Recover: 12 files (and 16 folders), 7:02
  • ReclaiMe File Recovery: 12 files, 8:30
  • R-Studio: 11 files, 4:47
  • DMDE: 10 files, 4:22
  • Recuva: 10 files, 5:54
  • Puran: 2 files, quick scan only
  • Glary Undelete: couldn’t find the drive

In hindsight, I could have run this test differently. I formatted the flash drive I used for my Mac data recovery app roundup, and copied the same set of test files back. It’s possible some apps were finding the files that were there before the format, but that’s impossible to know since they have the same names. The apps with the highest file count listed files with the same name several times, and some included folders in the count.

I ran the apps on a version of Windows 10 installed in Parallels Desktop on my Mac. This may have artificially inflated some of the scan times. In particular, Stellar Data Recovery’s last stage was excruciatingly slow and may have been caused by the virtual environment. The Mac version scanned the same drive in just eight minutes.

How fast are the scans?

I’d rather have a successful slow scan than an unsuccessful fast scan, but deep scans are time-consuming, so any time saved is a bonus. Some of the easier apps took longer to scan, and more complex apps can shave time of scans by allowing extra configuration options.

Value for Money

Here are the costs of each app, sorted from cheapest to most expensive:

  • Recuva Pro: $19.95 (the standard version is free)
  • Puran Utilities: $39.95 (free for non-commercial use)
  • Recovery Explorer Standard: 39.95 euros (about $45 USD)
  • DMDE (DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software): $48
  • Wondershare Recoverit Pro for Windows: $49.95
  • Do Your Data Recovery Professional 6: $69
  • MiniTool Power Data Recovery: $69
  • EaseUS Data Recovery for Windows Pro: $69.95
  • Active@ File Recovery Ultimate: $69.95
  • Recover My Files v6 Standard: $69.95
  • ReclaiMe File Recovery Standard for Windows: $79.95
  • Remo Recover for Windows Pro: $79.97
  • R-Studio for Windows: $79.99
  • Disk Drill for Windows Pro: $89
  • Prosoft Data Rescue 5 Standard: $99
  • Stellar Data Recovery for Windows: $99.99

Now it’s time to show our test results.

The Winners

Most Affordable: Recuva Professional


Recuva Professional is a good but basic Windows data recovery program that will cost you either nothing or not much. It’s quite easy to use, but each step requires a few more clicks than our “easy to use” winner, Stellar Data Recovery. The app’s deep scan is very capable, locating almost as many files as the top runner in ThinkMobile’s data recovery tests.

$19.95 from the developer’s website (one-time fee). A free version is also available, which doesn’t include technical support or virtual hard drive support.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: No
  • Pause and resume scans: No
  • Preview files: Yes
  • Bootable recovery disk: No, but can be run from an external drive
  • SMART monitoring: No

Recuva doesn’t try to do too much and lacks the advanced features of our other winners. But it can perform quick scans and deep scans on your drives to locate lost files.

The app’s “Wizard” interface is quite easy to use. It doesn’t assume too much knowledge of the user or ask difficult questions. However, it does require several extra mouse clicks to start a scan when compared with Stellar Data Recovery.

When it came to choosing where to scan, there was no easy way to select my USB flash drive. I had to manually type “E:” in the “In a specific location” field, something that may not be obvious to all users. Helpfully, they did offer an “I’m not sure” option, but that will scan everywhere on the computer, a much slower alternative.

Like most Windows data recovery software, Recuva can rapidly find recently deleted files with a quick scan. To run a deep scan, a checkbox needs to be clicked.

Recuva performed very well in ThinkMobiles’ deep scan test on a USB flash drive. It was able to locate 38,101 files, very close to EaseUS’s top find of 38,638. By comparison, Disk Drill located the fewest number of files: only 6,676.

Scan speeds were average. The range of scan speeds during ThinkMobiles’ test was a speedy 0:55 to a slow 35:45. Recuva’s scan took 15:57—not impressive, but significantly faster than MiniTools and Disk Drill. In my own test, Recuva was only a little slower than the fastest scans.

Conclusion: If you need to get some files back, Recuva will do it with a high chance of success for free, or very cheaply. It’s not as easy to use as Stellar Data Recovery, or as fast at scanning as R-Studio, and doesn’t include the impressive feature range of either. But it’s a usable solution that will suit any Windows user on a tight budget.

Get Recuva Pro

Easiest to Use: Stellar Data Recovery 8 for Windows


Stellar Data Recovery Pro for Windows is the easiest-to-use app we reviewed and boasts well-above-average results in scanning tests. But that comes at the cost of speed—Stellar’s scans are often slower than the competition. “Ease-of-use, effectiveness, speed—choose two!” Read our full review of Stellar Data Recovery for Mac 7.1 here.

Recommended easy-to-use alternatives: EaseUS Data Recovery for Windows Pro, Recover My Files v6 Standard, ReclaiMe File Recovery Standard for Windows.

$99.99 from the developer’s website (one-time fee for a single PC), or $79.99 for a one-year license.

Have you lost your crucial data and unable to recover it? Try out Stellar Data Recovery Professional, a powerful software to recover data from all types of Windows devices – PCs, laptops, ultrabooks etc. The DIY professional Windows data recovery software gets back all your valuable documents, emails, photos, videos, and audio files, quickly and easily from your workstation.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: Yes
  • Pause and resume scans: Yes, but is not always available
  • Preview files: Yes, but not during scans
  • Bootable recovery disk: Yes
  • SMART monitoring: Yes

Stellar Data Recovery has a good balance between ease-of-use and successful data recovery, and this combination has made it a popular app with users and other reviewers. However, you can’t have everything. Scans will often take longer with this app. So if you’re willing to wait, and need a capable app you can actually use, this one is for you.

Ease of Use: There are just two steps to start a scan:

First: What type of files do you want to recover? Leave it all files for the most comprehensive results, but if you’re just after a Word file, scans will be much quicker by only checking “Office Documents”.

Second: Where do you want to scan? Was the file on your main drive or a USB flash drive? Was it on the Desktop, or in your Documents folder? Again, being specific will make scans faster.

Version 9 (now available for Mac and coming soon for Windows) simplifies the process even more—there’s just one step. Then the app is off and scanning your drive—a quick scan by default (the best way to start), or a deep scan if you chose that option on the “Select Location” screen.

Once the scan is complete, you’ll see a list of files that can be recovered—potentially a very long list—and the search and preview features will help you locate the one you are looking for.

Features: Stellar includes most features you’ll need, including disk imaging, a bootable recovery disk, and file preview. But you won’t be able to preview files until the scan finishes, unlike some other apps.

In our review of version 7.1, JP found that the “Resume Recovery” feature may be buggy, so I wanted to see if it had improved in version 8. Unfortunately, each time I tried to pause a scan I was notified: “Scan cannot be resumed from the current stage,” so I was unable to test the feature. This happened with the Mac version as well. The app did offer to save the scan results for future use at the end of each scan.

Effectiveness: Despite being easy to use, Stellar Data Recovery performs very well. In his testing of the app for our review, JP found the app powerful at recovering deleted files and identifying many types of files from his Mac.

Stellar measures up to our “advanced” winner, R-Studio, in many ways. According to DigiLabs Inc, it has better help and support, and performed just as well in many tests. On the other hand, scans were slower, and some test results were poorer, including the recovery of very large files and recovering from a formatted hard drive.

Conclusion: Stellar Data Recovery is very easy to use, and boasts excellent recovery results. After clicking a few simple buttons and sleeping on it, you have a solid chance of recovering your files. That balance sounds right for most people, but if you’re after the app with the most power or some extra speed, check out R-Studio (below).

Get Stellar Data Recovery for Windows

Most Powerful: R-Studio for Windows


R-Studio 8 for Windows is a powerful data recovery tool developed for experienced data recovery professionals. It boasts a proven track record of successful data recovery, powered by all the features an expert would expect. Those features are highly configurable, adding complexity, but giving you complete control. If you’re after the best tool for the job and you’re willing to open the manual when you need, this app may be for you.

Recommended advanced alternatives: Recovery Explorer Standard, Active@ File Recovery Ultimate.

$79.99 from the developer’s website (one-time fee)

Empowered by the new unique data recovery technologies, R-STUDIO is the most comprehensive data recovery solution for recovery files… Flexible parameter settings give you absolute control over data recovery.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: Yes
  • Pause and resume scans: Yes
  • Preview files: Yes, but not during scans
  • Bootable recovery disk: Yes
  • SMART monitoring: Yes

R-Studio is widely accepted as the most powerful data recovery app available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. The Data Recovery Digest put seven leading apps through a barrage of tests last year, and R-Studio came out on top. Their conclusion: “An excellent combination of file recovery features and performance. Shows the best results in almost every category. A must-have for any data recovery professional.”

Ease of Use: That same evaluation rates R-Studio’s ease-of-use as “complex”. That’s true, and this isn’t an app for beginners, but I didn’t find the app as hard to use as I expected. I’d describe the interface as “quirky” rather than confusing.

DigiLab Inc agrees about the app’s complexity: “The only significant disadvantage we found was R-Studio’s user interface. R-Studio is clearly designed for data recovery specialists and the interface can be confusing for inexperienced users.”

Features: R-Studio includes more features than most of the competition, supports a wide range of file systems, can recover data from local disks, removable disks, and heavily corrupted disks. The developer lists a helpful overview of the features here.

Effectiveness: In industry tests, R-Studio consistently produced the best results. And although it has a reputation for slow scans, it often completed scans faster than the competition.

To illustrate, here are some results from Data Recovery Digest’s test of seven leading data recovery apps:

  • R-Studio had the highest rating for recovering deleted files (tied with Do Your Data Recovery).
  • R-Studio had the highest rating for recovering files from an emptied recycle bin ratings (tied with Active@ File Recovery).
  • R-Studio had the highest rating for recovering files after a disk reformat.
  • R-Studio had the highest rating for recovering a damaged partition (tied with Active@ File Recovery and DMDE).
  • R-Studio was highly rated for recovering a deleted partition, but slightly behind DMDE.
  • R-Studio had the highest rating for RAID recovery.

Conclusion: R-Studio consistently shows top results in industry standard tests. It’s a feature-rich, highly-configurable app designed for data recovery experts. If you are looking for the app most likely to recover the maximum amount of data, choose R-Tools.

Get R-Studio for Windows

Not sure if the winners are for you? Check out the alternatives below, both paid and free data recovery software are included.

The Competition

Also Great

EaseUS Data Recovery for Windows Pro ($69.95) is an easy-to-use app for Mac and Windows that also performs well in industry tests. It lacks disk imaging and a recovery disk, useful features offered by two of our winners. Read our full review here.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: No
  • Pause and resume scans: Yes
  • Preview files: Yes, but not during scans
  • Bootable recovery disk: No
  • SMART monitoring: Yes

In his review, Victor Corda found that the scans tended to be slow, but successful. The app successfully recovered the data in each of his tests, and he concluded that this is one of the best recovery apps he has used.

I agree. It’s very close to Stellar Data Recovery in terms of ease-of-use and effectiveness, and in my experience scan times are far superior. It’s a shame that none of the industry tests evaluated both apps together. I imagine it would be a close race, though Stellar wins on the number of features offered.

Deep scans are able to locate a lot of files—in ThinkMobiles‘ test, more files than any other app, with Recuva slightly behind. But that test didn’t include our other winners, Stellar Data Recovery and R-Studio.

GetData Recover My Files v6 Standard ($69.95) is another high performing Windows recovery app that’s also easy to use. While its interface isn’t as slick as those offered by Stellar and EaseUS, it is easy to follow, and according to DigiLab’s tests, performance is only just behind Stellar. Like EaseUS, it does lack many of the advanced features offered by Stellar and R-Studio.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: No
  • Pause and resume scans: No
  • Preview files: Yes
  • Bootable recovery disk: No
  • SMART monitoring: No

Just a few steps are required to begin a scan. You decide whether to recover files or a drive, choose the drive, then choose a quick or deep scan. That question is asked in a non-technical way: search for deleted files, or deleted files then “lost” files. Finally, you choose the file types you would like to search for.

Compared with Stellar Data Recovery, that’s quite a few steps! According to DigiLab, Recover My Files performed well with quick scans, restoring formatted drives and deleted partitions. It did have problems recovering large files and corrupted file systems.

Scans were often slow, which was my experience as well. In one test, the app was able to locate all 175 deleted files, but only restore 27% of them. R-Studio restored them all.

ReclaiMe File Recovery Standard for Windows ($79.95) is our final recommendation for easy-yet-effective Windows data recovery. While the app is a little slow to open, a scan can be started in just two clicks: select a drive then click Start, and the app performed well in industry tests. However, it too lacks some of Stellar’s more advanced features.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: No
  • Pause and resume scans: Yes
  • Preview files: Yes, images and doc files only
  • Bootable recovery disk: No
  • SMART monitoring: No

Data Recovery Digest compared the app with six others and found it performed well: “A very good data recovery program with excellent combination of file recovery features and performance. One of the best sets of supported file systems. Very good file recovery performance.”

Marks were subtracted for its limited preview feature. It can display images and Word documents, but no more. It scored above average for standard file recovery features, and average for the advanced features.

In terms of its effectiveness, it scored reasonably well in restoring deleted files, even after the Recycle Bin had been emptied, and restoring formatted disks, damaged partitions, and deleted partitions. It wasn’t close to winning any of those categories, but the results were reasonable.

Recovery Explorer Standard (39.95 euros, about $45 USD) is a more advanced data recovery app, and scored higher than ReclaiMe in the Data Recovery Digest’s testing. It feels easier to use than R-Studio, is less expensive, and was the fastest app in my test. But beginners may find it intimidating.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: Yes
  • Pause and resume scans: Yes
  • Preview files: Yes
  • Bootable recovery disk: No
  • SMART monitoring: No

Its overall test result was second only to R-Studio, and Data Recovery Digest concludes: “A very decent professional data recovery program with good recovery features and performance. One of the best sets of supported file systems. Very good data recovery performance, always among the top scores.”

The app’s score for restoring a deleted partition is the same as R-Studio’s, but several other apps scored higher there. Scores for restoring deleted files, formatted disks and damaged partitions aren’t far behind. The app isn’t second best in all categories, though. Active@ (below) beats it in the Emptied Recycle Bin, Damaged Partition and Deleted Partition categories.

Active@ File Recovery Ultimate ($69.95) is another effective, advanced data recovery app. This app has most of the features of R-Studio, and scores well in industry tests. It’s not ideal for beginners.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: Yes
  • Pause and resume scans: No
  • Preview files: Yes
  • Bootable recovery disk: Yes
  • SMART monitoring: No

Although Active@’s overall score is lower than Recovery Explorer (above), we’ve already noted that it performed better in several categories. What brought the overall score down was its poor performance when restoring RAID arrays, something the average user may never need. Given that the app is designed for advanced users, though, it’s something to keep in mind.

In most other ways it performs very well. Data Recovery Digest concludes: “An effective data recovery program with nearly all the features required for professional data recovery. A full-featured startup version. The best score for file recovery from deleted and damaged partitions.” That’s impressive and makes it a genuine competitor to R-Studio.

Runners Up

MiniTool Power Data Recovery ($69) gives reasonable results in an easy-to-use package. Although it had the second-lowest score in ThinkMobiles test, the score was closer to the winners than the loser. Given that there’s a free tool that includes most features, users looking for a budget option may find this an alternative to Recuva.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: Yes
  • Pause and resume scans: No, but you can save completed scans
  • Preview files: Yes
  • Bootable recovery disk: Yes, but as a separate app
  • SMART monitoring: No

ThinkMobile deleted 50 files from a USB flash drive. MiniTool managed to find 49 of them, and recover 48. That’s not bad, but other apps restored all 50. Besides this, the app located the second lowest number of restorable files on a hard drive and had the slowest scan time. None of that is disastrous, but you’ll be better served by another app.

CleverFiles Disk Drill for Windows Pro ($89) is a pleasant app with a good balance between features and ease of use. It allows you to preview and recover files before your scan is finished. Read our full review here. What lets it down is poor performance with deep scans.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: Yes
  • Pause and resume scans: Yes
  • Preview files: Yes
  • Bootable recovery disk: Yes
  • SMART monitoring: Yes

I mentioned that MiniTool received the second lowest score in ThinkMobiles’ test. Disk Drill received the lowest score. Let me add some numbers to put that into perspective. EaseUS found the most recoverable files during a deep scan: 38,638. MiniTool only found 29,805—quite a few less. What shocked me is that Disk Drill only found 6,676.

So while the app includes every feature you need, I can’t recommend the app. You have a much higher chance of finding your missing file with any of the apps mentioned previously in this review.

Prosoft Data Rescue 5 Standard ($99) is an easy-to-use data recovery app that performed well in the tests I performed during my review, which you can read here. But like Disk Drill, the performance of its deep scans in industry tests doesn’t compare well with the competitors.

Features at a glance:

  • Disk imaging: Yes
  • Pause and resume scans: No, but you can save completed scans
  • Preview files: Yes
  • Bootable recovery disk: Yes
  • SMART monitoring: No

Data Rescue has a fantastic reputation, and in many ways it deserves it. It includes most of the features you need, and those features are clearly described throughout the app. It’s a pleasure to use. But when tested by both Data Recovery Digest and DigiLab Inc, the number of recoverable files located by the app during a deep scan were dwarfed by the competition. That’s a major concern.

In Data Recovery Digest’s tests, Data Rescue had the worst results in every test: recovering files from an emptied Recycle Bin, recovering a formatted disk, recovering a damaged partition, recovering a deleted partition, and RAID recovery. They conclude: “Although many internet resources are actively promoting this program, it shows quite poor performance. Moreover, it completely failed in many tests throwing error messages.”

The app performed better in several of DigiLab’s tests, but not all. In some tests, it couldn’t recover the data, and often its scans were slowest. Given these facts, it’s hard to recommend Data Rescue.

Wondershare Recoverit Pro for Windows ($49.95) is a little slow and compares with Disk Drill and Data Rescue (above) when locating recoverable files: not great. Read our full review here.

Do Your Data Recovery Professional 6 ($69) received the lowest score during Data Recovery Digest’s tests. They conclude: “Although it showed quite decent results for simple recovery cases, the program appeared unable to solve more advanced data recovery tasks.”

DMDE (DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software) ($48) is a complex app, and the most difficult to use in my experience. The download does not come with an installer, which may confuse beginners, but does mean you can run the app from an external drive. The app performed reasonably well in Data Recovery Digest’s tests, and they conclude: “A highly advanced hexadecimal editor tailored for data recovery for Windows and Linux file systems. Requires a very deep knowledge of disk and file system structures.”

Remo Recover for Windows Pro ($79.97) is an attractive app that’s easy to use but unfortunately seems to be the least promising for getting your files back. We previously gave it a full review, but the app wasn’t included in any industry test that we found. Scans are slow, locating files is difficult, and the Mac app crashed when I evaluated it.

Free Alternatives


There are some reasonable free data recovery apps available, and we introduced them in a previous SoftwareHow roundup. In addition, our “Most Affordable” winner, Recuva, offers a free version. Here are a few more Windows apps that won’t cost you a cent, but they’re not necessarily recommended.

Glary Undelete can unerase files from FAT and NTFS drives and is fairly simple to use. Unfortunately, it didn’t find my FAT-formatted USB flash drive during my test, but your mileage may vary.

Puran File Recovery is free for non-commercial use. It’s a little non-intuitive, and its website lacks clarity. It was last updated in 2013 but performed well in ThinkMobile’s test. In my test, it only managed to recover two out of ten deleted files.

SoftPerfect File Recovery is a free and lightweight, and rescues accidentally deleted data. It’s a portable app, so you don’t need to install in on your main drive, where you risk overwriting data.

Tokiwa Data Recovery can quickly recover lost files. It, too, is a portable app. It won’t allow you to view files before recovery.

PC INSPECTOR File Recovery helps to recover deleted files, formatted drives, and damaged boot sectors.

Wise Data Recovery is an intuitive data recovery app. It’s easy to set up but doesn’t offer deep scans.

UndeleteMyFiles Pro can recover and wipe your sensitive data. It’s quick, easy and intuitive to use.

Undelete360 restores deleted files. The app froze during JP’s testing, and scans can be time-consuming.

FreeUndelete is free for personal use and restores deleted files.

Lazesoft Recovery Suite Home Edition can undelete, unformat and deep scan your drive, and you can preview images before they are restored. The app can also help you when you forget your login password or your computer won’t boot. Only the Home Edition is free.

PhotoRec is a free and open source application by CGSecurity that can recover lost files, including video and documents from hard drives, and photos from digital camera memory. It’s a command line app, so lacks in the usability area, but works well.

TestDisk is another free and open source application by CGSecurity. Rather than recovering lost files, this one can recover lost partitions, and make non-booting disks bootable again. It, too, is a command line app.